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Residential Treatment Program

Residential treatment is a form of substance abuse treatment that involves long-term, residential care. Residential treatment length varies greatly depending on the severity of the disorder. A program of this type can range from short (30 days or less) to long-term (30-90 days and up).

It’s worth noting that the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) recommends a 90-day stay or more because it has been proven effective in generating positive outcomes.  

When someone uses the term “residential treatment,” they are most likely referring to the extended time a patient resides on-site with others to help explore and treat the psychological reasons for their addiction. 

However, it is commonly confused with intensive outpatient treatment and other forms of inpatient such as hospitalization. Knowing what residential treatment entails is important in determining whether it can help you successfully treat your addiction.

Why Residential Treatment?

It is a common misconception that medical detoxification by itself is enough to treat substance abuse and addiction.

While detox removes a substance from your body, it is ineffective in treating the psychological aspect of long-term addiction.

Under its oft-cited “Principles of Effective Treatment,” NIDA states that “Medically assisted detoxification is only the first stage of addiction treatment and by itself does little to change long-term drug abuse.”

Medical detoxification is not recovery, and without proper treatment after detox, drug addiction and abuse can easily develop again.

In the recovery process, make no mistake that medical detoxification is arguably one of the most strenuous and important steps to take.

As a matter of fact, the success of our addiction treatment program is undoubtedly quite dependent on the detoxification stage.

That being said, addiction detox without follow-up treatment is like cutting a weed without removing the roots; it will just keep coming back.

Is Detox Enough?

The term “detox” refers to the period of complete abstinence from a substance that your body may be addicted to.

The point of a patient undergoing detox is to rid all leftover residue and toxins from past substance abuse and to prepare them for the continuation of treatment.

A patient will experience a large variety of withdrawal symptoms, including but not limited to anxiety, depression, nausea, and insomnia.

By engaging in medically supervised detox, a patient will have their withdrawal symptoms taken care of and treated by medical experts and professionals.

These doctors and nurses work around the clock to ensure that a patient is in a comfortable environment through detox.

If the withdrawal symptoms are ignored, they can very easily push a patient to relapse and develop addiction again.

By completing medical detox, you may no longer have the substance in your system, but follow-up treatment after detox is required to ensure long-term sobriety.

Avoiding Relapse with Residential Treatment

Post-detox treatment is strongly encouraged, and it is almost always necessary for complete recovery. Because addiction treatment can be difficult, relapse is fairly common throughout the recovery process. 

Although it should be avoided at all costs, relapse is not simply the end of the line for you. Relapse can be nearly unavoidable in some instances, and residential treatment is among the best method to prevent relapse.

We understand that it may be difficult to avoid relapse while in treatment, so we created a small list of things you can do to aid in relapse prevention while you are a part of a residential treatment program. 

  • Those who are successful in recovering are successful for a reason. Interacting with people who are successful in treatment may prove to be beneficial to you, as they will most likely have advice and tips that may aid you in your recovery.
  • While distracting yourself during treatment may sound good to help ignore withdrawal symptoms, it is possible that someone in recovery will overwork themselves. They may even be susceptible to workaholism. For this reason, it is important to detect and identify any strange behaviors associated with workaholism.
  • Relapse is treatable but, however common it may be, relapse should never be viewed as “OK” and “acceptable.” This can cause overconfidence in a patient, resulting in an increased chance of relapse. Relapse is not always treatable, and there is always a chance that you won’t get another shot at treatment, so avoid relapse at all costs.
  • Recovery is meant to be enjoyed, not endured. If your treatment process is making you feel uncomfortable in any way, then that treatment may not be right for you. Talking to your case manager or treatment center management about possibly changing programs or even centers is necessary when treatment becomes excruciatingly difficult. Your comfort and safety should be at the top of a center’s priorities.

What to Expect from Residential Treatment Programs

Here at The Palm Beach Institute (PBI), we pride ourself on our residential treatment program. Using a team of medical experts, who are available 24-7, we utilize clinically proven methods and techniques to make treatment accessible.

We ensure that your treatment experience is as effective as possible through the application of cognitive-behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, and motivational interviewing.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Initially used to treat depression, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is among the most widely known approaches to treatment. According to the Mayo Clinic, CBT helps you to become more aware of your negative thoughts so that you can view them and challenging situations more clearly and respond to them more effectively.

As the most common form of treatment for mental health conditions and disorders, CBT has been tested and shown to be effective in treating psychiatric illnesses.

Studies show that CBT is just as effective as any other treatment, including the administration of medications. In less-intensive cases of mental health disorders, CBT is the No. 1 tool for conditions such as anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), borderline personality disorder (BPD), substance abuse (in minor cases), and more.

When CBT is used in conjunction with medications, it can be used to treat opioid addiction, major depression disorder, bipolarity, and nearly every psychotic disorder.

According to NIDA, the skills clients learn through cognitive-behavioral approaches remain after they complete treatment.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a common method of treatment initially used to help people with personality disorders.

Fortunately, research proves that DBT can be very successful in treating negative behavioral patterns, including self-harm, suicidal thoughts, and substance abuse disorders.

DBT is also commonly used to treat any disorders relating to mood, though it is not as effective as those previously listed scenarios.

Dialectical behavior therapy is a type of “talk therapy,” similar to CBT. The primary focus of “talk therapy” is to explore the psychological reasons behind addiction, making it extremely common in residential treatment, according to PsychCentral.

Motivational Interviewing

According to Psychology Today, motivational interviewing (MI) is a counseling method that helps clients resolve unclear feelings and insecurities to find personal motivation to change their behavior.

In a groundbreaking article about MI, titled “Motivational Interviewing with Problem Drinkers,” William R. Miller explains why it should be implemented.

He advocates for MI as a sound alternative to other methods that were being used to help problem drinkers at that time.

Motivational interviewing challenges the traditional idea, stating that instead of addiction being entirely dependent on the patient, the solution lies with the therapist and the person battling the addiction.

Through a therapist’s influence, patients can resolve ambivalence (mixed feelings) towards things such as whether relapsing is worth it. MI techniques would be employed to convince that person that relapse would not be worth it.

Family Therapy

It’s axiom at this point, but addiction is a family disease, meaning that the substance use disorder of one person will impact their loved ones as well.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA),

behavioral therapy that incorporates members of a subject’s family can help in these key ways:

  • It helps a family use its strengths and resources to help find or develop ways to live without substances of abuse.
  • It helps to alleviate the impact of chemical dependency on the subject and the person’s family members.


Grohol, J. M. (2018, October 08). An Overview of Dialectical Behavior Therapy from

Mayo Clinic. (2019, March 16). Cognitive behavioral therapy from

Miller, W. R. (1983). Motivational Interviewing with Problem Drinkers[PDF File]. British Association for Behavioral Psychotherapy. Retrieved on June 19, 2019. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (n.d.). 7: Duration of treatment. from

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (n.d.). Principles of Effective Treatment. from

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (n.d.). Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (Alcohol, Marijuana, Cocaine, Methamphetamine, Nicotine). from

Behavioral Health Treatments and Services. (n.d.). from

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