Drugabuse.com- Powered by American Addiction Centers

Specialized Treatment

Table of Contents

patient talking to doctor

Drug and alcohol abuse entails the repeated and excessive use of a chemical substance and, frequently, a disregard for the negative consequences associated with it (National Institute on Drug Abuse [NIDA], 2016). With some insight, a person will reach a point where they realize they are no longer in control over how often or how much of the drug they are abusing (NIDA, 2016). If and when this occurs, frequently people make attempts to cut down or quit on their own, or they might reach out to people around them for help.

Attentive medical or mental health care practitioners can do a lot to help people at this point by referral to or recommendation of specialized substance abuse treatment. The types of specialized treatment available will vary by geographic location, but all will provide a formal program to address a variety of individual needs of patients with more serious substance abuse issues—who may not have responded to previous, less intensive recovery efforts.

There are many types of specialized treatments. For more addiction help, drug abuse help or available treatment information call our 24-hour helpline toll-free at . Our trained professionals can help you locate an individualized treatment center that can help you overcome your addiction and reclaim your life. All calls are completely confidential.


Specialized substance abuse treatment centers utilize a multitude of treatment strategies designed around an individual's needs.
Specialized substance abuse treatment centers utilize a multitude of
treatment strategies designed around an individual’s needs.
(Image source: drugabuse.gov)


Goals of Specialized Substance Treatment

Abstinence from drugs and alcohol is a fundamental and, obviously, necessary part of recovery (NIDA, 2016). Specialized treatment approaches don’t stop there, however. Many patients in recovery programs have other deep-seated, complicated issues that may or may not have arisen in conjunction with the substance abuse problem. These can include (NIDA, 2016):

  • Physical and mental conditions.
  • Problems with living situations.
  • Damaged interpersonal or family relationships.
  • Employment or educational ramifications.
  • Financial and/or legal woes.

A specialized treatment program will make all efforts to address the whole contingent of issues in parallel with substance abuse recovery in order to best prepare patients for long-term success once the program is completed. Such specialized treatment can include medical attention for physical conditions, psychiatric treatment, family and marital counseling, help with financial/legal trouble, vocational and educational skills training and post-treatment living arrangements (NIDA, 2016).

Credit: National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA/NIH)

Substance Abuse Treatment for Specific Groups

A number of drug and alcohol treatment programs have evolved over the years to address the special needs of different populations of patients. Doing so can increase the comfort level and treatment compliance of the specific patient population in question and can, hopefully, promote successful outcomes for these groups. Increasingly so, treatment programs are aimed towards individuals and their specific needs. Examples of specialized rehab programs that cater to specific groups or which provide individual considerations include (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration [SAMHSA] 1997):

  • Spiritual substance abuse treatment: Christian-centered rehabilitation, etc.
  • Substance treatment for victims of sexual trauma and abuse.
  • Substance abuse assistance for pregnant women.
  • Mental health and substance abuse treatment: Simultaneous addressing of co-occurring mood disorders, anxiety disorders, psychotic disorders, ADHD, personality disorders, PTSD and other stress disorders.
  • Dual diagnosis rehab for eating disorders: anorexia nervosa, bulimia, binge eating, ED-NOS, etc.
  • Behavioral addiction rehab: compulsive gambling, internet addiction, etc.
  • Substance abuse treatment for those with pain management issues.
  • Gender specific rehabilitation: Male only rehab / female only rehab.
  • Gay-friendly drug and alcohol rehabilitation / LGBT substance rehab.
  • Age specific rehabilitation: specialized substance abuse treatment for seniors / teen-specific rehab / adolescent substance abuse programs.
  • Executive rehab.
  • Luxury rehab and/or private rehab.
  • Specialized care for health care professionals / diversion programs.
  • Individualized treatment for legal professionals.
  • Specialized treatment modalities / philosophies: harm reduction / 12-step programs/ alternative therapies / holistic or non-traditional rehab.
  • Medically assisted care / medically assisted recovery.
  • Treatment for specific substance type: opiate rehab, prescription drug rehab, etc.

The list of specialized treatment types and the services they provide continues to grow. These facilities cover many details – from helping school-age teens continue in their primary education, allowing a transition from grade level to grade level to assisting with planning to help adults adapt to negative situations in their lives such as a divorce or unemployment. Many treatment centers can provide a combination of these services, as well. By definition, a specialized substance abuse treatment program will tailor its services toward individuals and their unique, ever-changing needs. In doing so, rehab can greatly benefit treatment outcomes.

For immediate specialized treatment, don’t hesitate to call our 24-hour helpline toll-free at . Our experienced professionals are always here to offer you confidential counseling and assistance in finding the specialized treatment that is right for you.

Treatment Settings

Numerous clinical trials have investigated the effectiveness of alcohol and drug abuse treatment programs. Studies of outcomes repeatedly support the notion that no single strategy dominates others in terms of effectiveness (SAMHSA, 1997). Specialized treatment embraces this concept, and can benefit individuals in need by employing a variety of treatment strategies.

Variety exists at the setting level as well, as specialized treatment measures can be applied in a variety of both inpatient and outpatient situations. A major goal of substance treatment is to match patients with the least structured or restrictive setting that such individuals can be safely and effectively treated (SAMHSA, 1997) . For some, this might be outpatient. For others, residential inpatient will allow them the best chance to thrive.

Measures of an individual’s successes and failures throughout a course of treatment will then allow professionals to recommend movement to or from more or less structured treatment settings. The hope is that, with time and successes, patients can progress to less structured environments and still continue to make strides towards lasting recovery. The continuum of treatment works in both directions, however – should treatment not progress in a given setting, more structured inpatient care can be recommended. Broad examples of the various treatment settings include (SAMHSA, 1997):


  • Outpatient Management – the least intensive setting where specialized treatment methods, including medically managed recovery, can be applied. Most outpatient treatment will require regularly scheduled individual or group counseling / therapy sessions.
  • Intensive Outpatient Treatment – larger portions of the day are dedicated to participation in scheduled treatment / counseling; yet patients are still able to return home and voluntarily interact with their sober support system. This type of treatment is sometimes referred to as ‘partial hospitalization’ as patients can access a full complement of hospital services if needed. The cost tends to range between $100 and $500 per session.
  • Residential/In-Facility Treatment – for those with a dearth of social supports, poor living environments or other substance abuse issues serious enough to require 24-hour supervision. Those requiring medically supervised withdrawal and detox are also best served in a residential center that can accommodate such issues. Many of the aforementioned treatment modalities (gender specific or age specific treatment, etc.) can be built around a residential treatment model. These programs tend to cost $200 to $900 per day, with lower costs per day for longer program durations.
  • Inpatient Hospitalization – Inpatient hospitalization typically encompasses a finite duration of constant supervision and treatment. This setting is often called for in post-overdose or acute medical/psychiatric situations. Post admission, patients can undergo the potentially dangerous period of withdrawal and detoxification while being closely monitored by health care professionals. Additionally, an inpatient admission will facilitate the management of any concurrent psychiatric or other health emergencies that would otherwise impede recovery in a less intensive setting. A step-down to further residential treatment is something that many who make progress during the inpatient hospitalization will ‘graduate’ to.

Sometimes it’s not obvious to a potential patient which specific setting or type of treatment would serve them best. Questions like this can be answered with the help of our treatment support specialists. Whether or not you have insurance, our team can help you understand treatment options. To speak to one about finding specialized programs tailored to your specific rehabilitation needs, call us round-the-clock at .

Recommended for you:
american addiction centers photo

Lizmarie Maldonado works for The John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics (University of Miami) as a biostatistician, conducting genetic research for Parkinson's disease.

She received a Master of Science in Public Health from the University of South Florida, after which she worked as an epidemiologist at the local health department in Miami-Dade.

american addiction centers photo
We Are In-Network With Top Insurance Providers
Blue Cross Blue Shield
United Health Group