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Should I go to a residential treatment center for my addiction?

Howard J. Shaffer, PhD
Addiction Medicine
Residential (live-in) treatment centers provide the most intensive addiction treatment. Such centers are ideal for people who have been unsuccessful recovering through less intensive approaches. Often these treatment settings are most attractive to people who need to separate from their current living situation and the temptations of everyday life. Within a residential treatment setting, there are structured daily activities and therapeutic sessions. You might want to start your treatment experience in a residential facility if you think an intensive experience will serve you best.

However, some people are not willing or able to spend the money or time required to enter a full-time treatment program. These programs are often expensive and take at least one to several months to complete. Little evidence suggests that the long-term success rates of residential programs are better than outpatient programs. However, these success rates are based upon averages—that is, evidence collected from many people and over a long period of time. Treatment need is very personal. Which treatment approach you need must be determined by your current situation, whether other treatments have been helpful, and how much structure you need. If you need a safe and very structured setting to begin your recovery, a residential treatment center might be the best choice for you.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.