SUBMITTED BY CeDAR REHABILITATION CENTER
The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) has developed a rating system to determine the level of care needed based upon symptoms and behaviors. Addiction treatment professionals are trained in these criteria. They will assess each person using clinical observation and historical information to establish ASAM scores in different dimensions. These number scores align with each level of care, matching the condition of a person to the appropriate level of care.
Detox – ASAM 3.7
This is the first step for getting someone into any kind of addiction treatment program. Each person has to be medically and psychologically stabilized for everyone’s safety, including their own. The length of time needed is variable depending on severity. Some drugs like alcohol and Benzodiazepines require a medically supervised detox to prevent serious side effects, including death.
Intensive Residential Treatment (IRT) – ASAM 3.5
Residential, or inpatient, treatment is where someone is both housed at the facility and receives full-time addiction treatment during their stay. Comprehensive inpatient programs usually include group therapy, individual therapy, coping skills training, relapse prevention planning, wellness assessments, psychiatric evaluation, treatment for co-occurring conditions and medication stabilization in a safe, controlled environment. All activities are contained within the facility for safety and security.
Residential Extended Care (REC) – ASAM 3.3
Extended care allows a person to keep living in a secure treatment environment with full-time programming. Participants can start to reintroduce themselves back into their home life with weekend passes, phone privileges, and outside recovery meetings. Extended residential care provides opportunities for someone in early recovery to safely begin returning to life outside of the inpatient setting. Drug and alcohol testing occurs each time a person comes back into the treatment center from outside (weekend passes, outside meetings, etc.)
Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) – ASAM 2.5
Ideally, extended care has prepared someone to leave a residential treatment environment. Clinicians evaluate progress in residential treatment to determine if someone is appropriate for a Partial Hospitalization Program. PHP offers a full-time treatment schedule while living at home or a sober living program. This allows someone to participate in a highly structured addiction treatment program and navigate an outside living situation at the same time. Participants are drug and alcohol tested as part of these programs.
Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) – ASAM 2.1
Outpatient programs usually have a pre-determined number of weeks for completion. They will often be offered both during daytime and evening to accommodate different schedules. Participants have either completed a residential or partial hospitalization program and have been recommended for an IOP by a qualified clinician. Some people also attend outpatient programs to renew their recovery if they feel like their sobriety is in jeopardy. Most IOP’s drug and alcohol test over the course of the program.
Continuing Care Group – ASAM 1.0
This is the lowest level of care that usually meets once per week. Once a person has successfully completed higher levels of care they can participate in continuing care to reinforce the positive behavior changes already underway in their lives. Like the other levels of care, recommendation from a qualified clinician is strongly urged.
It’s common for people in active addiction to resist being told that they need a higher level of care. This is quite normal. It’s important to understand that the addiction treatment professional’s first job is to match the person with the correct level of care. The ultimate goal is to help someone overcome addiction and build a life in recovery. Professional guidance can help to properly structure the process for maximum benefit.
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