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What Kind of Help Do I Need?Navigating the maze of substance abuse treatment can be a daunting task! It is important to understand the levels of care available in order to make the most informed choice!

What is the difference between a slip and a relapse?

Generally speaking, a slip is when someone in recovery drinks/uses and is able to stop themselves and recommit to recovery. This may be one use, or several days of using. It is recommended that if this occurs, the recovering person increase their attendance at support groups and possibly recommit to an Intensive Outpatient Program.

A relapse is when someone in recovery drinks/uses to the point that they require a medically monitored detoxification. It is generally agreed that a medically monitored detoxification is warranted after one week of daily use of the substance. It is at this point that the body has developed tolerance for the substance again. After the medically monitored detoxification, a discussion of the next level of care is highly important. The recovering person may need more intense treatment at a residential level of care (like AToN Center), or a commitment to a Partial Hospitalization Program or Intensive Outpatient Program. Levels of care are as follows (from most intensive treatment to least intensive treatment):

Inpatient Hospitalization – Necessary for complicated cases of detoxification, particularly if one experiences psychosis or seizures during detoxification.

Residential (subacute) Detoxification – Less complicated cases of detoxification can be managed at this level of care.

Residential Treatment – At this level of care, detoxification is complete, however the person still requires a 24 hour monitoring for physical/mental health reasons, or very high relapse potential.

Partial Hospitalization – At this level of care, the recovering person lives at home (or a sober living facility/extended care facility), but goes to a facility between 5-7 days a week, for up to 6 hours a day.

Intensive Outpatient Program – At this level of care, the recovering person lives at home (or a sober living facility/extended care facility), but goes to a facility typically 3 days a week, for about 3 hours a day.

Outpatient Treatment – This level of care is most familiar to individuals, as these are hourly appointments with qualified providers (such as a Licensed Clinical Psychologist or a Medical Doctor).

Understanding these levels of care is important, as a gradual step-down between each level of care can be highly beneficial to those in recovery. At AToN Center, the Clinical Team gives each resident a recommendation for discharge planning based on the unique needs of each resident. Feel free to contact AToN if you have any other questions about navigating the “maze” of treatment!

Cassandra Cannon, Ph.D.
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
AToN Center 888-535-1516