Drug Abuse Treatment

Drug addiction is a chronic, progressive brain disease. It is characterized by the compulsive pursuit of drugs in spite of negative consequences. Like other diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, and asthma, drug addiction can’t be cured. It can, however, be successfully managed.

Depending on the type of drug abuse, drug history, previous treatment attempts, home environment, and other factors, individuals may benefit from either outpatient or residential drug abuse treatment. With residential treatment, the person must move into the center and stay there full-time, usually for a few months. With day-only centers (i.e. outpatient), the patient attends treatment in the daytime, but sleeps at home.

Not all drug addiction treatment programs are the same, though. Some offer gender-specific programs, while others are co-ed. Some treat only drug addicts, while others offer programs for alcoholism, eating disorders, gambling, and other addictions. Geography can also make a difference. If the center is in a resort area or near a beach, the outdoor activities will be different than if it is near a city.

Regardless of all these factors, most effective drug abuse treatment programs are built around similar goals. Their main focus is to provide addicted individuals with the skills and strategies that they need to achieve and maintain healthy lifestyles. The main components of drug abuse treatment are individual and group therapy, classes and lectures, group support meetings, alternative therapies, family and/or marriage counseling, and follow-up care.

Those looking for a drug abuse treatment program should identify those that are adequately licensed and government supervised. Staff members should be professionals with proper credentials and advanced degrees in drug addiction treatment. From the time the patient arrives for treatment, the center should provide all the necessary resources to begin a healthy new lifestyle. Feeling good physically is a big step in drug abuse treatment.

Residential treatment centers usually have more successful outcomes, because the patient is living away from his or her drug suppliers and drug-using friends. It’s easier to make a fresh start. Patients can also get a head start toward a healthy lifestyle because the center will have regular times for nutritious meals, sleep, recreation, relaxation, exercise, and classes. Government studies from the National Institutes of Health conclude that people who stay several months in residential drug abuse treatment, and at least a year in aftercare treatment at home, have better outcomes and are more likely to maintain drug-free lifestyles.

Research also shows that the longer an individual stays in drug abuse treatment, the greater their chances of long-term addiction recovery. After completing the program, individuals may benefit from step-down levels of management such as sober living environments, outpatient care, ongoing therapy, or support groups.

Relapse is not inevitable, but it is a common part of the disease of addiction. Most experts agree that relapse is not a sign of failure, but an indication that the individual needs additional drug abuse treatment or adjustments to their relapse prevention plan. For many people, relapse brings them one step closer to long-term addiction recovery.