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Alcohol Addiction Levels of Care

Last Updated: January 12, 2024

Editorial Policy | Research Policy

Many different alcohol addiction levels of care are available to help those struggling with alcohol use disorder at any stage.

When searching for alcohol rehab programs, you might think your only option is to leave home and enter treatment in a residential facility. While this is one treatment option, it is not the only choice when seeking care. There are many alcohol addiction levels of care to help those struggling with alcohol.

Understanding the Continuum of Care

When someone enters an addiction treatment program, a continuum of care is available. At lower levels of care, services are less intensive, and people tend to spend less time in treatment. On the other hand, higher levels of care provide more intensive, more frequent and longer-lasting treatment. In general, those with more severe addictions or complex needs, such as a co-occurring mental health disorder, are placed at a higher level of care. 

As people progress through the continuum of care, they can “step down” to a lower level of care. For instance, someone with a severe addiction may begin with a medically managed detox program to address withdrawal side effects and then transition into a residential treatment program. After being discharged from this program, they will likely stay engaged in an outgoing program to provide continuity of care. 

The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) Criteria

The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) specifies multiple levels of care for those needing addiction treatment based on how intensive a patient’s treatment needs are. 

Level 0.5 Early Intervention Services

Early intervention services are at level 0.5, lowest on the ASAM Levels of Care. These services are provided to those at risk of problems related to substance abuse but who do not yet meet diagnostic criteria for addiction. For example, someone who has begun experimenting with substances may be referred for brief counseling or educational groups to prevent addiction. 

Level 1 Outpatient Services

At level 1.0 of the ASAM Levels of Care are outpatient services that motivate people to participate in recovery. Those participating in outpatient care receive under nine hours of service per week. Patients at this level of care report to a facility or clinic for regular appointments. They may participate in individual and group counseling. 

Level 2 Intensive Outpatient/Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)

The next levels of care, intensive outpatient and partial hospitalization programming (PHP), fall under level 2.0. At level 2.1, Intensive outpatient care is provided to those with more complex needs than those who benefit from standard outpatient services. Intensive outpatient programs offer at least nine hours of service per week. 

PHPs are at level 2.5 and are even more intensive, providing at least 20 hours of service per week. These programs benefit those who have struggled to engage in treatment and have complex needs that are not intensive enough to require 24-hour care. Patients receiving partial hospitalization services often report to a facility every weekday and participate in different services, including medication management, individual counseling and group therapy. 

Level 3 Residential Rehab

Residential rehab is at level 3.0. Patients in residential rehab live on-site at a treatment center while receiving care, meaning they have access to services around the clock and do not return home at night. Residential rehabs offer structured programming, with at least five hours of clinical services per week. These programs can meet the needs of patients who lack support within the community or have been unable to stay committed to recovery when faced with triggers and stressors in daily life. 

Level 4 Medically Managed Intensive Inpatient Services

Medically managed intensive inpatient services are at level 4.0, which is the highest level of care. These programs provide around-the-clock access to nursing services and daily care from a physician. This level of care is appropriate for patients who face acute problems resulting from intoxication or those with a high risk of withdrawal. 

Alcohol Addiction Treatment Programs at The Recovery Village Atlanta 

If you’re seeking alcohol rehab in Georgia, The Recovery Village Atlanta is here to help. We offer multiple levels of care, including medical detox, residential treatment, partial hospitalization programming and intensive outpatient care. Our residential facility offers personal space, with privacy walls built into each room. Contact us today to learn more or get started with your recovery.


Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission. “Access to Substance Use Disorder Treatment in Medicaid.” June 2018. Accessed August 15, 2023.