What Levels of Care Are There in Substance Abuse Treatment?

There are two distinct levels in substance abuse treatment, inpatient and outpatient:


  • Medically Monitored Inpatient Detox
  • Medically Managed Inpatient Detox


  • Intensive outpatient
  • Partial Hospitalization
  • Halfway House
  • Medically Monitored Residential – Short term
  • Medically Monitored Residential – Long term
  • Medically Managed Residential
  • Methadone Maintenance Clinic
  • Self-help Groups

Treatment Levels of Care

When considering the level of care to which you should refer your patient, consider the following caveats:

  • Match patients to the least restrictive treatment environment that will be safe and effective.
  • Assure that gains made in intensive settings are maintained by smooth access to less structured levels of care as the patient develops the capacity and motivation necessary to maintain behavior change.
  • Remember that patient may sometimes move from less structured to more intensive treatment settings as lack of improvement or more hazardous behavior necessitates a higher level of care.

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