Drug Addiction Treatment & Alcoholism Treatment

treatment recoveryDrug addiction treatment and alcoholism treatment centers can be found across the country.  If you or someone you care about is an alcoholic or drug addict, seeking treatment is a smart choice. It is never too early to seek help, so if you see a pattern of abuse that may not have developed into full blown addiction yet it is still a good idea to seek help.

There are a variety of treatment programs available that offer different types of therapy, ranging from individual and group therapy to family therapy, relapse prevention and medical detox.  Some programs may be gender specific, to address the needs of men and women differently, while others may be co-ed.  Some drug addiction treatment or alcoholism treatment programs are outpatient only, while others are residential or residential style.  As each person has individual needs and a unique situation, it is important to find the right treatment program for you or your loved one.  Too often drug addiction and alcoholism go untreated.

Elements of Drug Addiction Treatment and Alcoholism Treatment

drug and alcohol abuse treatmentDrug addiction treatment and alcoholism treatment has been scientifically shown to be effective, regardless of whether a patient voluntarily admits him or herself to treatment.  Addiction treatment can help patients stop using drugs and alcohol, avoid relapse and lead a healthy, productive life.  The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) recommends looking for a drug addiction or alcoholism treatment program that includes the following key components[i]:

  • Medically supervised detoxification when needed; however, this should only be the first step and does little to change long-term drug abuse by itself.
  • Behavioral Therapy and Counseling – Cognitive-behavioral therapy, Multidimensional family therapy, Motivational therapy
  • Attends to multiple needs of the individual, not just his or her drug abuse. For example, if there are co-occurring mental health disorders like depression or anxiety they need to be addressed.
  • An individual’s treatment and services plan must be assessed continually and modified as necessary to ensure that it meets his or her changing needs.
  • Continuous and random drug testing to make sure clients have not relapsed.
  • Treatment programs should assess patients for the presence of HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B and C, Tuberculosis, and other infectious diseases as well as provide targeted risk–reduction counseling to help patients modify or change behaviors that place them at risk of contracting or spreading infectious diseases.

When selecting a treatment program, it is important to look for programs that are licensed and have been accredited by the Joint Commission as this ensures that a facility adheres to the highest quality standards. Effective drug addiction treatment or alcoholism treatment is a process that may begin with medical detox, but should always include therapeutic treatment and relapse prevention.  Treatment is not a destination, it is a journey, so relapse may require a return to previously successful treatment methods.  NIDA recommends a continuum of care that includes customized treatment plans and follow up or aftercare options such as community or family based recovery support.

How to Find Effective Drug Abuse Treatment or Alcoholism Treatment

Drug addiction treatment or alcoholism treatment should be based on proven methods of effectiveness.  Before enrolling yourself or a loved one in a treatment program, you should ask several key questions, including:

  1. Does the program use treatments backed by scientific evidence?
  2. Does the program tailor treatment to the needs of each patient?
  3. Does the program adapt treatment plans as the patient’s needs change?
  4. Is the duration of treatment sufficient?
  5. How do 12-step or similar recovery programs fit into drug addiction treatment?
  6. What types of therapy does the program offer? Are individual, group, couples, and family therapy incorporated and if so, how?
  7. Is the program gender specific, meaning is there a separate program for men and women? Some men and women report feeling more comfortable and being better able to focus on their recovery in gender specific environments.
  8. Is the treatment facility able to provide comprehensive mental health treatment for clients also suffering from mental health disorders like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or eating disorders?
  9. Does the program accept insurance? What are the total costs of the program?
  10. How large is the program and what is the patient to staff member ratio? This will give you an idea of the individualized attention available.
  11. Does the program provide discharge planning and aftercare plans, and what does the process include?

If you or someone you love suffers from drug addiction, alcoholism or alcohol abuse, their condition can be effectively treated.  The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) can help you find treatment that is right for you.



[i] http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/infofacts/treatment-approaches-drug-addiction