Which Level of Care Will Prepare You for Long-Term Recovery?
Addiction treatment is not a one-size-fits-all experience. At We Level Up New Jersey, our thorough approach to rehabilitation supports several recovery therapies to ensure the best possible outcome for every patient who enters our doors. From an intensive and more supportive atmosphere for those in the early days of recovery to medication assistance for those who need it, we are here to help you find the right path to sobriety through our levels of care.
Drug addiction is a challenge facing millions of Americans, lurking in classrooms, offices, and living rooms from coast to coast. Addiction is severe with the ability to destroy relationships, sideline careers, and interfere with home lives.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, drug abuse and addiction cost American society more than $740 billion annually in lost workplace productivity, healthcare expenses, and crime-related costs. 
Substance abuse can pose significant threats to wellness, happiness, stability, and health. The more you know about drug and alcohol addiction, the better positioned you are to both identify and adequately cope with signs of addiction in those you love – or in yourself.
Substance Use Disorder
Generally, many people view addiction as a weakness–a flawed character trait deserving judgment and ridicule and not a severe condition in need of professional treatment. However, this is not true. Medical and psychological experts classify addiction as a disease – and rightly so.
According to the American Medical Association and the American Society of Addiction Medicine, addiction is a disease that is comprised of behavioral choices, environmental factors, and genetic components. Addiction affects both the body and the brain, sometimes permanently, leading to an altered state of being nearly impossible to overcome without help – much like other diseases. Furthermore, addiction cannot be cured, only treated. Thus, while some substance users can quit using drugs and alcohol without ever relapsing, many are not, which is characteristic of other diseases.
Addiction as a Disease
The element of choice in addiction often drives criticism over classifying addiction as a disease. After all, addiction can’t develop without picking up the first joint, taking the first sip, or injecting the first dose. However, this logic would exclude many legitimate conditions as well. For example, diabetes can be strongly related to a poor diet and obesity, while skin cancer can be derived from too much time in the sun and lung cancer from smoking despite known risks. Yet, no one debates these kinds of conditions as legitimate diseases, despite the diagnosis choices. By this logic, addiction should be seen in the same light: as a chronic condition without a cure.
The societal view of addiction as a weakness or a personal problem is often directly tied to a reluctance to admit to addiction or seek help. In fact, only around 10% of those with a substance abuse problem ever seek treatment – a figure much lower than other chronic diseases.
Defining Substance and Alcohol Use Disorders
Casual or recreational substance use plays a significant role in modern culture. Media like movies, music, and television shows often glorify getting drunk or high, with rappers detailing drugged-up exploits and cool teens in TV shows sneaking off to drink alcohol with their friends. Whether legal or illegal, healthy or unhealthy, substance use is seen as something familiar that everyone does.
These pervasive messages and the reality of usage statistics among teens and adults alike communicate an acceptance of substance use on almost every level. However, recreational use doesn’t usually stay recreational for long, and some substances are nearly impossible to use on an occasional basis.
Substance use disorders, or SUDs, occur when recreational use steps over the line into chronic use. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, substance use disorders are characterized by evidence of a loss of control, risky use, and social impairment. SUDs exist on a sliding scale ranging from mild to severe based on the number of diagnostic criteria substance users meet. These criteria vary from one substance to another based on usage trends and common side effects. Alcohol use disorder, for example, is graded on the following elements:
- Problems controlling alcohol intake
- Continued drinking even after issues occur, like being too drunk or hungover to go to work
- Development of a tolerance that leads to increased intake
- Risky situations caused by drinking
- Withdrawal symptoms when not drinking
- Prolonged time acquiring alcohol
While only one of these factors may be considered a mild form of an alcohol use disorder, most or all of them can indicate a severe case.
Levels of Care for Dual Diagnosis
Mental health problems and substance use disorders sometimes occur together. This is because:
- Certain illegal drugs can cause people with an addiction to experience one or more symptoms of a mental health problem.
- Mental health problems can sometimes lead to addiction, as some people with mental health problems may misuse these substances as a form of self-medication.
- Mental and substance use disorders share some underlying causes, including changes in brain composition, genetic vulnerabilities, and early exposure to stress or trauma.
- More than one in four adults living with serious mental health problems also has a substance use problem. 
At We Level Up New Jersey, we facilitate dual diagnosis clientele. In doing so, we provide the highest quality of care to those who need it most. Dual diagnosis cases (also called “co-occurring disorders”) are widespread, especially among substance abuse disorders. There’s reason to believe that there’s a causal relationship between many mental disorders and substance abuse disorders.
Levels of Care Summary
Effective treatment often targets all aspects of the self, including mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being. Programs also strive to support and promote the four dimensions of recovery as noted by SAMHSA: health, home, purpose, and community. 
Addiction treatment isn’t as easy as taking a pill and waiting for the effects to kick in. In addition, overcoming addiction requires time, energy, and commitment that has to come from within.
Most treatment programs favor a step-down process, starting with a strict and restrictive environment and gradually phasing down to help those in recovery assimilate back into daily life.
- Detox is the first stage of treatment, lasting around three to seven days based on substance. In detox, users go through drug withdrawal to move past the physical components of addiction. For those with long-term or severe substance abuse, medications and other therapies may be available to minimize side effects.
- For three to four weeks following detox, patients reside in an inpatient care facility with limited access to the outside world. During this time, patients work with counselors and other addiction professionals in individual and group settings to facilitate healing; effective coping mechanisms, and a healthy attitude toward sobriety.
- Also known as PHP, partial hospitalization programs are outpatient programs that balance inpatient and outpatient care. In this time, recovering users live in a sober living house while attending addiction programming during the day, five days a week.
- After several weeks or months of PHP, users graduate to intensive outpatient programs or IOP. These programs give patients a chance to return to work or school while remaining committed to the recovery community. Participants often live in a sober house during IOP.
- After IOP is complete, many recovering users return to their homes and families and attempt to re-enter everyday life. However, remaining active in the recovery community is essential, and many individuals continue attending outpatient addiction treatment programs to maintain sobriety best.
For Additional Levels of Care Details
The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) defines five levels of care to guide practitioners in selecting the appropriate intensity for treating alcohol and drug use disorders: Level 0.5 (early intervention services), Level I (outpatient services), Level II (intensive outpatient services), Level III (residential and inpatient services), and Level IV (medically managed intensive inpatient services) (2). Thus, IOPs represent a higher level of care than usual outpatient services and a lower level of care than residential and inpatient services. 
How We Level Up New Jersey Can Help
To help you find and maintain sobriety, we favor a personalized approach to care. From the moment you begin with us, our counselors will help you find a path that fits with your background, your substance(s) of choice, your lifestyle; your interests, and your unique needs.
To best customize our levels of care to your needs, our programming includes:
- Family Therapy
- Individual Therapy
- Humanistic Therapy
- Group Addiction Therapy
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- Mindfulness Training for Stress Reduction
If you are considering addiction treatment for you or someone you love, We Level Up New Jersey can help. Don’t hesitate to contact us today for a confidential consultation with a member of our intake team.
 Trends & Statistics – National Institute on Drug Abuse
 Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders – U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
 Find Help and Recovery – Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration
 The ASAM placement criteria and matching patients to treatment – National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine