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Effective Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment

effective drug addiction treatment

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In order for drug or alcohol addiction treatment to be most effective, certain principles or guidelines must be followed to ensure continued success of those involved.  Effective treatment for addiction is guided by the following principles as outlines by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA):


  • Effective addiction treatment recognizes that addiction is a complex but treatable disease that affects not only the way that the brain functions but also the way that an individual behaves.
  • Effective drug or alcohol addiction treatment takes many roles and forms and no single treatment will work for every condition or every person. Treatment must be matched to the critical and individual needs of each person.
  • In order for drug or alcohol treatment to be most effective, it must be readily available when the addict is willing to get help. Recognizing that addicts will often do whatever it takes not to go into treatment, when they are willing, it’s vital that there be a treatment center ready and willing to provide help.
  • The most effective drug or alcohol treatment programs will attend to more than just the addiction needs of the patient recognizing that patients may have medical, psychological, social, vocational or legal problems that must also be addressed.
  • Treatment must be age, gender, culture and ethnically appropriate in order to be most effective.
  • The length of time that a patient remains in treatment has much to do with whether or not the treatment will be effective. Programs should last at least 3 months in order to be effective with the most effective programs being 6 months or more in length.
  • For some, medications are an important and integral element of effective treatment for addiction, especially for those addicted to opioids, heroin, alcohol or opiates.
  • Treatment plans must be continually evaluated and modified to meet the growing and changing needs of the patient in order to maintain the overall effectiveness of the addiction treatment.
  • It’s not uncommon for those addicted to drugs or alcohol to also suffer from a mental health disorder that also requires treatment. Effective drug and alcohol addiction treatment will provide treatment for co-occurring disorders in addition to the addiction itself.
  • Detox is not treatment.  Effective drug or alcohol addiction treatment is a combination of detox, counseling, therapy and aftercare that ensures long term sobriety and a successful recovery for the patient.
  • Effective drug or alcohol addiction treatment does not have to be undergone voluntarily in order for the treatment to be a success though a voluntary acceptance into treatment does help the patient transition into the program more easily.
  • Effective treatment programs monitor drug or alcohol use continuously during addiction treatment to ensure that, if relapse does occur, it is noticed and taken control of immediately. Relapse will occur during treatment and the best way to overcome this is to get right back on track as quickly as possible.