Effective Treatment Principles

Addiction treatment focuses on many aspects of a person’s life, and recovery is not easy or simple. An effective addiction recovery program incorporates many treatment components, each concerned with a particular aspect of addiction. Find out about the effective treatment principles for beating addiction.

1-Addiction is a complex disease that affects brain function, chemistry, and structure.

While addiction is complex and misunderstood, it is a treatable disease. With drug abuse, the brain has changes that persist for years after the drug use has ended. This is why many abusers are at risk for relapse even after prolonged periods of abstinence and in spite of the devastating consequences of drug abuse.

2-No single treatment course is appropriate for every person.

Treatment varies depending on the client’s characteristics, the type of drug, the length of drug abuse, and the client’s social support network. Matching interventions and services to the person’s specific needs and problems is important for his/her overall success in returning to society.

3-Treatment should address multiple needs of the individual, not just the drug abuse.

To be effective and with long-term results, treatment should address a person’s drug abuse as well as the individual’s social, medical, psychological, legal, and vocational problems. The treatment program needs to be appropriate for a person’s gender, age, culture, and ethnicity.

4-Treatment should be readily available.

Many addicts are uncertain about entering treatment. This is why services should be available the moment a person is ready to use them. Potential clients often do not go into treatment when it is not readily accessible. Just as with many chronic conditions, the early addiction treatment begins in the disease process, the greater the chances of a positive outcome.

5-An addiction should remain in treatment for a sustained period of time.

The appropriate duration for a person to stay in treatment depends on the degree and type of the client’s needs and problems. Research shows that most addicted persons need at least three full months of treatment to reduce or completely stop the drug use behavior. The longer the duration of treatment, the better the outcome. As with other illnesses, relapses can occur and indicate that treatment should be adjusted or reinstated. Effective programs offer strategies to engage and keep clients in treatment.

6-Behavioral therapies are effective forms of drug abuse treatment.

Including individual, family, and group counseling/therapy, behavioral therapies focus on and involve addressing the client’s motivation to change, provide incentives for abstaining, and help replace drug use with constructive, rewarding activities. Therapy will assist the client to improve problem-solving skills, learn strategies to resist drug use, and facilitate interpersonal relationships. To maintain abstinence, we recommend participating in group therapy and support programs.

7-An addict’s treatment plan should be tailored to individual needs.

The treatment plan should be assessed frequently, updated continually, and modified as needed to assure it meets the addict’s ever changing needs. A client may require many services and treatment options during the course of recovery. In addition to psychotherapy and counseling, a client usually needs medications, health care services, family therapy, vocational rehabilitation, parenting instruction, and social services.

8-Many addicts also have other mental disorders.

Drug abuse and addiction are both mental disorders, and they often co-occur with other mental illnesses. When these problems co-occur, effective treatment should address all issues and include appropriate medications.

9-The first stage of addiction treatment is medically assisted detoxification.

Medically assisted detoxification helps manage a client’s acute physical withdrawal symptoms, and often paves the way for long-term addiction treatment. However, detoxification alone will not be sufficient for long-term abstinence. The client should be encouraged to follow detoxification with continued drug treatment.

10-Drug treatment is not always voluntary.

Treatment does not have to be voluntary to work. Enticements or sanctions from employment facilities, family, or the criminal justice system can increase treatment entry and contribute to retention in a program.