10 Tenets of Effective Drug Addiction Treatment


On any given day in the United States, one million people are in
treatment for alcoholism or drug addiction. It is not getting
into treatment, however, that makes the difference. Instead, it
is what a person gets out of treatment. The fact that many people do not find success in treatment on their first attempt is due in part to a lack of understanding about what makes effective treatment.

1.There is no treatment formula that will work for everyone.

Occasionally, people looking for treatment will come across other
individuals who are already in recovery and who insist that the
only path to recovery is whatever path the recovering individual
has taken. This simply is not true. The ultimate success of each
individual entering Xanax Withdrawal treatment depends on finding the right
treatment setting and methods for the individual, and everyone’s
needs are different.

2. Medically supervised withdrawal is only one step in addiction
treatment; alone it will do little.

Frequently, it is necessary for addicts and alcoholics to go
through a medically supervised withdrawal period before they can
safely enter treatment. However, some people confuse this short 3
to 7 day period with treatment, which it is not. Some people
cycle in and out of these withdrawal episodes convinced that they
should be able to maintain abstinence afterwards, but never
finding success. Seemingly tragic, this allows some addicts to
continue in their addiction while giving the appearance that they
are attempting to get healthy.

3. Length of treatment counts.

The appropriate duration for an individual depends on his or her
problems and needs. Research indicates that for most patients,
significant improvement is reached at about 3 months. The
research suggests that this may be residential, outpatient or a
combination of both depending on the individual’s needs. After
this initial period, additional treatment can produce further
progress toward recovery.

4. Drug addiction is a multidimensional problem, and treatment
needs to address all of an individual’s needs.

Effective treatment must address the individual’s drug
use, but also any associated medical, psychological, social,
vocational, or legal problems.

5. Counseling (individual and/or group) is a critical part of
effective addiction treatment.

Many alcoholics and addicts mistakenly believe that if they could
just stop using for a week or two they could stop using forever.
In reality, they need therapy. In therapy, addicts examine their
motivation, build skills to resist drug use, replace drug-using
activities with constructive and rewarding nondrug-using
activities, and improve problem-solving abilities. Additionally,
therapy helps individuals to rebuild and re-learn family and
social living patterns.

6. Medications are an important part of treatment for many
people. Medications such as suboxone, methadone and LAAM can all be
effective in helping certain individuals stay away from illicit
drugs. Some times frowned upon by some individuals in recovery
the truth is that these medications allow millions of individuals
to live normal, productive lives.

7. Drug testing during treatment is important.

Drugs are found everywhere, even in drug treatment. Whether
treatment is offered on an outpatient, inpatient or in a jail
drugs are available to individuals in treatment. This puts
individuals in treatment at risk for reusing even while in
treatment. It also means that every individual in treatment
should be monitored for drug treatment on an ongoing basis. In
this manner treatment, plans may be modified to increase the
chance of ultimate success.

8. Alcoholics and addicts with mental health disorders should be
treated for both at the same time.

An alcoholic or addict who also has a mental health disorder is
said to have “co-occurring” disorders. In the past, the question
has sometimes been should the person be treated for the mental
health problem or the addiction first. People may be using drugs
to deal with the mental health problem or they may have the
mental health issue because of their drug use. The most effective
way to deal with these two “co-occurring” disorders and deal with
the addiction is to treat them at the same time.

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