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Is Drug Addiction Treatment Effective

Community Reinforcement And Family Training

Understanding addiction to support recovery (:60)

Denial is a common theme among those suffering from addiction. If someone is regularly abusing alcohol, prescription drugs, or illicit substances, denial might have them convinced that there is no problem or that any problems are only the …


Learn How Effective Drug Addiction Treatment Is

John C. Umhau, MD, MPH, CPE is board-certified in addiction medicine and preventative medicine. He is the medical director at Alcohol Recovery Medicine. For over 20 years Dr. Umhau was a senior clinical investigator at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health .

Aaron Johnson is a fact checker and expert on qualitative research design and methodology.

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The primary goal of drug addiction treatment is to help a person with addiction stop using their drug of choice. Once this occurs, treatment transitions into helping these individuals remain drug-free by taking the steps needed to prevent a relapse.

But how effective is drug addiction treatment for achieving these goals? The answer to this question depends, in part, on how effectiveness is measured.

If you or a loved one are struggling with substance use or addiction, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.

For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.

Training Authorization And Coordinated Care

Even though most physicians in America can prescribe powerful and dangerous opioid painkillers with few restrictions, doctors must become specially certified in order to prescribe addiction medications.

There are many restrictions on where medications can be offered and who can administer them. And due to these restrictions, many clinicians and facilities have limited capacity for the number of patients they can accept at one time. In many communities, only some medications are available, which limits patients options.

Doctors and patients have to jump through countless administrative hoops.

Some clinicians refuse to administer medicationseven when they are authorized to do sobecause of personal beliefs, the lack of coordinated care with mental health professionals , the additional time commitment required, and the potential threat of raids by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the FBI.

Whats more, its hard to access medications even within traditional addiction treatment centers. Few inpatient treatment facilities offer all three FDA-approved medications for opioid use disorder. While the American Society of Addiction Medicine has defined detailed standards of care, there is no established national accreditation program for treatment facilities in the U.S.

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Intervention For Drug And Alcohol Addiction

In 2020, nearly 60% of the U.S. population aged 12 or older were estimated to have been currently using tobacco, alcohol, or other drugs. 1 There are many reasons that someone may feel the need to use substances. Some of these reasons may include an …

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What Can Improve The Achievement Rate Of Addiction Treatment

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Successful treatment requires a multi-pronged approach that treats the patient as a whole. Typically, a program should start with a high level of care before transitioning to lower, less intense treatment.

Success depends on the length of treatment. Treatment for less than 90 days is likely to be less effective.

The following are essential aspects of successful addiction treatment:

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Origins Of Drug And Alcohol Rehab

Dr. Bachaar Arnaout is a psychiatry professor at the Yale School of Medicine. He contributed a comprehensive analysis of rehab to WBUR, NPRs local station in Boston. It assessed whether or not the conventional model of drug and alcohol rehab actually works. He pointed out that the conventional model dates back to the 1950s, starting with Alcoholics Anonymous.

The model in question sends people away for several weeks of therapy in a controlled environment. It then follows up, if possible, with outpatient therapy too. In the broadest possible sense, Landmark Recovery provides its services within this same framework. According to Arnaout, well-controlled trials have produced lackluster results for demonstrating that this framework is measurably successful.

The models been in use for about 70 years. Throughout this time, decades worth of data has been collected. The rub is that inpatient treatments superiority to outpatient treatment hasnt been conclusively demonstrated. Its not superior enough, in other words, to bank on it from Arnaouts perspective. He bases this on the inconsistent and diminutive effects of treatment setting. Plus, those effects diminish over time, he said. Part of the problem, Arnaout contends, is that the contemporary model was designed to treat alcoholism specifically. This, he argues, may not translate well to the unique addiction treatment needs of other substances.

Principles Of Effective Drug Addiction Treatment

Research done by the National Institute on Drug Abuse has produced a set of core principles that define effective drug abuse treatment.

Here are 13 principles of effective drug addiction treatment:

  • No single treatment is appropriate for all individuals:
  • It is vital to match therapy settings, methods, and services with the issues and requirements of each patient.
  • Treatment needs to be readily available:
  • Therapy should be available immediately or else the applicants will be lost.
  • Effective treatment attends to multiple needs of the person:
  • Treatment must address the individual’s drug use and physical, psychological, social, occupational, and legal issues that have arisen as a result of it.
  • Treatment needs to be flexible:
  • Treatment must be adaptable and give continual evaluations of patient requirements, which may vary during treatment.
  • Remaining in treatment for an adequate period is critical for treatment effectiveness:
  • Time is determined by the needs of the person. The threshold of meaningful improvement is attained for the majority of patients after about three months of therapy.
  • Programs should include attempts to keep patients from discontinuing therapy too soon.
  • Individual and/or group counseling and other behavioral therapies are critical components of effective treatment of addiction:
  • Interpersonal interactions are improved through behavioral treatment.
  • Medications are an important element of treatment for many patients:
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    Identifying Drug Use And Problem Behavior

    One of the hardest goals is also one of the most important, knowing what to look for when you have concerns about someones drug use. Being able to help a friend or loved one identify and overcome their addiction all starts by knowing theres a problem.

    Some ways to spot repeated drug use is through changes in their behavior. Users often begin to self-isolate and push everyone away that isnt related to their forming habit. Those suffering from full drug addiction may not be seen outside of settings where drugs are involved as their life becomes centered around them. Were available for free and confidential consultations to discuss any concerns you may have.

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    Many People Believe Rehab Success Means Total Sobriety However Rehab Success Is Measured Through Much More Than Just Abstinence From Drugs And Alcohol

    Why aren’t we using the most effective addiction treatments? | Chase Holleman | TEDxGreensboro

    Contrary to what some people may believe, addiction treatment does not mean someone is cured from a substance use disorder. Recovery is a lifelong journey that can include some missteps, but the ultimate goal is to overcome addiction and lead a healthy, productive life. As such, success isnt measured by the end of substance use. Instead, its measured by marked improvements in many areas of life.

    Article at a Glance:

    • Successful rehabilitation means a variety of things, but relapse does not mean failure.
    • Certain factors, such as treatment type and length of treatment, can increase your chances of success.
    • Some substances may be more challenging to recover from than others.
    • There are many questions to ask before choosing a rehab facility.

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    How Can You Determine Whether Drug Rehab Is Effective

    After you complete your drug rehab program, how is your success rate of rehabilitation determined? How can you tell whether treatment was effective?

    Achieving long-term abstinence from drug and alcohol addiction requires you to make a series of changes that support a sober, healthy lifestyle. Staying sober is just one way you can determine whether drug rehab was successful.

    Short Term Goals In Addiction Recovery

    An ancient Chinese proverb says, the man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones. When a person coming out of active addiction looks at the task ahead of him or her it can be very daunting. But finding the small stones, or the immediate or short term goals, makes the journey seem less intimidating. These are 6 examples of immediate and short-term goals to set after drug rehab: Discard all of your drug or alcohol-related items. Maybe you had a few flasks or bottles hidden in your home, your car, or even the desk draw of your office. Perhaps you had needles, spoons, ties, lighters even empty pill bottles littered in coat pockets, purses, or cabinets. All of these serve as reminders of your past preventing you from looking forward and focusing on your goals. No matter how strong you may feel at this moment, these items can be triggers in weaker moments, and will remind you of what you brain may be craving. Delete your dealers contact info. Even though you may be fresh out of drug addiction rehab, people you once smoked or used with are still out there and theyre still using. Theyre in your stored contact numbers and your text messages, just waiting for you to answer. Delete, block and distance yourself even if it means getting a new phone and a new number.

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    What Is A Substance Use Disorder

    Substance use disorder is a complex condition in which there is uncontrolled use of a substance despite harmful consequences. People with SUD have an intense focus on using a certain substance such as alcohol, tobacco, or illicit drugs, to the point where the person’s ability to function in day-to-day life becomes impaired. People keep using the substance even when they know it is causing or will cause problems. The most severe SUDs are sometimes called addictions.

    People with a substance use disorder may have distorted thinking and behaviors. Changes in the brain’s structure and function are what cause people to have intense cravings, changes in personality, abnormal movements, and other behaviors. Brain imaging studies show changes in the areas of the brain that relate to judgment, decision making, learning, memory, and behavioral control.

    People can develop an addiction to:

    • PCP, LSD and other hallucinogens
    • Inhalants, such as, paint thinners and glue
    • Opioid pain killers, such as codeine and oxycodone, heroin
    • Sedatives, hypnotics and anxiolytics
    • Cocaine, methamphetamine and other stimulants

    When someone has a substance use disorder, they usually build up a tolerance to the substance, meaning they need larger amounts to feel the effects.

    According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, people begin taking drugs for a variety of reasons, including:

    In addition to substances, people can also develop addiction to behaviors, such as gambling .

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    The Involvement Of Other People

    Treating Drug Addiction With Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

    It is important to involve others in treatment programs, encourage positive behavior changes, and share fun activities with individuals during recovery. Most drug addiction treatment plans involve meetings with counselors or other trusted people. In some cases, these meetings also help the loved ones who are suffering from a loved ones drug abuse problems. The treatment program you participate in must have support groups and family education as part of its drug addiction treatment plan.

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    Alcohol Treatment And Success Rates

    Recent research estimated that in the first year after treatment, one in four clients maintained their sobriety . The remainder of clients who had finished alcohol treatment averaged three days out of four sober and reduced their overall alcohol use by 87%.

    Many people with alcohol addictions also use 12-step support programs like Alcoholics Anonymous for support. One study found that people who attended 12-step meetings rose from an average of 20% of days sober to 80% of days sober after one year, while 19% did not drink at all. Another study found that 67% of people who attended 27 weeks of AA were sober after 16 years, while only 34% of people who did not go to AA were sober.

    Addiction To Central Nervous System Depressants

    CNS depressants are a class of drugs that slow down the activity of the brain and nervous system. Sedatives and hypnotics are categorized as CNS depressants and are usually prescribed for treating symptoms of anxiety, panic attacks, stress, and sleep disorders such as insomnia. They include benzodiazepines and barbiturates .

    These depressants have a calming effect and in most cases can cause drowsiness. An overdose of CNS depressants usually occurs when these drugs are used in combination with opioids or alcohol.

    Currently, the National Institute on Drug Use does not have a comprehensive recommendation of medications to use for treating addiction to CNS depressants. In some cases, addiction to depressants can be treated with a medication called flumazenil.

    Flumazenil is a short-acting medication that can reverse the effects of benzodiazepines. It is given as an injection and it works quickly to reduce the persons dependence on benzodiazepines.

    It is recommended that in cases of overdose, immediate and supervised detoxification must be done to reduce withdrawal symptoms. Aside from medication, behavioral therapies play a huge role in treating addiction to CNS depressants.

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    Substance Abuse Withdrawal Treatment Goals

    First, the patient must exhibit an absence or reduction of withdrawal symptoms to the point of no longer needing intensive medical management. Closely related is goal two medical issues should be under control such that medical monitoring is no longer necessary or can be handled somewhere other than an inpatient medical facility. In addition, the patient should obtain a primary care physician, identify any unresolved medical or dental issues that had been neglected during the period of addiction, and develop a plan for maintaining health and wellness going forward.

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    Access To A Range Of Counselling

    The Way to Save Opioid Addicts | Moving Upstream

    Generally individual, group and family therapy are all part of treatment. Group therapy is most frequently used. Various behavioral therapies may be used such as cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, contingency management and motivational interviewing. These therapies address the underlying reasons that people use substances to cope with life and help them develop effective coping skills. Since this involves not just stopping old habits but developing new habits, it takes time. Counselling and Medication Assisted Treatment are the two core components to treatment.

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    Who Is At Risk For Substance Use Disorder

    Anyone can develop a substance use disorder. No one thing can predict whether a person may develop an addiction. You may be more prone to drug use due to:

    • Biology: The persons genetic makeup, gender, ethnicity and mental health issues may raise his or her risk for developing an addiction. About two-thirds of people in addiction treatment are men. Particular ethnicities are at higher risk for substance use disorder. This is true for Native Americans.
    • Environment: Surroundings can affect the likelihood of developing substance use disorder. For example, stress, peer pressure, physical or sexual abuse and early exposure to drugs can raise the risk.
    • Age: Teenagers who start taking drugs are especially at risk. The parts of the brain that control judgment, decisions and self-control are not fully developed. Teens are more likely to engage in risky behaviors. In a developing brain, drugs can cause changes that make addiction more likely.

    Relapse Does Not Mean Failure

    Relapse is an incredibly common part of recovery, and its important to understand that returning to substance use does not mean treatment or recovery has failed. Recovery is a journey of reaching new goals, maintaining long-term sobriety and approaching life with new, healthier strategies. A misstep does not mean all the hard work was for nothing.

    Relapse is also common in other chronic diseases, including diabetes and hypertension. And like treatment for these other conditions, addiction treatment may involve medication, ongoing maintenance and checkups, lifestyle changes and learning new ways of thinking. Relapse does not mean failure instead, it means it is time to try a new treatment or adjust the current treatment approach.

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    Addiction To Central Nervous System Stimulants

    CNS stimulants are a class of drugs that increase brain activity. These drugs have the opposite effect as depressants. They are usually prescribed to treat conditions such as narcolepsy or excessive sleepiness, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder , and depression. Some examples of CNS stimulants are amphetamines and methylphenidate .

    CNS stimulants work by increasing the level of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood and pleasure. When used correctly, CNS stimulants can be safe and effective. However, these drugs can be easily misused because they can cause feelings of euphoria. The most abused stimulants include methamphetamine and cocaine .

    As with CNS depressants, the National Institute on Drug Use currently does not have a comprehensive recommendation of medications to prescribe for addiction to CNS stimulants. However, research is ongoing to find an appropriate medication that can help with drug addiction.

    Currently, the most common way to treat addiction to CNS stimulants is through detoxification and behavioral therapies. Medication may also be prescribed to help manage withdrawal symptoms.

    Which Outpatient Treatments Work Best

    Online Counseling Be Effective for Drug and Alcohol Addiction Problems ...

    Addiction treatment centers will develop individualized outpatient programs for each individual patient to ensure the highest possible drug rehab success rate.

    The treatments that may work best for you will depend on factors such as the type of substances being used, the amount of substances used, the length of time you were using those substances, and whether you have any co-occurring mental illnesses or health conditions.

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