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Detox, Residential, and Outpatient Treatment: Which Is Right for Me?

Home » Blog » Detox, Residential, and Outpatient Treatment: Which Is Right for Me?

Addiction recovery is a complex and intimidating journey, and it is common to have reservations about taking the first step into the process. It is important to keep in mind that each recovery journey is unique, and effective treatment programs offer a number of options to help each individual address their specific needs and goals for recovery. Detox programs, residential treatment, and outpatient therapy are cornerstone programs that each individual should explore. Determining which one will be most effective will depend on a number of personal factors.

Detox Treatment


Detox is the first phase of the recovery process and is the program that involves one’s immediate cessation of addictive substances. Stopping the use of addictive substances can present a myriad of difficulties. Some people find that they have been using for so long that they feel “lost” without their use. Others may feel as if they are “breaking up” with a long-time friend. This is also the phase where withdrawal symptoms are most prevalent. While detox can present a number of difficulties, it is still an essential step in one’s recovery journey.

Detox is divided into a few different parts. First is the assessment — a time in which an individual is asked questions about their use of addictive substances. This assessment can be a major barrier for some, as answering difficult questions is inherently uncomfortable. Some find they may not be ready to put themselves in a spot of perceived vulnerability. Trained and judgment-free professionals are supportive during this time.

Common questions asked during an assessment include: “What substances do you use?” or “Do you mix substances?” There will also be inquiries about any underlying medical conditions. This information is part of creating one’s personalized plan and helps professionals determine how to best stabilize one’s symptoms and needs in detox. Stabilization is the second step of detox. This step involves addressing one’s unique symptoms and providing personalized care, including individual therapy and medication-assisted treatment if necessary. The final step is preparing for one’s transition to other treatment programs.

Whether an individual proceeds to residential treatment, intensive outpatient treatment, or any other kind of continuing care, detox is the crucial first step in recovery. In total, a typical detox program will last one or two weeks, depending on one’s unique symptoms, withdrawal, and needs. Detox on its own is not a comprehensive recovery plan, and an individual will need to then move on to other personalized treatment programs.

Residential Care


Residential care is a powerful treatment program that can help an individual distance themselves from previous lifestyles and routines. During residential treatment, an individual lives on-site at a recovery facility in order to begin creating new routines, developing hobbies, and strengthening new relationships with professionals and peers in a curated sober environment. The deliberate elimination of unnecessary stressors can help each person separate themselves from dangerous routines, creating an entirely new lifestyle in one’s newfound sobriety.

Residential treatment is not a sterile, hospital-like setting. It creates an atmosphere based on comfort that provides amenities for those living and navigating their treatment. It provides a variety of therapeutic opportunities. One’s time in residential treatment is typically tightly scheduled throughout the day, including individual and group therapy sessions and various therapeutic and recovery-focused activities to explore healthy coping strategies. 

There is still time, however, for self-care and personal time, and individuals are in no way cut off from the outside world. Rather, residential treatment is a time to explore new lifestyles in a safe, comfortable, and supportive environment with around-the-clock care. Most residential treatment programs will last between 90 to 120 days. Some clients, however, may stay longer based on their unique circumstances.

Ongoing Outpatient Therapy


Outpatient therapy is a kind of treatment where an individual continues to live on their own and attends regular addiction treatment programs and group meetings. This enables them to manage their personal lives while in treatment. For many, this phase of recovery comes after they have developed a number of coping strategies to deal with urges and cravings. Others may move from detox to outpatient care, depending on their unique situation.

While this treatment program offers the greatest number of freedoms for an individual to schedule their own lives alongside personal goals, work schedules, and responsibilities, it also comes with the most trials. An individual engaging in outpatient treatment will need to be able to manage life’s outside stressors and triggers until they can return to their own home or group meeting. 

That does not mean the individual will be entirely on their own, and it is always possible to contact supports or call a treatment center to communicate with professionals about their recovery. Addiction is a disease that will continue to impact an individual, and there is no “end date” to ongoing outpatient therapy. Individuals may use these programs to continuously identify and overcome their own stresses and trials throughout their sober journey.

While residential and outpatient therapy each have their advantages in recovery, detox is always the first step, and one’s journey will take form based on their unique needs and goals throughout the process. Recovery is an ever-changing process, and constant pivots are necessary to create the most personalized approach to one’s sober future. Knowing the options and what to expect in each phase of treatment can help each individual take that first step with added confidence in their journey to sobriety

There are many different avenues to a sober future, and the staff at Pacific Sands Recovery Center can help you find the most personalized, effective approach to your sobriety today. Whether you are struggling with addiction to alcohol, drugs, or batting the daily trials of a dual diagnosis, our array of programs, comfortable environment, and supportive staff can help you better understand and overcome addiction and create a healthy, sober life. From detox to residential treatment and intensive outpatient programs, we can help you transition from your first step into recovery to maintaining your ongoing sobriety, developing key relationships and strategies personal to you each step of the way. It is never too late for change. For more information on how we can personalize your time with us, or to speak to a caring, trained staff member about your unique situation, call us today at (714) 492-1119.

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  • I would just like to share how Grateful I am with my experience through my addiction at this facility. I couldn’t possibly ask to be in such a “SAFE/COMFORTABLE” environment while receiving treatment for my addiction. I would just like to say Thank you sooo much to ALL the staff there from the Nurse’s to counselors and therapist all of you are a True Blessing in helping me through my journey of sobriety. I couldn’t feel more comfortable there on how they monitored my physical health and on dealing with my emotional health with there therapy sessions and groups I truly see them ALL as Family!

    Andrew N.
    Client
  • As a professional in the recovery field I have worked with many detox centers and none compare to The this one. Their staff is incredibly attentive and knowledgable regarding the needs of individuals seeking recovery from the very start. Their facility is welcoming and homey while remaining very luxe. I would recommend this facility to any loved one or friend looking to start down their journey of sobriety.

    Vanessa
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  • This place helped saved my life, and a great stepping stone to get my life on the right track. Was there first client under new management, caring staff and owners, comfortable place to get you on your feet in sobriety.

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  • Great Staff. Comfortable Environment. Awesome place to Get Clean and Sober. Thank you guys for everything.

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