10 Important principles involved in Drug Addiction Treatment
About a million people in U.S are under treatment to recover from drug addiction and alcoholism. 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 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.
9.Addiction Treatment works even for people who don’t choose it of their own free will.
It used to be believed that someone had to want to go into treatment before it could be effective. New research has shown that this is not the case. In fact, treatment is just as effective for individuals who are court ordered to do treatment as it is for people who figure out the need for it on their own. Families and employers can be just as effective at getting unwilling addicts into treatment. Stephen King, in his autobiography “On Writing,” tells about the intervention his wife and family performed on him. King did not want to go into treatment. He was seemingly happy doing coke and drinking mouthwash, but his wife Tabitha and his children were not happy with the situation and performed an intervention. Forced to choose between family and drugs, King made the right choice. Interventions are most successful when done correctly and with the help of a professional.
10. Don’t give up.
As with other chronic illnesses, relapses can occur during or after successful treatment episodes. Addicted individuals may need lengthy treatment and more than one time in treatment before they can enjoy long-term abstinence and full restoration to a drug free life. The period after treatment is just as important as being in treatment. Finding support and continuous work to stay drug free will be necessary. Apart from the prescribed medicines more efficient treatment is necessary to overcome this complex drug addiction problem.