Levels of Care

The first step in overcoming drug or alcohol abuse is deciding to seek help. Once you’ve decided to seek help, the next step may seem overwhelming – finding the right level of care.

What are the main types of rehab programs?

Every situation is unique. Each individual requires a different level of care. However, these levels of care can be grouped into a handful of drug and alcohol rehab programs:


  • Detoxification
  • Inpatient / Residential Programs
  • Intensive Outpatient Programs
  • Partial Hospitalization

Differences in Levels of Care

These levels of care are standards established by the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM). Each level differs in a few key areas:

  • Whether medical detox is needed
  • The intensity of the program
  • Where you may live during treatment
  • How long you can expect to be in treatment

While these levels of care can be grouped into specific programs, it is important to make sure you are receiving individual advice from your doctor or healthcare provider according to your situation. Everyone is different based on substance abuse history, family, health, and other personal factors. We highly recommend seeking clinical advice to determine the proper level of care.

At Crystal Lake, we have a team of highly skilled clinicians who will perform a comprehensive assessment to ensure you receive the appropriate care and treatment you need for your alcohol or substance use disorder.

Addiction Help Is Available Now

We’re Available 24/7 – Call now and speak with a caring Admissions Support team member. In some cases, we offer same day admissions. Call Now (844) 944-2714

Determining Level of Care

Deciding on the best level of care for you begins with a clinical or needs assessment. This confidential discussion will help our clinicians decide the best care level for you. Questions will focus on six areas (or dimensions) as a starting point to understand your needs, the severity of addiction, as well as skills, and strengths.

What are the ASAM Levels of Care?

The American Society for Addiction Medicine (ASAM) developed a continuum of care broken down into five levels of care for drug and alcohol treatment programs:

Your path to recovery is waiting
and we’re here to help.

Our admissions specialist are available 24/7 to listen to your story
and get you started with next steps.

Why call us?

  • Early Intervention Services
  • Outpatient Treatment
  • Intensive Outpatient Treatment
  • Residential (Inpatient)
  • Medically Managed Intensive Inpatient

Look for centers that use these standards for drug and alcohol treatment. These standards are evidence-based and demonstrate a facility’s commitment to providing you with the best possible treatment.

Not everyone will need the same level of care. Starting at the highest level of care isn’t necessary for everyone, so this flexibility will individualize your treatment to match your needs.

Level 0.5: Early Intervention Services

Early intervention services are best if you’re having problems related to drugs or alcohol and don’t meet the criteria for a substance use disorder. If you are at risk for a substance use disorder, this is an excellent way to learn about addiction and recovery.

Level 1: Outpatient Services

Outpatient services are more structured than intervention services. Typically, you’d live at home while attending groups or seeing an addiction therapist at a clinic or other facility. If you’ve completed treatment or have a less severe substance use disorder, this is an excellent treatment option.

Level 2: Intensive Outpatient/Partial Hospitalization Services

Intensive outpatient (IOP) or partial hospitalization (PHP) programs are higher intensity outpatient programs. You may live at the facility, a halfway house, or even home while commuting to and from treatment. Most programs require nine to twenty hours of clinical care a week for PHP or IOP treatment. If you’ve completed an inpatient program, PHP and IOP are great ways to transition back to your daily activities.

Level 3: Residential/Inpatient Services

Residential/Inpatient services offer clients treatment while staying at the facility. This allows you to receive 24-hour access to support and services. Residential programs provide therapeutic programming – ranging from one-on-one sessions, medication management, integrative therapy, group therapy, activities, or support groups. If you’ve completed a medical detox, this is usually the next step in your treatment plan,

Level 4: Medically Managed Intensive Inpatient Services

Medically managed intensive inpatient services are the highest level of care. If you need medical detox from a substance such as heroin, alcohol, or benzodiazepines, detox is essential to starting your recovery journey. Sudden withdrawal can be deadly, and this level of care gives you 24-hour medical monitoring, as well as medications to ease your symptoms. Once you are medically stable, you can enter residential treatment, often at the same facility as your detox.

How long is each level?

There is no set time for how long you’d be on a particular level of care. Factors that may increase or decrease the length of treatment include:

  • How long you’ve been using alcohol and/or drugs
  • When you last used substances
  • What the substance is (e.g., alcohol, heroin, benzos) and/or whether multiple substances are being used
  • Whether you’ve had treatment in the past
  • Medical history
  • Mental health status and/or co-occurring disorders

Generally, you can expect the following length of treatment and average weekly commitment:

Average Length of Treatment
Average Weekly Commitment
Early Intervention Services
Less than 6 hours per week
Outpatient Services
Less than 9 hours per week
Intensive Outpatient Services
Two weeks – 3+ months
9 to 20 hours per week
30 to 90 days
Daily while living at a facility
Medically Managed Inpatient (Detox)
5 to 7 days
Daily while living at a facility

Transitioning between Levels of Care

The decision to move from one level of treatment to the next is a clinical decision made by your treatment team. You will have input into this process as you and your team review your medical condition, mental health status, readiness to change, and progress in therapy.

This allows our trained clinicians and medical staff to guide you along this continuum of care. Our teams are dedicated to providing skillful treatment to you. Everyone has a different starting point in recovery because it is not one size fits all. Using the ASAM standards and dimensions, we can provide treatment that embraces your background and needs.

Entering treatment is a courageous step, and fortunately, you don’t have to go it alone. You should always seek an advice from an addiction professional who will utilize the evidence-based ASAM standards to determine the best care for you.

Crystal Lake will guide you through your treatment beginning with your first call to us. We hold ourselves to the highest standards in drug and alcohol treatment and will be your partner in recovery from alcohol, substance use, and co-occurring disorders.


American Society of Addiction Medicine. What are the ASAM Levels of Care? (2015)