What is a Continuum of Care in Addiction Recovery?

man sitting alone preparing for drug and alcohol rehab

As you begin your search for a drug and alcohol rehab near me, keep in mind that a continuum of care provides the best possible treatment. Without this format, individuals are more likely to fall through the cracks, resulting in poor care and an increased risk for relapse and overdose. 

With this model, a wide range of treatments are available to meet the individualized needs of people in recovery. Individuals with a milder addiction may benefit from an outpatient program where they can still live at home and even work or attend school part-time, while people with a severe addiction may need to reside at a residential facility with 24-hour monitoring. 

Let’s learn more about what a continuum of care looks like and how this model supports a comprehensive journey to recovery.

Understanding the ‘Continuum of Care’ Model

When people talk about a continuum of care, it refers to a treatment system in which individuals enter treatment at a level appropriate to their needs and “step down” to lower levels of care over time. In some cases, individuals who are not progressing or have other issues they need to work on may “step up” to more intense levels of care. In this model, individuals receive highly personalized treatment that is continually adjusted, even after they leave the facility. 

Some of the services that may exist on the continuum include: 


The first step for most is detoxification. This process rids the body of drugs, alcohol and toxins so that individuals can prepare themselves for therapy. Detox can take place in an outpatient or inpatient setting. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) should be available to manage cravings, withdrawal symptoms and underlying mental health disorders. 

Inpatient hospitalization

This is the highest level of care and involves 24-hour medical supervision. These services are typically found in acute care hospitals and may be needed for individuals with severe addiction and mental illness. 

Inpatient/residential treatment

This type of treatment is longer in duration compared to hospital stays, usually lasting anywhere from 28 days to 1 year or longer. These programs still provide 24-hour care, but they offer residents more freedom. 

Partial hospitalization programs (PHP)

PHPs provide treatment services five days a week, for around six hours a day. This means that people live at home and travel back and forth to treatment. This level of care is best for those who don’t need around-the-clock monitoring but still require more structure and support than an outpatient program.

Intensive outpatient programs (IOP)

IOPs offer less structure than PHPs, usually meeting 2-3 days a week for several hours a day. For the best outcomes, individuals in IOPs should have a stable home life and reliable transportation. 

Outpatient programs (OP)

OPs are flexible and include therapy sessions during the week or month, depending on how the person is doing in recovery. Many people choose to participate in OPs for an extended period of time to have built-in support and accountability.


As we know, addiction doesn’t just disappear. It’s a lifelong condition that requires a conscious effort at sobriety. Aftercare services help individuals cope with the challenges that turn up in recovery. It includes relapse prevention plans, coping skills for triggers, peer support and extra resources.  

What are the Main Predictors of Success? 

It’s normal to feel intimidated by the amount of rehab facilities out there when you do a search for “drug and alcohol rehab near me.” Fortunately, you can quickly narrow down your list by the level of care you need. Any reputable treatment center will do a full assessment prior to your start.  

If you work with a program that offers PHP, IOP and OP, for instance, they won’t put you in an outpatient program if you require more structure and support, or vice versa. And, if it turns out that the level of care you are receiving is not appropriate for your needs, your treatment team can bump you up or down depending on your needs. 

Aside from the program you select, there are other predictors of success

  • Support and stability from loved ones. People with a strong support system have better outcomes than those without. Lean on your support system for accountability, support and understanding. Spend time with friends and family to stay busy and prevent isolation. When something is bothering you, speak up. This way, your support circle can take action. 
  • Longer periods of care. Longer stays in treatment are linked to better outcomes. You get more time to work on your recovery, learn about yourself and develop healthy coping skills. When you are ready to transition to everyday life, you will be more prepared as well. 
  • Social and community support. Organized support groups are a great way to enhance your path to sobriety. You can connect with others going through similar experiences and learn from them. Also, you can serve as a beacon of hope for others just starting their journeys. Eventually, you may want to step up and become a sponsor. 
  • Continuous care. Since recovery is an ongoing journey, you can’t just “stop” caring for your SUD. Care needs to be continuous, whether it’s a support group every week or an individual therapy session every month. If you stop treating your disorder, you can fall through the cracks, and the cycle can start all over again. 

Find Drug and Alcohol Rehab Near Me

Wolf Creek Recovery is a drug and alcohol rehab that offers a full continuum of care. We break our programs into Phase One, Phase Two and Extended Care. This includes PHP, IOP, OP and aftercare. Clients work our program for as long as they need to, with many people spending a minimum of three months in our Extended Care program. This ensures they receive the continued support and resources they need to maintain recovery and rebuild their lives. To learn more about our services and how they can support your journey to a drug- or alcohol-free lifestyle, contact us today at 833-732-8202