Guide to Creating a Substance Abuse Treatment Plan

Guide to Creating a Substance Abuse Treatment Plan

There is no single pathway to recovery. What works for one individual may not work for another. Making a substance abuse treatment plan isn’t a task to be taken lightly. The success of treatment hinges on a personalized plan that meets an individual’s unique and specific needs.

A treatment plan lays out the steps and modes of treatment. It’s important to match the appropriate medications, therapies and treatment setting—inpatient or outpatient—with the individual’s needs.

Considerations for Making a Substance Abuse Treatment Plan

Addiction is complex and involves a variety of underlying causes and related issues. How addiction is treated depends, in large part, on why and how it developed. When you first enter treatment or detox, a team of medical and mental health professionals will conduct a comprehensive assessment that will guide making a substance abuse treatment plan for you.

Your treatment team will take into consideration a wide range of factors when developing your treatment plan. These include:

  • Whether dependence has developed. If you experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop using drugs or alcohol, you’ve developed a dependence. In this case, medical detox will be the first order of business on your treatment plan. Medical detox is the process of allowing all traces of a substance to leave the body so that brain function can begin to return to normal.
  • Personal preference. Making a substance abuse treatment plan that’s successful depends on matching you with the kind of treatment you need to feel safe and engaged. Someone who is atheist probably wouldn’t thrive in a religious-based program. Women who have experienced sexual assault often prefer a women’s-only program. LGBTQ individuals may prefer a program populated with others who understand the unique challenges faced by this demographic.
  • Co-occurring mental illnesses. When a mental illness like anxiety or depression co-occurs with a substance use disorder, it’s known as a dual diagnosis and requires special treatment. Making a substance abuse treatment plan for co-occurring disorders requires that the mental illness and addiction be treated at the same time, each in the context of the other.
  • Medical issues. Pre-existing medical problems or those stemming from substance abuse need to be under control for successful long-term recovery. Recovery is holistic and depends on the best possible overall health.
  • A history of trauma. Trauma-informed treatment helps individuals learn to cope with the devastating effects of sexual abuse, violence, natural disasters and other traumas. Making a substance abuse plan for someone with a history of trauma involves drawing on specific therapies that help trauma victims learn to cope and thrive.
  • Family environment. Family involvement in treatment improves the chances of successful recovery. If your home life is unstable or unsafe, inpatient treatment will be essential. Family therapy will play an important part in restoring function to the family system.
  • Legal issues. Legal issues cause a great deal of stress and financial pressure, which are major factors for relapse. If you’re in legal trouble, treatment will include resources for legal assistance to help get these issues under control.

Making a Substance Abuse Treatment Plan: Components

A treatment plan should be holistic, addressing issues of body, mind and spirit. A holistic treatment plan will draw on a variety of traditional and complementary therapies to promote whole-person healing. A treatment plan will include components like medications, “talk” therapies, psycho-educational classes and workshops, family therapy and complementary therapies like art, music or nutritional therapy.

Making a substance abuse treatment plan enables you and your treatment team to track your progress. As you progress through treatment, your treatment plan will evolve to meet new and changing needs. Your plan is your personal pathway to recovery, and fully engaging with it will increase your chances of successful recovery and a happier, healthier life.

Alcohol Rehab in PA: What to Look for

Alcohol Rehab in PA: What to Look for

Choosing the right treatment center for alcohol rehab in PA isn’t difficult when you know what to look for in a facility. Once you understand the options available, you’ll be equipped to choose the best alcohol rehab in PA where you can achieve successful sobriety.


Many addiction treatment facilities offer a period of detoxification, during which time you are supported as your body adapts to the absence of drugs and alcohol. The detox process may involve withdrawal symptoms, which can range from mild to quite severe reactions. This is why it’s essential that detox is supervised by medical professionals, and done so in a safe and comfortable atmosphere.

Residential Programs for Alcohol Rehab in PA

Residential programs for alcohol rehab in PA are excellent choices for recovery. Living in a relaxed atmosphere that is spacious, nicely furnished, with a variety of shared recreational amenities, pleasant outdoor views, and a low counselor-to-client ratio can make all the difference in your recovery.

Seek Out Alcohol Rehab Programs in PA That Offer a Variety of Therapy Types

Another important aspect of inpatient addiction treatment for alcohol rehab in PA is therapy.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a key component of a high-quality program for alcohol rehab in PA. With the help of CBT, clients learn how to recognize and successfully handle the triggers and destructive thoughts and behaviors that lead to cravings for alcohol.

Incorporating 12-step therapy programs in conjunction with mental health therapy can greatly increase the chances for successful long-term sobriety. Look for programs that support attendance at 12-step meetings, such as Alcoholics Anonymous. Involvement in AA and AA-sponsored events help people to develop habits that can be essential in maintaining sobriety after leaving treatment.

Seek out programs offering motivational interviewing, which is a therapeutic technique counselors use to converse with patients to help them increase motivation to overcome alcohol abuse. These talks help residents more clearly see how their life is working out right now and how they hope to live in the near future.

A very important treatment approach to look for is whether aftercare programs and relapse prevention therapy are offered. RPT teaches those in recovery how to successfully cope with high-risk situations that can lead to relapse.

Taking a Holistic Approach

Determine whether a program for rehab offers the option for holistic treatments. These are alternative practices and therapies that let individuals feel more in control of their physical, mental and spiritual selves. Meditation, yoga, peaceful walking paths, a swimming pool and other spots for outdoor and indoor relaxation all contribute to holistic therapy.

A BioSound Therapy System provides a complementary option to rehab that blends biofeedback, music therapy, guided imagery and sound frequency massage to help relieve anxiety and relieve withdrawal symptoms.

Be sure to check references and staff biographies for any rehab facility in Pennsylvania being considered. Read online reviews and patient testimonials on their websites. You may also be able to take a virtual tour of an alcohol rehab center in PA or download a brochure for more detailed information on what services, living arrangements and therapies are offered. Finding the right alcohol rehab in PA can help you or a loved one achieve a lasting sobriety.

How to Find High-Quality Addiction Rehabs in Pennsylvania

How to Find High-Quality Addiction Rehabs in Pennsylvania

In recent years, the opioid epidemic has led to staggering increases in addiction and overdose rates in Pennsylvania. In 2015, more lives were lost to drug overdose than car accidents in Pennsylvania.

Opioids aren’t the only substances causing problems for Pennsylvania and its citizens. Use of alcohol, methamphetamine and other legal and illicit substances are linked to increases in the number of people seeking addiction treatment at rehabs in PA. If you or a loved one is searching for rehabs in PA, use to the following information and tips to find a facility that meets your needs and care requirements.

Speak to Your Healthcare Practitioner

Your general practitioner may be able to help you find a nearby rehab in PA that offers the services you need. The drug epidemic has been raging in Pennsylvania, and many healthcare providers have taken the step to proactively network with drug rehabs in PA so that they can quickly refer patients to high-quality treatment centers.

Your doctor should be knowledgeable about substance addiction and treatment requirements, and they should be able to refer you or your loved ones to high-quality rehabs in PA that will address your needs—possibly including treatment for dual diagnosis or family therapy.

You can also speak with an addiction treatment specialist at any treatment center you’re interested in. Staff should be able to answer any questions you have about the facility or their treatment protocols, or about addiction in general.

Research Therapies Offered at Rehabs in PA

There are many different paths to recovery, as you’ll discover when you research rehabs in PA. High-quality treatment centers will offer evidence-based therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy, which are designed to help individuals successfully enter recovery and decrease the likelihood of relapse down the road.

Many rehabs in PA also incorporate complementary addiction treatment therapies into their programs that take a holistic approach to recovery, such as yoga, equine therapy, meditation and art therapy. These forms of therapy provide unique opportunities to address the complex issues that so often underlie addiction.

rehabs in PA

Even luxurious rehabs in PA might not offer the types of services that some people seek in an addiction treatment center. Some treatment centers might not use medication as part of their treatment protocol, which is important to note if you’re seeking medication-assisted treatment. Some might not feature round-the-clock licensed physicians or offer complementary therapies. If you know what program offerings you’re looking for, you can research which rehabs in PA offer them.

Relapse Prevention and Aftercare Programs

As you discuss addiction treatment options with your healthcare provider or search online for rehabs in PA, remember to check with these centers to find out about the types of aftercare and relapse-prevention services they may offer. Some treatment centers network with communities that provide sober living residences, which is an important transition stage for many as they step down their level of care.

Seek References and Accreditations for Rehabs in PA

Examine references for any rehabs in PA that you’re interested in. Check their testimonials and online reviews to find out what other clients have said about their offerings and treatment model.

Reputable rehabs in PA will hold themselves to the highest standards of treatment. Look for state licenses that demonstrate the facility is compliant with industry regulations. High-quality treatment centers will also seek accreditation from organizations such as The Joint Commission or the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities.

If you or a loved one is living with an addiction to alcohol or drugs, high-quality rehabs in PA can help you find lasting sobriety. The sooner you begin treatment, the sooner you can begin healing.

When Should I Recommend Residential Addiction Treatment for My Client?

When Should I Recommend Residential Addiction Treatment for My Client?

In many cases, it’s obvious to experienced mental health professionals when their client needs residential treatment. In other cases, it’s an ambiguous situation whether inpatient treatment should be recommended, or if another, less-intense level of care is the right match for your client’s needs.

Levels of Care

Levels of care for addiction treatment range from inpatient to outpatient care. Residential programs provide the highest level of care, offering round-the-clock support for participants and helping to minimize triggers and opportunities for relapse while patients undergo therapy and begin to do the work of getting well.

Outpatient programs usually consist of multiple daily treatment and therapy sessions. Another treatment option is partial hospitalization programs, in which patients spend a good portion of their days in specialized programs but return home overnight and on non-treatment days.

5 Signs Residential Addiction Treatment Is Indicated

  • Patients who are a danger to themselves or others need a high level of supervision that can be provided in residential treatment.
  • Patient is too impaired to live independently. This could be a patient recovering from a psychotic episode who needs treatment to recover psychologically and socially. Residential addiction treatment could also be a good match for a patient whose addiction has worsened and who needs close supervision and round-the-clock support.
  • Outpatient treatment has failed to contain the symptoms of a patient’s mental health condition or substance abuse.
  • Available support systems such as mental health professionals, friends and family are exhausted. Consequently, the patient is left with inadequate support to rely on, resulting in stresses that exacerbate mental health conditions or increase the risks of relapse.
  • Close observation is needed for diagnostic purposes to determine if behavioral disturbances are due to psychological disorders or substance abuse.

Finding the Right Residential Addiction Treatment Facility for Your Patient

Once you’ve determined that your patient needs residential addiction treatment, you’re tasked with finding the best treatment facility for your client out of numerous options. The better the match between patient and treatment center, the better the chances your client will enter successful long-term recovery.

Recommend Residential Addiction Treatment

When weighing the options, keep in mind that high-quality residential treatment facilities are accredited and licensed. They’ll also have fully credentialed staff.

Other factors to consider when matching a residential treatment program to a client include the overall treatment philosophy of the facility, their treatment methods and the features and amenities the facility offers.1

Treatment duration is also a critical factor in choosing the appropriate program for a patient. Many facilities recommend stays of at least 30 to 90 days, and some facilities offer stays ranging from six months to several years. Additionally, check what the facility offers for aftercare, such as support groups and alumni gatherings.

For the best treatment outcomes, a client’s clinical needs require the most appropriate level of care in the least restrictive and most cost-effective environment.2 Residential treatment is only one of the levels of care available to therapists whose clients are experiencing worsening substance abuse. However, for many situations, it’s an ideal option to consider that can help your client understand the varying factors underlying their addiction, learn healthier ways of behaving and develop a set of relapse prevention skills while receiving non-stop support.


Is It Time for an Intervention?

Is It Time for an Intervention?

If someone you love is struggling with addiction, it’s natural to feel frustrated—even hopeless. Perhaps you talked to the person about their substance abuse, but your words fell on deaf ears. Your loved one may be in denial about the seriousness of their problem, or they may have claimed they were going to get help but never took the next step.

There’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to convince your loved one to seek help, but an intervention can be effective. In this article, we’ll talk more about interventions and discuss when it’s time to try one.

What Is an Intervention?

An intervention is an organized gathering of an addicted person’s loved ones, each of whom tells the person how their drug or alcohol abuse impacts both themselves and others. The goal of the intervention is to to convince them to enter treatment.1

It’s possible to plan an intervention without any help, but it’s wise to utilize the services of a professional interventionist. A trained interventionist will help each participant to plan what they need to say, will help organize the intervention itself and will help keep the conversation on track, preventing emotions from boiling over and derailing the intervention.

An intervention should not involve too many people—addiction treatment experts agree that a large group can overwhelm the person and cause the intervention to fail. The recommended number of attendees is four to six people, and they should all be people who the target of the intervention loves and respects.

When Is an Intervention Appropriate?

In a perfect world, every person suffering from a substance use disorder would make the choice to seek treatment on their own. However, denial can run dangerously deep. There are many cases when an intervention is the best way for friends and family to rally around their loved one and offer help. Some signs that an intervention may be necessary include:

Intervention for Addiction

  • The person doesn’t see the dangerous consequences of their substance abuse
  • The addicted person has been hospitalized for an episode related to their substance abuse
  • Children or other dependents of the person are being put at risk
  • The person talks about suicide or has attempted suicide

Does It Work?

Although most interventions are successful, there are times when these planned meetings do backfire. Emotions tend to run high at interventions, and it’s easy for tempers to get out of control. However, an intervention that is led by a professional is more likely to achieve the desired outcome. Research by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence shows that 90 percent of interventions managed by professionals conclude with the addicted person agreeing to seek treatment.2

Planning an intervention won’t guarantee that your loved one will recover. However, an intervention can remind your loved one that you care about them and are ready to support them in their recovery. With the assistance of a professionally led intervention, you might be able to help your loved one break through the wall of denial and turn their life around.


Can I Go to Treatment While Attending College?

Can I Go to Treatment While Attending College?

When you’re facing the tough choice of attending college or going to addiction treatment, you may feel you don’t have room in your life for both. Consider this: If you aren’t sober and healthy, nothing—including school—is going to work well for you until you regain control of your life.

Don’t become one of the many college students who doesn’t seek help despite having a serious substance abuse problem.1 If you ignore your need for addiction treatment, it could have a significant negative impact on your grades as well as other major areas of your life—especially your physical and mental health.

The question then becomes, how can you go to treatment while attending college? How you decide to combine continuing your education with going to treatment will depend on what type of rehab is needed, and that’s based on the level of support you need to enter recovery.

Residential Treatment

If your addiction is at a level where you would benefit from round-the-clock care, taking a semester off may be your best option. You’re giving yourself the gift of achieving and maintaining sobriety to become a healthier, more capable person who can then successfully take on academic challenges.

Outpatient Treatment

If you’re entering an outpatient addiction treatment program where you attend meetings and counseling sessions for a few hours or days a week, you’ll have more flexibility to also fit college classes into your schedule. Since you’re not residing in a treatment facility during outpatient treatment, you have more schedule flexibility to attend classes.

However, don’t substitute outpatient for inpatient treatment if you need a higher level of support. A mental health professional can help you make the best choice to effectively treat your addiction.


By consulting with a mental health professional who has experience dealing with addiction, you’ll make a more informed choice that gets you to sobriety and helps you maintain it. Your first stop could be your college’s student mental health center. Addiction is a prevalent issue for many young people, and most colleges have services in place to help students. Some programs may refer you to off-campus treatment centers, and others may have services available right on campus.

Addiction Treatment While in College

If you’d rather find out about treatment off-campus, see a mental health professional privately such as a psychologist, social worker or psychiatrist. These types of certified and licensed specialists can help you explore your addiction treatment options with the understanding that college is also a priority for you.

Support Systems in College

Whether you decide to stay in school while attending outpatient treatment or take a break and attend a residential program, it’s important to build a support system that you can count on for help. A positive support system can offer advice, help you learn new skills and hold you accountable to do what needs to be done.

Your support system can consist of your sponsor, mentors, recovering peers, friends, family, therapists and addiction support groups. Many colleges also offer comprehensive support programs to help students in their recovery journeys.2 The more support you have, the better the chances are that you’ll enjoy long-term recovery and find success in your college career.