Understanding the Rehabilitation Ecosystem and Levels of Care in Addiction Treatment


The United States is still amid a nationwide drug abuse and overdose crisis. Understanding how addiction treatment works, for whom each level of care is recommended, and how to find the most effective treatment choice are vital skills for any social worker, counselor, or patient advocate.

What Are the Levels of Care in Addiction Treatment?

There are five primary levels of addiction treatment care classified by the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM).

Often, the success of a patient’s rehab treatment depends on whether they have been placed in the correct ASAM criteria and have transitioned smoothly from one level to the next when necessary. The five levels are as follows:

Level 0.5 – Early Intervention

For many individuals with substance use disorders, early intervention is the first step and acts as a precursor to rehab treatment. Early intervention aims to help the individual realize they have a problem and understand the consequences of substance abuse.

If successfully conducted, early intervention should lead to one of the following levels of care.

Level 1 – Outpatient Services

Outpatient treatment usually requires adult participants to attend fewer than nine hours of treatment a week, while adolescents typically join six hours of treatment a week. Outpatient treatment is a good choice for someone who does not require extensive supervision or guidance, including patients who have already completed inpatient treatment.

Level 2 – Intensive Outpatient/Partial Hospitalization Services

These programs are a step up from outpatient services. They usually involve participants attending treatment and therapy for six hours a day. This level of care is typically recommended if individuals require serious treatment or assistance for their mental health while choosing to reside at home.

Level 3 – Residential/Inpatient Services

Residential or inpatient treatment is divided into several steps, including clinically managed, medium-intensity residential programs and clinically managed, high-intensity residential services. These treatments require patients to reside on the rehab premises under 24 hours of supervision for the duration of their program.

Level 4 – Medically Managed Intensive Inpatient Services

This is the most intensive level of the addiction treatment programs offered by rehabs and involves medical stabilization, detoxification, and constantly available counseling and medication to ease withdrawal symptoms.

This level of care is reserved for patients with severe addiction problems.

What Is the Rehabilitation Ecosystem?

The rehabilitation ecosystem includes all the facilities, care levels, and care providers available for addiction treatment and recovery. Patients move through this system and may work with various patient advocates and rehab centers at different stages.

By ensuring each individual smoothly transitions between stages within the rehabilitation ecosystem, you can help them have the best chance of a successful recovery and lifelong sobriety.

How RecoverWell Helps Improve Continuum of Care

RecoverWell is a rehab matchmaking service that connects potential patients with the rehab center, offering the right treatment services and care levels for their specific situations.

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By streamlining the search for high-quality rehabs that cater to your patient’s needs, RecoverWell can help them find treatment faster and ensure they get exactly what they need from the facility they choose. RecoverWell provides a patient managing platform like no other, ensuring none of your patients fall through the cracks between care levels and treatment programs.

To learn more about the rehabilitation ecosystem and get help transferring patients to the next level of care, sign up for RecoverWell today!

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