You might think that all drug rehab facilities are all the same. You’d be wrong.

In fact, there are several different models for drug rehab that all offer interesting perspectives on the healing process. There isn’t only one way to do this type of thing. Professionals handle each individual patient’s case in a specific and intimate manner. However, there are some popular methods for treating addiction.

In this article, we’re going to look at some of the most effective drug rehab models that we use frequently. If you know an addict, you know how important it is and how difficult it will be to get them clean. It’s important that they get the right kind of treatment, so let’s get started.

Why Is It Important to Look At Different Drug Rehab Models?

The battle with addiction has been a part of the American way of life for decades. Opiates and methamphetamines dominate the conversation today with things like fentanyl putting more people into an early grave all the time.

It’s a terrifying prospect, but the importance of drug addiction treatment has never been more clear.

While going to rehab is a brave jump to make as an addict, the truth of the matter is that it doesn’t always work. Something that works immediately for one person might take 2, 5, 10 tries to work for someone else. It could never work for another person.

For that reason, it’s important to research different methods to get the right kind of treatment for your case. The consequences of prolonged drug addiction are dire, so the faster you find the right model, the faster you can get clean and move on with your life.

So, what are these models? Let’s take a look at a few of the most popular ones.

The Minnesota Model

Two non-professionals in a state hospital developed the Minnesota model, also referred to as the abstinence model, in the 50s. This form of rehab borrows from the 12-step program used by Alcoholics Anonymous.

The difference is that, rather than taking a religious approach, it includes the help of professionals like doctors and psychologists to aid in conquering the addiction.

This model individualizes the recovery process. The idea is that no two treatments are the same because no two addiction situations are the same. Unlike some other models, this one encourages family and friend participation. In fact, most loved ones are intimately involved in the recovery process to drive home the interpersonal aspects of drug addiction and recovery.

In the program, most of the treatment takes place in a group setting, much like AA. Professionals work with patients to help them build a better understanding of addiction while also forming a support system to avoid relapse and cravings.

They discuss addiction, triggers, problems that lead to addiction, and then receive feedback from fellow participants and counselors to help them get through the 12 steps.

Using the 12 Steps in the Minnesota Model

Since it’s different for everyone, not all 12 steps need to come in order. Those with deeper emotional concerns can meet with a counselor more frequently than others. The purpose of all of this is to build up the confidence of the patient so that they feel that they can contribute to society in a positive way.

The popularity of the Minnesota model has fluctuated over the years.

The success of the program has been called into question, but the bottom line is that those that complete treatment are more likely to recover than those who don’t. One study showed that 53% of patients that have used the Minnesota Model reported no relapse or minor relapse after a year.

Long-Term Residential Treatment

A more long-term solution may be necessary for more severe cases. This provides 24-hour per day care outside of hospitals. The best-known version of this type of treatment is the therapeutic community (TC) treatment.

TC treatments are usually between 6 and 12 months and focus on re-socialization, meaning that they use other patients, staff, and medical professionals as part of the treatment. Special focus is put on developing accountability in the patients to improve responsibility and social productivity.

Treatment can even be confrontational, showing patients how damaging beliefs and behavior relate to addiction and how to interact more harmoniously with others.

These treatments will also offer employment training and other support services on-site to help those with special and more in-depth needs (adolescents, homeless people, women in need, and people in the criminal justice system).

Behavioral Therapies

For an addict to truly understand what their behavior does to affect their personal relationships, they need to undergo behavioral therapy. There are three specific types of therapy we’re going to talk about here. Cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectic behavioral therapy, and the matrix model.

Cognitive behavioral therapy seeks to reduce problematic behavior that results from substance abuse. The counselor’s main focus is to help the patient anticipate situational triggers and develop coping mechanisms to prevent relapse.

Dialectic behavioral therapy helps patients that have trouble regulating emotions. This includes thoughts of self-harm and associating their drug of choice with these uncomfortable emotions.

Through relaxation techniques like meditation, yoga, controlled breathing, and muscle relaxation, patients can learn to deal with emotion in a more thoughtful way instead of a reactionary way.

Like the Minnesota Model, the Matrix Model makes heavy use of group therapy. It’s meant to mitigate the need for a drug and maintain abstinence by encouraging support group participation. Family and group therapy sessions can detail destructive behavior and help the patient realize where they’ve made missteps.

Therapy sessions usually take place with a therapist that also acts as a life coach and mentor. This provides a strong support system for the patient so that they avoid destructive behavior. However, drug testing is administered in the Matrix Model.

What Model Will Work for You?

The decision to enter drug rehab is a hugely positive step in one’s recovery process. The first try won’t always work but figuring out the model that works best for you or your loved one will be a huge help. Take the time to do further research into different models to determine the pros and cons of each.

Once you’ve decided, find a rehab center near you that offers your preferred model. Check out Addiction Treatment Services for rehab center listings.


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National Institute on Drug Abuse. (n.d.). Types of Treatment Programs. Retrieved from

Patterson, E., & Ncc. (2018, November 25). Matrix Model Substance Abuse Therapy | Addiction Treatment. Retrieved from

Substance Abuse Counseling Techniques. (n.d.). Retrieved from