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Residential Substance Abuse Treatment: Addressing Common Questions and Exploring Treatment Options

Last Updated on March 26, 2024 by Diane Ridaeus

Residential Substance Abuse Treatment
Alternative to Meds Editorial Team
Written by Lyle Murphy

Within the past decade, the need for residential treatment options for substance use disorder (SUD) has grown tremendously. In fact, half of individuals aged 12 and older have used illicit substances at least once, and a growing number continue to use alcohol and drugs in an attempt to manage mental health conditions.1 Fortunately, help from both out patient and inpatient residential substance abuse treatment centers has become more accessible, and treatment has lost the stigma it once had. With so many choices, it may be prudent, where possible, to research different rehab approaches so you can select one that is right for you.

At Alternative to Meds Center, we regularly field questions from potential clients and their loved ones about residential substance abuse treatment and the benefits it provides. As we offer substance abuse help in Sedona, AZ, and holistic mental health treatment, we welcome questions about residential substance abuse treatment and our treatment methods.We’ve created a guide and list of top FAQs to answer some of the most common questions you might have. You are welcome to call us anytime to learn more.
What does “Recovery” truly mean?
Alternative to Meds has published evidence regarding our successful programs addressing both mental health and SUD issues. Our holistic approach gives our clients a way to blend orthomolecular and environmental medicine, traditional Chinese medicine, and other approaches for long-term success. Seeking treatment is a big decision, and we hope the path forward may be made clearer with more information to hand while you are in the decision-making process.

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What Are Residential SUD Treatment Programs?

Residential inpatient programs are designed to help individuals with SUD manage their condition and some facilities, like ATMC, also can address various mental health-related concerns. Individuals reside at the treatment center throughout the duration of the program. Client care should include nutrition, individual and group therapy, and adequate treatments to address SUD.

When someone becomes a client at a residential treatment center and begins the recovery process, they must often go through a detox process, which helps the body rid itself of the harmful substances it has become reliant on. Some residential programs offer this service in house, and some coordinate with “detox centers” that are typically done within a 7-10 day window before enrollment. While this may be adequate for mild SUD, alcohol or cocaine use, someone on multiple medications will not be well set up as some medications take much longer to safely and comfortably wean off of. This is an important discussion to have with the facility you are considering, as it can make the difference between failure and success.7

Residential treatment centers are potentially poised to make use of every component of a client’s day to address SUD. Components and activities can vary widely from program to program.

Residential treatment programs are diverse and may combine elements such as:
  • 12-step meetings based on AA or NA principles
  • personal counseling
  • education programs
  • group & family counseling
  • lifestyle coaching
  • work or volunteer programs
  • meals may be provided, or clients are expected to participate
  • housekeeping may be provided, or clients are expected to participate
  • some include bible studies
  • length of stay may range from 30 days to up to 2 years
  • some include medical detox, some do not
  • some are equipped for medication tapering
  • some prescribe daily medication or multiple medications
  • can be in rural or urban locales
  • some have medical staff, some do not
  • some have psychological co-occurring disorders support, some do not
  • some are gender-specific, some are co-ed
  • some have private rooms, or shared accommodations
  • each facility will have its own enrollment agreements, pricing, and policies

Some programs may offer tools and strategies necessary for individuals to live healthy, meaningful lives after treatment concludes. Each facility will have its own program elements which a person should research well. Residential treatment can be a great solution for those with severe alcohol or drug addiction or those who need daily care. Especially where your condition has left you unable to do basic activities on your own, for example, residential treatment programs can provide you with ‘round-the-clock care to ensure you’re safe and supported.

Residential Treatment FAQs

Alternative to Meds Center Residential Treatment in Sedona

To help you understand the ins and outs of residential treatment, here are some of the most common questions we are asked.

How Long Do Residential Treatment Programs Last?

Generally, residential treatment programs for SUD last anywhere from 30 to 180 days, though programs as short as 1 week and as long as 2 years do exist. The length of treatment depends on the residential treatment program, your specific situation, as well as the treatment methods that are used in your recovery process.

Is Residential Treatment Always Required?

Just as individuals come in all shapes and sizes, a wide variety of inpatient and out patient services are available at various treatment centers and in one’s community. One has to to consider the individual’s needs, and situation, to make the best choice. Many studies have been done comparing inpatient and out patient programs, but results remain comparatively unclear, unless you also look at the actual individual and their specific needs. Where psychiatric type disorders and severe SUD are both present, it appears that inpatient treatment has a 4 times greater rate of program completion.4

Individuals who have a mild or moderate SUD may benefit greatly from outpatient or community-based programs, and attending 12-step programs, and may thrive with less structure than an inpatient program. For some, outpatient programs may be a good fit for people with busy schedules or commitments that cannot be met while enrolled in inpatient residential treatment. However, for co-occurring disorders, long-term severe addiction, and more complex health issues, research shows that remaining at a private treatment center with constant intensive support may be the best and most secure opportunity for recovery.5,6

Is Alternative to Meds Center an Out Patient Program?

No. The Alternative to Meds Center program is always residential. We offer comprehensive treatment solutions to those who have mental health issues, substance abuse or medication dependency, or all of these conditions combined.

We believe providing comprehensive treatment, scientifically proven therapies, and support at all times is the most effective way to help clients eliminate their dependency on harmful chemicals and allow recovery after toxic drug exposures. With lifestyle changes, improved nutrition, counseling, and non-pharmaceutical holistic therapies, people struggling with the effects of SUD can experience natural mental health and freedom from pharmaceutical drugs.

Learn More About Our Inpatient Program Here

Does Residential Treatment Always Include Medication Tapering?

Not all, but some private facilities do offer in house, medically monitored tapering. Be sure to ask what a facility offers in terms of resources, client support, and whether the aim is to reduce, eliminate, or prescribe a regimen of substitute medications so you understand better what the outcome may look like when you complete their program.

Many of our clients enter our residential treatment center after years of addressing mental health symptoms with debilitating pharmaceutical medications. We have seen the benefits of gently tapering off prescription medications to reduce their toxic chemical load. We use a wealth of alternative therapies to reduce symptoms after long-term drug-based treatment failed. Those battling addiction have suffered in similar ways, as drug-treatment has overtaken much of the rehab landscape.

At our treatment center, we do a comprehensive assessment of our client’s needs, as well as the data and advice from our medical professionals, to plan any needed medication tapering. And, often a client can entirely eliminate medication successfully, while also eliminating the symptoms that led to medication use in the first place. This is our aim at ATMC.

Learn More About Medication Tapering Here

What is the Difference Between Detox and Holistic Detox?

Detox, as it is commonly termed, occurs during the first few days of an alcohol or drug treatment program and often at a separate detox facility. Its aim is a medically supervised withdrawal from drugs or alcohol (“to get clean”) before residential inpatient treatment begins. Unfortunately, medication withdrawal takes much longer than 7-10 days and such an abbreviated timeline would not be appropriate or even safe for many individuals.

Holistic detoxification is different, and is much more nuanced. Holistic detoxification uses methods like colon hydrotherapy, ionic foot baths, sauna, massage, and orthomolecular medicine to help the body remove toxins from many sources. Prescription medication requires a correctly structured taper regimen, over a much longer timeline. ATMC starts the process with comprehensive lab testing to determine the toxins, chemical deficiencies, and nutritional deficits and then tailors a personalized holistic detoxification and taper program to safely address these health issues.

Learn More About Our Holistic Detox Program Here

How Do Residential Programs at ATMC Work?

Alternative to Meds Center offers residential SUD and mental health treatment in beautiful Sedona, Arizona. Programs are customized for each client, and each client has a team of professionals who work in tandem as the program evolves. Our inpatient program and its associated therapies are designed to uncover the unique root causes behind the symptoms that may have contributed to your condition, and to apply evidence-based therapies to eliminate these symptoms without drugs.

Upon your arrival, our team will conduct extensive lab testing intended to identify toxins underlying your symptoms, then create a customized program based on your personal needs. A personal nutrition, exercise, and holistic detoxification plan including orthomolecular and environmental medicine will be crafted. You’ll experience holistic detoxification and spa therapies like colon hydrotherapy, NAD IV therapy, acupuncture, nebulized glutathione treatment, sauna, massage, ionic footbaths, and much more. We offer equine therapy and lots of opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking and nature walks. Our clients love the experience of neurotransmitter rehabilitation, and the benefits of neurotoxin removal, along with holistic pain management and many comfort therapies. All of our clients have the advantage of experiencing group, individual, and peer counseling, adjunctive physical therapies like acupuncture, qi gong, yoga and spa services, as well as popular creative therapies like art therapy and journaling. 9,11-13

How Did ATMC Develop its Holistic Treatment Approach?

Alternative to Meds for Inpatient Counseling

For nearly 2 decades, Alternative to Meds Center has researched and examined relevant studies to determine the most holistic and effective methods of treating individuals with SUD and mental health concerns. Many persons got caught in a prescription drug stalemate, where their symptoms didn’t improve or even worsened over time. These can be challenging circumstances. External studies have suggested that residential treatment centers can be effective if they offer personalized treatment.2

Another study outlined the positive relationship between rapport developed in counseling and successful SUD and mental health treatment outcomes.3 When a client forms a strong connection with their counselor or therapist, the odds that they will retain the knowledge and strategies they’ve learned increase. Clients tend to feel more satisfied and secure in their recovery journey when they’ve formed a strong connection with someone willing to hear their concerns and work through various mental health issues. At our treatment center, clients can confer with their counselor and their treatment team regularly.

Changing the Nature of Residential Substance Abuse Programs With Evidence-based Treatment

Many clients we’ve worked with in the past have talked about how they sought help for various mental health symptoms only to receive medications — sometimes multiple prescriptions — that worsened their condition and introduced negative side effects of their own. Our residential SUD treatment program is designed to provide a holistic solution to recovery that does not add the additional burden of medication to the mix. Instead, our holistic detoxification, orthomolecular medicine, behavioral therapy, and adjunctive therapy services can help you address mental health symptoms, physical side effects, and emotional challenges all in one program.

We pride ourselves in the specialized care we provide to everyone who chooses SUD treatment at our Sedona, Arizona, center. Upon your initial consultation, we will conduct extensive lab testing and intake interviews to determine your unique needs. Then, our safe environment can provide comprehensive support, beneficial nutrition, and multiple therapeutic strategies designed specifically to address them. While some treatment facilities may rely on a formulaic one-size-fits-all program to address SUD, the truth is that everyone has their own circumstances, and we’re committed to finding the right mix of techniques to help each individual resolve their issues.

Non-pharma based treatment for mental health is blossoming around the world, and at ATMC we couldn’t be happier to see this change.9-13

Is Residential Substance Abuse and Mental Health Treatment Right for You?

It is our experience that many people with SUD and/or mental health issues, and those struggling with overmedication and persistent symptoms begin to feel hopeless or directionless, so taking the first step to ask for help is arguably the most difficult decision they can make. Residential treatment for substance abuse treatment and mental health issues can not only remove you from your current stressors and triggers, but can also help you develop strategies to regain control in your life. Meanwhile, you’ll have a team of professionals to help oversee every aspect of your healing, including holistic detoxification, counseling, medication tapering, and more.

Residential treatment programs are unique in that they don’t reduce treatment to taking a pill to manage your condition. Recovery takes time, patience, effective strategies, and often, a safe and controlled positive space to realize the best outcome.

Holistic SUD Recovery in Sedona

inpatient mental health treatment

Alternative to Meds Center, located in beautiful Sedona, Arizona, is proud to have helped thousands of clients who felt hopeless that they would ever return to good health. Our personalized treatment for mental health symptoms, alcohol addiction and substance use disorder offer individuals a holistic way to approach recovery.

To learn more about our treatment center or to ask additional questions not covered in this guide, contact our compassionate consulting staff today.


1. National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics. (2023). Drug Abuse Statistics. NCDAS: Substance Abuse and Addiction Statistics [2023]. [cited 2024 Mar 26]

2. de Andrade, D., Elphinston, R. A., Quinn, C., Allan, J., & Hides, L. (2019). The effectiveness of residential treatment services for individuals with substance use disorders: A systematic review. Journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 201, 227–235. [cited 2024 Mar 26]

3. Joe, G. W., Simpson, D. D., Dansereau, D. F., & Rowan-Szal, G. A. (2001). Relationships between counseling rapport and drug abuse treatment outcomes. Journal of Psychiatric Services, APA 52(9), 1223-1229. [cited 2024 mar 26]

4. Pettinati HM, Meyers K, Jensen JM, Kaplan F, Evans BD. Inpatient vs outpatient treatment for substance dependence revisited. Psychiatr Q. 1993 Summer;64(2):173-82. doi: 10.1007/BF01065868. PMID: 8391147. [cited 2024 Mar 26]

5. McLellan AT, Grissom GR, Brill P, Durell J, Metzger DS, O’Brien CP. Private substance abuse treatments: are some programs more effective than others? J Subst Abuse Treat. 1993 May-Jun;10(3):243-54. doi: 10.1016/0740-5472(93)90071-9. PMID: 8391086. [cited 2024 Mar 26]

6. Kelly JF. Is Alcoholics Anonymous religious, spiritual, neither? Findings from 25 years of mechanisms of behavior change research. Addiction. 2017 Jun;112(6):929-936. doi: 10.1111/add.13590. Epub 2016 Oct 8. PMID: 27718303; PMCID: PMC5385165. [cited 2024 Mar 26]

7. Framer A. What I have learnt from helping thousands of people taper off antidepressants and other psychotropic medications. Ther Adv Psychopharmacol. 2021 Mar 16;11:2045125321991274. doi: 10.1177/2045125321991274. PMID: 33796265; PMCID: PMC7970174. [cited 2024 Mar 26]

8. Chawla V, Brems C, Freeman H, Ravindran A, Noordsy DL. The Future of Yoga for Mental Health Care. Int J Yoga. 2023 Jan-Apr;16(1):38-41. doi: 10.4103/ijoy.ijoy_25_23. Epub 2023 Jul 10. PMID: 37583539; PMCID: PMC10424272. [cited 2024 Mar 26]

9. Tanner LM, Wildman JM, Stoniute A, Still M, Bernard K, Green R, Eastaugh CH, Thomson KH, Sowden S. Non-pharmaceutical primary care interventions to improve mental health in deprived populations: a systematic review. Br J Gen Pract. 2023 Mar 30;73(729):e242-e248. doi: 10.3399/BJGP.2022.0343. PMID: 36997215; PMCID: PMC9926284. [cited 2024 Mar 26]

10. Bernard K, Wildman JM, Tanner LM, Stoniute A, Still M, Green R, Eastaugh C, Sowden S, Thomson KH. Experiences of Non-Pharmaceutical Primary Care Interventions for Common Mental Health Disorders in Socioeconomically Disadvantaged Groups: A Systematic Review of Qualitative Studies. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2023 Mar 23;20(7):5237. doi: 10.3390/ijerph20075237. PMID: 37047854; PMCID: PMC10094719. [cited 2024 Mar 26]

11. Schuch FB, Vancampfort D. Physical activity, exercise, and mental disorders: it is time to move on. Trends Psychiatry Psychother. 2021 Jul-Sep;43(3):177-184. doi: 10.47626/2237-6089-2021-0237. Epub 2021 Apr 21. PMID: 33890431; PMCID: PMC8638711. [cited 2024 Mar 26]

12. Genuis SJ. Toxic causes of mental illness are overlooked. Neurotoxicology. 2008 Nov;29(6):1147-9. doi: 10.1016/j.neuro.2008.06.005. Epub 2008 Jun 24. PMID: 18621076. [cited 2024 Mar 26]

13. [Internet]. Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG); 2006-. Depression: How effective are antidepressants? [Updated 2020 Jun 18]. Available from:  [cited 2024 Mar 26]

This content has been reviewed and approved by a licensed physician.

Dr. Samuel Lee

Dr. Samuel Lee is a board-certified psychiatrist, specializing in a spiritually-based mental health discipline and integrative approaches. He graduated with an MD at Loma Linda University School of Medicine and did a residency in psychiatry at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. He has also been an inpatient adult psychiatrist at Kaweah Delta Mental Health Hospital and the primary attending geriatric psychiatrist at the Auerbach Inpatient Psychiatric Jewish Home Hospital. In addition, he served as the general adult outpatient psychiatrist at Kaiser Permanente.  He is board-certified in psychiatry and neurology and has a B.A. Magna Cum Laude in Religion from Pacific Union College. His specialty is in natural healing techniques that promote the body’s innate ability to heal itself.

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Medical Disclaimer:
Nothing on this Website is intended to be taken as medical advice. The information provided on the website is intended to encourage, not replace, direct patient-health professional relationships. Always consult with your doctor before altering your medications. Adding nutritional supplements may alter the effect of medication. Any medication changes should be done only after proper evaluation and under medical supervision.

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