Treatment Q&A

Are you getting ready for addiction treatment? Read up on the common Q&A’s to understand cost, insurance, and payment options. More here.

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Reviewed by: Dr. Manish Mishra, MBBS

ARTICLE SUMMARY: If you’re about to enter rehab or are looking at your options, we’ve got you covered. Here, we review the most commonly asked questions about treatment for addiction. Then, we invite your questions about addiction treatment at the end.


  1. What Is Addiction Treatment?
  2. Why Do People Need It?
  3. What To Expect
  4. Effectiveness
  5. Average Costs
  6. Payment Options
  7. Health Insurance
  8. Signs of a Problem
  9. Types of Treatment
  10. Special population
  11. Interventions
    More Questions?


A: Addiction treatment is the process of physical and mental recovery from substance use disorders. It often includes medications and talk therapy.

The goal of any treatment program is to help people break the chains of addiction, restart their life, and start living productively without drugs. These programs can be set in different settings, provide variety of services, and their length can be different. Most treatment programs offer medical detox, psychotherapy, pharmacotherapy, and aftercare programs.


A: People need treatment because they want to live a drug-free life, and cannot do so on their own.

According to the National Survey on Drug Abuse and Health there are an estimated 22.5 million people the U.S. aged 12 or older who could be diagnosed with a substance use disorders in 2016. The numbers break down into two main categories of alcohol and drugs:

  • 15.1 million people aged 12 or older could be diagnosed with an alcohol use disorder
  • 7.4 million people aged 12 or older could be diagnosed with drug use disorder (further classified into drug of choice)

1 in 13 people aged 12 or older need substance use treatment.

The same report showed that an estimated 21 million people aged 12 or older needed a addiction treatment:

  • 1.1 million adolescents aged 12 to 17 need addiction help.
  • 5.3 million young adults aged 18 to 25 need addiction help.
  • 14.5 million adults aged 26 or older need addiction help.

To add to these alarming numbers, the National Institute on Drug Abuse reported that there were 64, 000 drug overdose deaths in 2016.

Need we say more?


A: During addiction treatment, you can expect services to progress through six main stages of treatment: assessment and evaluation, detox, psychotherapy, pharmacotherapy, education, and aftercare.

The most important element of any addiction treatment that is be based on evidence-based approaches. Treatments can consist of medication therapies, psychological therapies, or their combination. The treatment program will be made according to the patient’s need.

There are six main stages of treatment:

STAGE 1. Assessment and evaluation.

Once you enroll into treatment, you will need to complete the paperwork, and assessment, while trained staff will complete physical, as well as psychological evaluation. The purpose of this is to help clinicians plan the services for your individual program. Also, you may be drug tested, and nurses will obtain medication prescriptions to manage withdrawal.

STAGE 2. Medical detox.

During this stage, you will be monitored 24/7 by medical professionals because withdrawal could be severe, and hard to handle.

STAGE 3. Pharmacotherapy.

Pharmacotherapy is the medical term for the use of medications as treatment. Some addictions benefit from the use of specific medications to regulate cravings, put off withdrawal, deter substance us, or balance your system. Some of the most common medications that are given in accordance by drug of choice.

Alcohol: Acamprosate, disulfiram, naltrexone, benzodiazepines, and barbituates.
Pain killer narcotics: Clonidine, naltrexone, buprenorphine, methadone, and naloxone.
Stimulants: Desipramine benzodizepine, disulfiram, and ioresal.

STAGE 4. Talk therapy.

The goal of this stage of treatment is to help you adopt the drug-free life. Moreover, the combination of therapies will help you find out the reasons for your addiction problems. Some of the therapies include:

  • Behavioral Therapy
  • Individual Therapy
  • Group Therapy
  • Family Therapy.

STAGE 5. Education.

Educational sessions you attend in addiction treatment aim to help you understand addiction and how it changes the brain. Also, you’ll learn life skills such as communicating, how to deal with stress, and how to avoid relapse.

STAGE 6. Aftercare.

Once you have finished an addiction treatment program, you should be enrolled into aftercare program. The purpose of this program is to help you keep your sobriety. Some of services include:

  • Counseling.
  • Coaching.
  • Living in a quarterway, halfway, or sober house.
  • Support groups.


A: Yes, addiction treatments are effective overall.

The goal of all treatment programs is to help individuals make positive life changes and adopt healthy lifestyles without substances. The National Institute on Drug Abuse  states that people who stay at treatment stop using drugs, decrease their criminal activities, and improve their health. In fact, people who stay sober are those who are ready and willing to change. The key is in wanting to change, and start over.

Although the relapse rates range between 40% to 60%, similar to other chronic diseases, we need to stop seeing relapse as a failure. Relapse is a chance to start over, to start taking your treatment seriously, and to start changing it according to your needs. In order to get to a place of complete success, you need to modify and evaluate your program.


A: The final outcome of treatment costs is made on the services you receive.

Treatment costs (on average) about $100 per week of treatment, or about $7,500 per treatment episode. But inpatient rehab is two to three times more expensive than outpatient treatment. In fact, most cases of inpatient treatment can cost thousands of dollars without much more success than outpatient programs. While we know that the benefits of addiction treatment far outweigh the costs, learn more about the out-of-pocket costs for both inpatient and outpatient treatment of addiction here.

Some of the most common costs are:

Counseling: $50- $150+ per hour.
Detox: $6-12K per treatment episode.
Outpatient: $100-$150 per day.
Inpatient: $500-$700 per day.

Costs can vary drastically depending on the services you get. Some rehabs may cost up to $7.5K monthly, while a high-end treatment can charge $120K for one month.

More Addiction Blog articles on the costs here:


A: There are many ways that you can finance addiction treatment.

Private treatment centers can arrange sliding scale or income-based fees. Or you can seek public assistance. States provide most of the resources for addiction treatment, and some cities and counties fund specific programs or facilities. Federal insurance coverage is available online.

Plus, some costs for addiction treatment may also be furnished under the Medicaid program. More here on ways to finance addiction treatment without breaking the bank.

More articles on financing treatment here:


A: Overall, private insurers cover only about 20% of the costs of addiction treatment.

Insurance services are rarely tailored to individual needs. Instead, insurance plans are based primarily on an acute care model rather than recognizing the chronic nature of addiction. In this section, we explore what today’s insurance covers in terms of addiction treatment and how you can learn more about your benefits or restrictions.
However, the former President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act that requires health insurance companies to provide a policy with mental health and substance use disorder coverage.

More on health insurance for addiction here:


A: If you continue to use drug regardless of the negative consequences, use larger amounts of substances to get the desired feeling, and/or fail to lower/quit …these are few of the signs that you may have a substance problem.

Before starting to diagnose yourself for a drug problem, you need to be honest. Then, check out the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) used by many addiction professionals and psychiatrists. In fact, the DSM-V is used as a billing tool for insurance payment. This manual lists 11 criteria to diagnose addiction:

  1. Use the substance in larger amounts or longer than intended.
  2. Want to cut down or stop using the substance, but fail to succeed.
  3. Spend a lot of time obtaining, using, or recovering from the use.
  4. Experience cravings and an uncontrollable need to use the substance.
  5. Fail to perform normally at work, home, or at school due to substance use.
  6. Continue to use, even when it causes problems in relationships with family, friends, and partners.
  7. Give up important social, occupational or recreational activities because of use.
  8. Use the drug again and again, despite being aware of harmful risks and side effects.
  9. Continue to use despite the risk of developing health problems or worsen physical or physiological condition.
  10. Need more drug to get the desired effect (tolerance).
  11. Experience withdrawal symptoms which can be relieved by taking higher dose (dependence).

Moreover, the DSM-V has a certain number of criteria that should met for a specialist to diagnose the severity of addiction:

Mild substance use disorder: You exhibit 2-3 of the above signs of addiction.
Moderate substance use disorder: You exhibit 4-5 of the above signs of addiction.
Severe substance disorder: You exhibit 6+ of the above signs of addiction.

In order to be treated for addiction, each person requires comprehensive assessment of the extent and severity of the disease and determination of a clinical diagnosis. Learn how experts identify substance abuse, drug addiction, and alcoholism here.

More useful articles on this topic here:


A: There are two treatment options: Inpatient and Outpatient.

Inpatient treatment is for individuals deal with severe addictions who can benefit from mind and body detox. Many times, a change in environment support the process. This type of program offers in-house residential stays and 24/7 medical care for their patients. The duration for this program may vary starting from 28 days to several months.

Outpatient treatment is flexible. Patients don’t live at the facility. They come for therapy sessions for few hours, several days weekly. This treatment option is usually recommended for individuals with mild substance disorder, with high motivation for change, and who have their own transport to and from the clinic.


A: Yes, there is.

Certain populations are more vulnerable to addictive effects of alcohol and other drugs. Additionally, people diagnosed with co-occurring mental health disorders are also at higher risk of developing addiction problems. Treatment programs exist to meet each group’s specific needs. In fact, treatment approaches for certain populations can be tailored to meet particular neurochemical, physical, cognitive, emotional and social requirements. We explore special populations and how addiction treatment is tailored to meet specific needs here.

Special populations include:

  • Pregnant women
  • Seniors
  • Youth under age 21
  • Criminal justice population
  • LGBT
  • Homeless people
  • Racial and ethic minorities

More on addiction treatment by populations here:


A: An addiction intervention is a process that involves a group of people who will confront the addicted individual to persuade them in seeking professional help for their addiction issues.

How can you plan an intervention for a loved one? We review the main principles and techniques for interventions here. Whether you need an informal intervention for drug or alcohol use or prefer the help of a specialist, we guide you on the planning, execution, and follow through for an intervention for family or loved one. Guidelines on drug and alcohol interventions here.

Find more information on interventions here:

More Questions?

Please leave your questions here!

In fact, we love to hear from our readers. Feel free to post your real-life questions in the comments section at the end. We are eager to answer you personally and promptly.

Reference Sources: NCBI: Spending on substance abuse treatment: How much is enough?
CASA Columbia: Addiction Medicine: Closing the Gap between Science and Practice
NIDA Research Monograph: Economic Costs, Cost-Effectiveness, Financing, and Community-Based Drug Treatment 
NCBI: Updated Estimates and Cost Bands for Program Assessment and Reimbursement 
NIH: Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide 
NIH: Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction
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Dr. Manish Mishra, MBBS serves as the Chief Medical Officer of the Texas Healt...

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  1. Hello
    I m 34 yrs old and I was taking heroin for 2 yrs in small I am not taking it from last one month .so kindly tell me how can I pass the drug screening and wts the remedies.i have no withdrawals symptoms .kindly let me know pls …it’s very urgent

  2. Hey I really need some help for my little brother & are whole family, he is 37yrs old & he is addicted to pain pills, he has been on them for about 7 yrs or so, he’s over weight, & on other medications for panic disorder, he’s indenile about being addicted, and in his mind he goes through detees, but I try to tell him he has to go without the pills to go through detox but he has to have pills every day, I’m scared for him, but it’s more than just him I’m really scared for my mom, cause you see when he ain’t got the money for his pills he starts in on mama, & he don’t leave her alone until she finally gives in to him, & he’s getting way out of hand, he has started putting his hands on her, he throws stuff at her, & he verbally abuses her, she’s scared of him & he knows it, he gets disability, lives in Mama’s basement, I don’t want him to loose his disability, but I really need help, I need to find him somewhere to go to get help, a place where me or my mom has to put him, cause everywhere I’ve called they all tell me yes he can keep his disability but he has to come on his on, but he’s not going to do that, please someone help me, cause I’m scared that if he doesn’t get help soon he’s really going to hurt my mom, or kill her, or his self, or both

  3. Today begins like many other days, I wake up and feel it coming on. I am weak and hurry to get whatever clothes on I can find. No matter if they are dirty or wrinkled, oh no those are things for people who don’t live this nightmare. As I rush to find my keys, my purse, and whatever shoes to put on my feet I feel the sickness coming on so I must hurry. I get in my car quietly so that I don’t wake my family. This usually means waking up before everyone else but no worries, my body will wake me and remind me what time it is way before they wake up. I rush out of the driveway and before I get to the end of the road I start my pursuit. I begin calling my dealer. He doesn’t answer immedialty and it sends terror throughtout my body. Answer the phone I scream. I am speeding to his house while calling him back to back knowing he is going to cuss me out but it doesn’t matter, I have money. I am his customer I tell myself and he has to answer. Eventually he answers my calls and I begin the cat chase. I ask him where to meet and he tells me but to no surprise he always changes it. A couple of hours have passed and my family is blowing my phone up. I have to calm them down so I make up whatever lie I can to make the calls stop. I am sitting in front of a trap house waiting on my dealer. Finally, he shows up and I buy 40 dollars worth of heroin. I rush in to his house patiently waiting behind him to give the okay. FINALLY, my heart is racing, I am sweating, and feeling nauseated and now I have it in my hand. I trimble as I put the dope in the spoon and add a few drops of water. The syrninge I have is dull so this is going to be a hard stick. I am panicking as I pull up the dope and decide to put it in my jugular. I hit a vein, blood return, the dope goes in and now I feel okay, no more sickness. I feel remorse, but there is no time for that because this will only last a few hours. I calculate how much I will need for the day and make exuses as to why I don’t have enough money. I score just enough, so back home before lunch to get the chores done and wait on the kids to get off the bus. Four oclcok roles around and its time for another fix so I can help the kids do homework and cook supper. Im running around with my head cut off while always thinking in the back of my mind, is it time yet for my next fix? Did I mention to tell you I was a registered nurse and working on a phd in psychology? Did it surprise you? I am a victim of opiate addiction, like many of you hooked by a physician and left to deal with the tragedy myself. The road does not discriminate. The road and path to opiate addiction does not care what type of vehicle you drive, it intends to end your life as you kmow it and control every inch of your being. We are slaves to a disease that craves more and more and more until we are broke, divorced, in jail, homeless, childless, and all alone and then still it wants even more, your life. But that’s not all. Let me show you how it will really destroy your thinking.

    Another day, today I had just enough dope so I wouldn’t wake up sick. I carrired on a usual and as usual that sick feeling always comes, I need more. SO, I find whatever errand I can do in the afternoon so the family isn’t suscipious, maybe its going to the grocery store, or picking up one of my children’s friends to spend the night, whatever it is, it has to work. Im driving down the road, thinking I hope I am back before the kids get home or god forbid someone calls. I call my dealer and he said to meet him on holmes street. I pull up, a white girl in the midst of gang terriroty. I am not even scared. I feel a sense of safety knowing the dealer and that these are his people. As I am sitting there, someone waves for me to get out of the car. I slide my flip flops on and grab my pack of cigarettes before getting out, as if this would change anything. Guys are coming up to me hitting on me and talking trash when my dealer drives up. He gets out and by the look on his face I know he is mad. He rushes up to me and says bitch who told you to get out your car? I was scared out of my mind. Afterall, there were guys with auto weapons strapped on their sides. I started stuttering and saying how sorry I was and he went nuts. He started screaming who fucked with her, who? When nonone came forward, I sat there like a scolded child begging for forgiveness. He slapped me in the face and told me not to ever get out of my car again unless he ordered it because it wasn’t safe. As sick as it sounds, I felt important, the fact he cared about my well being I thought. Here I am shaking and beginning to sweat and he asked me what you need baby? He tells me he doesn’t want to see me sick even if I don’t have money he doesn’t want his people sick, little did I know what this meant. He reaches in his pocket long before I get back to my car to get money and hands me chunk of dope. I rush to go inside and find some water, but the water isn’t working. I look in my backseat and find an empty water bottle. I look inside and its just enough water residue to make a shot. I carefully emptied the water onto a almunimun coke can and cook up my dope. As I drew up the dope I knew it was strong by the color so I hurried to flip down the mirror and put it in my neck. I was thinking man this will last me all night. I was so greatful, I left without even paying him for it, but he didn’t notice because there were so many people there to get their medicine. As I drove home I nodded out and almost wrecked several times. Then that same horrible feeling comes, guilt. I am thinking to myself, what is wrong with you? Why are you doing this? Before I can answer myself my phone rings with my family raising hell about where I am so there goes the guilt. I am too busy making up a good lie to worry about anything else.
    Another day, God if we could only be really truthful about what we as addicts do on the street, sale dope, steal dope, sell pussy, beg, rob, whatever it takes at the end of the day. You will literally take your childs allowance and promise to pay it back just to keep the sickness from withdrawl from coming. All days run into weeks and weeks into months, and years. During my addiction I often thought about WHY? I was so motivated to get my nursing licsence back but then again it meant giving up my life. I had heard about methadone and suboxone and decided to give it a try. Methadone of course was the same thing as getting high, at least then I had a legal drug dealer. Then came suboxone. I didn’t feel high when I took suboxone, I just noticed this itch this craving to get high wasn’t there. I actually felt okay. I functioned normally as a mother, as a wife, and even earned a phd in psychology on suboxone. So why was state board so against the use of suboxone. As an addict, I coudlnt figure it out because there was no euphoria associated with suboxone. As a professional ,I thought well maybe it is due to lack of understanding or fear of the unknown as we are taught in nursing school. Now I am convinced, it is the lack of understanding. After all how could the American Medical Association endorse a treatment that the board of nursing would not allow? How could this happen? Suboxone patients live normal lives, many of which are in the nursing field who are afraid to come forward for fear of revocation. I have earned a bachelor and master degree and currently pursuing a PhD degree all while using suboxone. I have succefully raised 4 children, all without harm. How can the members of the nursing board be so stupid that they would refuse effective treatment for a fatal disease to their nurses? I guess the supreme court will have to find out.

    My God many boards of nursing will allow nurse practitioners to subscribe suboxone, but it is not considered an appropriate treatment for nurses? Come on , this isn’t the ice ages. Its time to go to the supreme court

    Lets stop this madness. Lets fight the board of nursing and make them stop acting like the AMA doesn’t matter and that they are experts on addicti0n. If an addictionoligist says they should receive a med that doesn’t impair them then they should listen. Its time to start a riot and make them listen. They are double dipping.

  4. Is it true that in order to get a bed in rehab for heroin you have to have heroin in your system upon admission. My neighbors kid is telling us that he has to stay high in order to get a bed. It sounds crazy to me . Can someone please clarify this for us. He has been using for years and has been to detox several times and a couple rehab stays. He is telling us he has to stay high to get accepted for inpatient rehab.

    1. Hi Julie. Every treatment has a different policy. Call a toll-free Heroin Helpline on 1-888-988-7934 to get in touch with trusted and confidential helpline professionals available 24/7. They will have all answers you need.

    1. Hi William. Generally, cocaine stays in your system and can be detected in urine for 2-4 days after use. However, heavy or chronic cocaine users may have an extended detection window of up to a week or 10 days.

  5. I am having an MRI and am terrified of the tube and am somewhat clastrophobic. My doctor has prescribed for me two 10 mg Valium tablets , to take one an hour and a half before the test, and the other one a half hour before the test. I am 76 years old and in decent health, and weigh 195. Do you think this will relieve my anxiety about the test? Thanks.

  6. is it my 20 yr methadone daily addiction that is causing my sexual disfunction, bearing in mind im not on any other drug prescribed or not, i have a left sided varicocele & suffer from bph of which I don’t take any meds for, id like advise if possible if I taper of my methadone addiction will my sex drive come back or is it my bph or varicocele that is causing my sexual disfunction,any information would be helpful

    1. Hello John. Men on methadone maintenance have a higher prevalence of erectile dysfunction. Practitioners should screen for sexual dysfunction in men receiving opioid replacement treatment. Besides decrease of libido, men have also reported orgasm dysfunction. I’d advise you to report these symptoms to your doctor.

  7. I am 54 years old and have been so called trying to quit opiates Since I started at 11. I’ve seen and done it all. Right now I am finally down to 8mgs. of suboxone a day. All this stuff about how long does it take to drop clean is part of the manipulation of addiction. I’ve had it all and lost it all over and over. Unless you come face to face with what controls you, you will always be trying to pass a drug screen or find help. You are helpless at most of your stages of addiction but not hopeless. When you are truly shown by God that drugs are your enemy and your soul lets him handle your situation not until then will you start to heal. Its a lifelong problem that only the being that created you can remove. We all knew this might happen but we took the chance anyway, now we have to walk that long road of addiction. We actually let a little tiny pile of powder run our whole life. That is very weak.

    1. Hello Julie. If it was a one day use of Xanax it should be out of your system within a day or two. If you’ve been taking 25mg throughout the day, for some time now, it may take about a week for you to test clean on a urine test.

  8. I drink constantly and am now on Xanax which works “wonders” for my anxiety and panic attacks. I refuse to give up either. I know the usual response to this but nothing’s gonna change. Am I gonna be ok if the alcohol and Xanax aren’t even close to one another?

I am ready to call
i Who Answers?