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.

minute read
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
About the author
Please contact us if you are interested in joining the Addiction Blog Network.
Medical Reviewers
Dr. Manish Mishra, MBBS serves as the Chief Medical Officer of the Texas Healt...

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a licensed medical professional.

I am ready to call
i Who Answers?