Addiction has increased in prevalence in modern society, impacting communities of all sizes and economic statuses. With the widespread impact, there are a number of reasons why it’s important to have local resources available for treatment.
One of the first and most obvious reasons might be convenience. Patients seeking outpatient treatment or ongoing after-care support are more likely to continue treatments if they are convenient. It’s difficult enough to seek treatment without additional barriers such as a long commute, inconvenient schedules, or transportation issues.
Another key consideration is culture. Whether a client is from a small rural community or a large urban environment, they want to feel understood. They want to look around the room and see familiarity, to feel that they are understood and accepted.
Table of Contents
- Understanding Addiction: A Brief Overview
- The Addiction Landscape in St. Louis
- Treatment Modalities Available
- Community Resources and Support Groups
- The Importance of Aftercare
- Funding and Insurance Considerations
- Additional Resources
Understanding Addiction: A Brief Overview
There are a few different definitions of addiction, and some may argue there’s a difference between addiction and dependence, between mental and physical dependence. In practical terms, however, addiction refers to being mentally and/or physically dependent on a substance or behavior and unable to stop the usage or behavior.
Substance addiction examples include alcohol, nicotine, cocaine, heroin, opiates, marijuana, or other street or prescription drugs. Behavioral addictions could include kleptomania, sexual addictions, gambling, risk seeking, compulsive shopping, self harming, or internet addictions.
Regardless of whether the addiction is behavioral or substance related, there are many similar impacts and costs. Any addictions can cost money, whether it’s the cost to buy drugs, attorney and court fees, lost jobs, gambling losses, or shopping sprees. There’s also an emotional cost, such as damage to relationships or reducing self esteem and self worth.
The Addiction Landscape in St. Louis
In 2022, the St. Louis area was reported to have approximately 9.5 percent of the population, or 219,000 people over the age of 12, with a substance use disorder. This is slightly higher than the overall Missouri rates, but on par with national levels. Between the years of 2016 and 2020, there were an estimated 315 substance-related deaths in St. Louis County alone, with rates increasing.
Common substances in the region include methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, marijuana, and opioids. Addiction to these substances creates a significant social and economic impact on the local community, increasing rates of crime, poverty, homelessness, unemployment, and domestic disputes.
Treatment Modalities Available
There are numerous different treatment modalities available to treat addiction. Sorting through the options can seem overwhelming, but we’ll help clarify the options so you can choose the best option for you or your family member. Some considerations might include insurance coverage, location, and time commitments. Some people seeking treatment prefer an extended in-patient session, while others prefer community support programs or medical treatment so they don’t have to take time away from families or jobs.
Inpatient rehabilitation refers to the therapy and medical attention you receive in a live-in situation, such as a hospital or standalone treatment center. Also known as residential treatment, these facilities are designed for serious substance abuse and addiction issues.
During the treatment period, patients live at the facility under constant medical supervision. The settings can range from hospital-like to luxury spa facilities, but the goal is the same: 24 hour medical and emotional support. Residential treatment is also ideal if there are concurrent issues such as a mental health diagnosis.
Treatment include individual and group therapy, medical support, and a comprehensive care approach. Residential treatment ensure a certain period without access to drugs and alcohol, or the distractions and stresses of daily life. The focus is completely on breaking the addiction cycle. Different programs may include medically assisted detox , nutritional support, or family counseling. Treatment periods vary in length, from 7 days to 30, 60, or 90 day programs. There are also extended residential programs of 6, 12, or 24 months.
Outpatient treatments are less restricted than inpatient plans. There are two different levels of outpatient care: partial hospitalization programs (PHP) and intensive outpatient programs (IOP). Each program is commonly used after inpatient treatment as a transition plan, but they can be used as the starting point instead.
PHP is the more intensive program, which is designed to stabilize behavior during early recovery stages. PHP patients live at home and come to the treatment center during the day, typically 5 to 6 hours a day, 5 to 6 days a week. This is a time-consuming commitment, so most participants are not working during this time. This doesn’t offer the 24-hour supervision or medical care, and there is still the risk of relapse, but it allows participants to sleep at home and be with their families in the evening.
IOP is considered a step down; it’s often scheduled after PHP as a transition back to daily life, but it can also be standalone or the next step after inpatient. In IOP, patients attend programs for typically 3 treatment hours a day, 3 to 5 days a week. This provides a more flexible schedule for home and work, and it begins the transition to everyday responsibilities with support. Sessions are focused on preventing relapses, education, coping skills, and counseling.
Whether PHP, IOP, or a combination, outpatient rehab can last three to six months, or for more serious cases, it could last over a year.
Depending on the specific drug and level of use, the detox process can be painful, scary, and/or dangerous. Some addicts are so concerned about the detox stage that they avoid getting help, or relapse to take away the pain. Detox centers provide medical support and monitoring during a drug or alcohol detox.
During a medical detox, the detox center helps ensure the process is safe and more comfortable, monitoring the patient for safety and providing medical symptom management, if appropriate. The stay length varies depending on the individual and the drug in question, but a typical stay could be 7-10 days. Following a stay at a detox center, they will typically help move you to the next level of care, whether it’s outpatient or inpatient treatment.
Counseling and Therapy
Regardless of whether a patient chooses inpatient or outpatient treatment, counseling and therapy are critical to long-term success. Programs generally offer individual and group counseling, and many also offer family therapy. Individual counseling allow time to focus on your individual mental health needs, while group therapy provides the foundation for healthy, supportive relationships. Family therapy helps heal family dynamics that may impact drug and alcohol addiction as well as repair damage caused by the addiction.
Common modalities of therapy include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). CBT focuses on changing thoughts and behaviors that aren’t helpful, while DBT uses skill-based training such as interpersonal effectiveness, mindfulness, distress tolerance, and emotional regulation. They can be useful for a wide range of problems such as drug and alcohol abuse, anxiety, depression, and relationship issues, either individually or combined.
Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)
In Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), providers use medications to help control cravings and any withdrawal symptoms. Common medications used in MAT include Suboxone, Naltrexone, and Buprenorphine. These medications, combined with therapy, help increase the treatment success by relieving withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
Community Resources and Support Groups
Community support groups are an excellent tool for recovery, either following inpatient or outpatient treatment or as standalone resources. Common examples include Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA), where group discussions help provide support, group counseling, and successful strategies for recovery.
Other options include halfway houses and sober living communities. After an inpatient treatment, many addicts are concerned about falling back into the situations and patterns that can cause relapses, such as other family members who are using drugs or relationship stresses. Transitioning to a halfway house or sober living community after treatment can support recovery by providing more recovery time. These communities are committed to sober living and have rules such as group therapy sessions, curfews, and abstaining from drugs and alcohol, but there is more freedom than an inpatient setting.
The Importance of Aftercare
While addiction treatment is a critical first step toward sobriety, aftercare is crucial to sustaining this success. Staying sober is easy during inpatient treatment when you don’t have access to drugs and alcohol. The real test begins after you leave treatment and have to continue to say no, when you’re being faced with daily stressors and temptations. Aftercare programs help provide the necessary support, counseling, and skills to build and maintain your sober lifestyle.
Funding and Insurance Considerations
Drug and alcohol treatment can be expensive, especially when considering inpatient or more intensive outpatient programs. The good news is that many insurance plans provide coverage for addiction treatments, including Medicare and Medicaid. If you have insurance, the first step is to review your plan or contact your carrier to determine what your plan covers, for how long, and what your copayment would be.
If you don’t have coverage, or if your copay isn’t manageable, there are local programs that provide scholarships, grants, or other types of financial assistance including sliding scale fees. In the St. Louis area, there are many resources available including free treatment centers if you qualify. Don’t let financial considerations keep you locked into addiction.
When you or your loved one is trapped in the cycle of addiction, it may feel hopeless and that life won’t ever get better. Luckily, the St. Louis area offers every type of drug and alcohol treatment program you could need, including inpatient, outpatient, detox, medication treatments, community groups, and sober living communities. Once you decide which treatment program you’re interested in, reach out to find help. There is treatment available to help break the addiction and sustain a sober future.
If you don’t know where to start your treatment journey, we’ve provided a list of resources below:
St. Louis Area Rehab Centers: This site provides links and additional information for the area’s top-rated rehab centers, including 15 free options.
Help.org lists top rehab centers in the region based on a number of criteria, including financial assistance, treatment approaches, and services provided.
The Salvation Army provides completely free treatment services.
If you want to speak to someone who can help with treatment referral, the Alcohol Treatment Referral Hotline is available at (800) 252-6465.
If you are in crisis, don’t wait to reach out. Drug and alcohol abuse may also be paired with suicidal thoughts and domestic violence situations, so we’ve included those resources as well.
- Suicide Prevention Lifeline: (800) 273-TALK or (800) SUICIDE
- NAMI St. Louis HelpLine: (314) 962-4670 Available 7 days a week, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
- Behavioral Health Response (800) 811-4760 Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
- Girls & Boys Town National Hotline (800) 448-3000
- National Hopeline Network (800) SUICIDE
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800) 273-TALK (8255)
- National Youth Crisis Hotline (800) 442-HOPE (4673)
- Alcohol Hotline (800) 331-2900
- Al-Anon for Families of Alcoholics (800) 344-2666
- National Domestic Violence Hotline (800) 799-7233
- National US Child Abuse Hotline (800) 422-4453
- Poison Control (800) 222-1222