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Drug Addiction Treatment

A drug addiction treatment center is probably the most effective for addicts. Especially those in need of intensive focused help with their addictions. This will give them qualified professionals to assist in any difficulties all day long with the programme.


Nowadays there are all forms of drugs available with all sorts of mixtures of highs and lows. Made for anyone seeking something different or new. This gives people we know, friends or family members an addiction. To either alcohol or drugs both legal and illegal ( drug addict ). Addiction in this case being physical dependence and overwhelming desire for more as tolerance levels constantly increase. With this in mind it’s hardly any wonder that not everyone gets ongoing recovery. And not simply be entering into an addiction treatment center. Or that knowing there will be severe consequences is still not enough to stop an addict from using his or her drug of choice addictively.

Active recovery

Some are fortunate and do manage to maintain active recovery straight from there first introduction to it. Plus this does not mean that those who do not have failed in any way at all. We can never tell when any particular drug addict will get the message. We can hope that when they are actually ready to hear it a treatment facility somewhere has a welcoming space. That’s no matter how many drug rehabs they may have gone through previously.

Self help groups

Also once the residential program has been completed there is further commitment to continually working the program. This is on self as well as connections to self-help groups and others following the same ongoing journey.

Most addicts did not become addicted over night and usually spent years thinking they where in control. Well before realising they where using anything as well as a drug of choice against there own will.


Once a drug addict realises this then it’s either time to ask for help or accept it and carry on. Continuing with active drug addiction regardless, trying not to think to much about where it will end. NA literature states Jails Institutions or death, or the consequences that are stacking up behind them.

If a solution is sought then it can be addressed with help from trained staff that are professionals in this area. Plus have the experience and qualifications needed to guide someone into receiving the appropriate care. Rehab centers now have a wide variety of programs available. This gives many options to any addicts seeking help from all walks of life.

Treatment Centers

Very important part of the search is considering the different types of drug addiction treatment center available these days. Rehabilitation centers offer many forms of treatment to assist successful ongoing reco very for drug addicts. Like outpatient or inpatient treatment, day-care programmes, residential rehabilitation ( drug rehab ), detox facilities, dry houses and sober living homes.

Detox facilities

Detox facilities are a very early step in seeking help with a drug addiction problem. Again they must be staffed by qualified professionals. These will be staffed 24 hours a day 7 days a week with plenty of supervision for the detoxification process to be successful.

A residential center is probably the most effective for addicts in need of intensive focused help with their addictions. This will give them qualified professionals to assist in any difficulties all day long with the programme.

Outpatient help

Outpatient help can help those addicts who may not be able to enter residential. These may be able to start the process of change with counselling sessions. Plus a small amount of group work each week. A qualified professional would need to make this assessment, not the addict themself. The addict may believe things are not that bad when they actually need to be in rehab ASAP.

Dry house – Sober living

Dry houses, sober living homes or sober houses are ideal for aftercare once a residential programme is finished. Those who have been in ongoing recovery before also use these if they have relapsed. Sometimes a place in a sober house or sober living home for a few months is enough. Especially for an addict getting back on the ongoing recovery road if the relapse has been arrested early enough.

The sober home experience helps the addict return to being a productive member of society. While receiving support every step of the way. When residing in such a property the client is encouraged to seek voluntary work or able employment. Plus attend regular 12 step self help meetings, engage with a sponsor and work the 12 step program. This is also an ideal time to face past consequences outstanding warrants and fines etc. Again while being supported by professionals in this field as well as the peers every step of the way.

These are obviously very brief descriptions and not every facility is exactly the same and not every drug addict needs whats on offer. Do remember to ask as many questions as you need answering prior to making a decision on which sort of drug rehab is best suitable to you.

Good luck

NIDA InfoFacts: Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction

NOTE: This is a fact sheet covering research findings on effective treatment approaches for drug abuse and addiction as published online at . National Institute on Drug Abuse


Complex illness

Drug addiction is a complex illness characterized by intense and, at times, uncontrollable drug craving, along with compulsive drug seeking and use that persist even in the face of devastating consequences. While the path to drug addiction begins with the voluntary act of taking drugs, over time a person’s ability to choose not to do so becomes compromised, and seeking and consuming the drug becomes compulsive.

This behaviour results largely from the effects of prolonged drug exposure on brain functioning. Addiction is a brain disease that affects multiple brain circuits, including those involved in reward and motivation, learning and memory, and inhibitory control over behaviour.

Drug abuse

Because drug abuse and addiction have so many dimensions and disrupt so many aspects of an individual’s life, treatment is not simple. Effective treatment programs typically incorporate many components, each directed to a particular aspect of the illness and its consequences.

Addiction treatment must help the individual stop using drugs, maintain a drug-free lifestyle, and achieve productive functioning in the family, at work, and in society. Because addiction is typically a chronic disease, people cannot simply stop using drugs for a few days and be cured. Most patients require long-term or repeated episodes of care to achieve the ultimate goal of sustained abstinence and recovery of their lives.

Too often, addiction goes untreated: According to SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 23.2 million persons (9.4 percent of the U.S. population) aged 12 or older needed treatment for an illicit drug or alcohol use problem in 2007. Of these individuals, 2.4 million (10.4 percent of those who needed treatment) received treatment at a specialty facility (i.e., hospital, drug or alcohol rehabilitation or mental health center). Thus, 20.8 million persons (8.4 percent of the population aged 12 or older) needed treatment for an illicit drug or alcohol use problem but did not receive it. These estimates are similar to those in previous years.1

Principles of Effective Treatment

Scientific research since the mid–1970s shows that treatment can help patients addicted to drugs stop using, avoid relapse, and successfully recover their lives. Based on this research, key principles have emerged that should form the basis of any effective treatment programs:

  • Addiction is a complex but treatable disease that affects brain function and behavior.
  • No single treatment is appropriate for everyone.
    Treatment needs to be readily available.
  • Effective treatment attends to multiple needs of the individual, not just his or her drug abuse.
  • Remaining in treatment for an adequate period of time is critical.
  • Counselling—individual and/or group—and other behavioural therapies are the most commonly used forms of drug abuse treatment.
  • Medications are an important element of treatment for many patients, especially when combined with counselling and other behavioural therapies.
  • 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.
  • Many drug–addicted individuals also have other mental disorders.
  • Medically assisted detoxification is only the first stage of addiction treatment and by itself does little to change long–term drug abuse.
  • Treatment does not need to be voluntary to be effective.
  • Drug use during treatment must be monitored continuously, as lapses during treatment do occur.

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.

Effective Treatment Approaches

Medication and behavioral therapy, especially when combined, are important elements of an overall therapeutic process that often begins with detoxification, followed by treatment and relapse prevention. Easing withdrawal symptoms can be important in the initiation of treatment; preventing relapse is necessary for maintaining its effects. And sometimes, as with other chronic conditions, episodes of relapse may require a return to prior treatment components.

A continuum of care that includes a customized treatment regimen—addressing all aspects of an individual’s life, including medical and mental health services—and follow–up options (e.g., community – or family-based recovery support systems) can be crucial to a person’s success in achieving and maintaining a drug–free lifestyle.

Medications can be used to help with different aspects of the treatment process.

Medications offer help in suppressing withdrawal symptoms during detoxification. However, medically assisted detoxification is not in itself “treatment”—it is only the first step in the treatment process. Patients who go through medically assisted withdrawal but do not receive any further treatment show drug abuse patterns similar to those who were never treated.
Medications can be used to help reestablish normal brain function and to prevent relapse and diminish cravings. Currently, we have medications for opioids (heroin, morphine), tobacco (nicotine), and alcohol addiction and are developing others for treating stimulant (cocaine, methamphetamine) and cannabis (marijuana) addiction. Most people with severe addiction problems, however, are polydrug users (users of more than one drug) and will require treatment for all of the substances that they abuse.
Methadone, buprenorphine and, for some individuals, naltrexone are effective medications for the treatment of opiate addiction. Acting on the same targets in the brain as heroin and morphine, methadone and buprenorphine suppress withdrawal symptoms and relieve cravings. Naltrexone works by blocking the effects of heroin or other opioids at their receptor sites and should only be used in patients who have already been detoxified. Because of compliance issues, naltrexone is not as widely used as the other medications. All medications help patients disengage from drug seeking and related criminal behavior and become more receptive to behavioral treatments.
A variety of formulations of nicotine replacement therapies now exist—including the patch, spray, gum, and lozenges—that are available over the counter. In addition, two prescription medications have been FDA–approved for tobacco addiction: bupropion and varenicline. They have different mechanisms of action in the brain, but both help prevent relapse in people trying to quit. Each of the above medications is recommended for use in combination with behavioral treatments, including group and individual therapies, as well as telephone quitlines.
Three medications have been FDA–approved for treating alcohol dependence: naltrexone, acamprosate, and disulfiram. A fourth, topiramate, is showing encouraging results in clinical trials. Naltrexone blocks opioid receptors that are involved in the rewarding effects of drinking and in the craving for alcohol.
It reduces relapse to heavy drinking and is highly effective in some but not all patients—this is likely related to genetic differences.
Acamprosate is thought to reduce symptoms of protracted withdrawal, such as insomnia, anxiety, restlessness, and dysphoria (an unpleasant or uncomfortable emotional state, such as depression, anxiety, or irritability). It may be more effective in patients with severe dependence.
Disulfiram interferes with the degradation of alcohol, resulting in the accumulation of acetaldehyde, which, in turn, produces a very unpleasant reaction that includes flushing, nausea, and palpitations if the patient drinks alcohol. Compliance can be a problem, but among patients who are highly motivated, disulfiram can be very effective.

Behavioral Treatments

Behavioral treatments help patients engage in the treatment process, modify their attitudes and behaviors related to drug abuse, and increase healthy life skills. These treatments can also enhance the effectiveness of medications and help people stay in treatment longer. Treatment for drug abuse and addiction can be delivered in many different settings using a variety of behavioral approaches.


Outpatient behavioral treatment encompasses a wide variety of programs for patients who visit a clinic at regular intervals. Most of the programs involve individual or group drug counseling. Some programs also offer other forms of behavioral treatment such as—


Behavioral therapy CBT, which seeks to help patients recognize, avoid, and cope with the situations in which they are most likely to abuse drugs.
Multidimensional family therapy, which was developed for adolescents with drug abuse problems—as well as their families—addresses a range of influences on their drug abuse patterns and is designed to improve overall family functioning.

Contingency management

Motivational interviewing, which capitalizes on the readiness of individuals to change their behavior and enter treatment.
Motivational incentives (contingency management), which uses positive reinforcement to encourage abstinence from drugs.


Residential treatment programs can also be very effective, especially for those with more severe problems. For example, therapeutic communities (TCs) are highly structured programs in which patients remain at a residence, typically for 6 to 12 months. TCs differ from other treatment approaches principally in their use of the community—treatment staff and those in recovery—as a key agent of change to influence patient attitudes, perceptions, and behaviors associated with drug use.

Patients in TCs may include those with relatively long histories of drug addiction, involvement in serious criminal activities, and seriously impaired social functioning. TCs are now also being designed to accommodate the needs of women who are pregnant or have children. The focus of the TC is on the resocialization of the patient to a drug-free, crime–free lifestyle.

Treatment Within the Criminal Justice System

Treatment in a criminal justice setting can succeed in preventing an offender’s return to criminal behavior, particularly when treatment continues as the person transitions back into the community. Studies show that treatment does not need to be voluntary to be effective.

Other Information Sources

For more detailed information on treatment approaches for drug addiction and examples of specific programs proven effective through research, view NIDA’s Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide at