Drug Abuse Guide Offers Principles of Effective Treatment

Drug Abuse Guide Offers Principles of Effective Treatment

Drug Abuse Guide Offers Principles of Effective Treatment

Drug Abuse Guide Offers Principles of Effective TreatmentWondering whether a loved one is addicted to a drug? The National Institute on Drug Abuse has developed Principles for Effective Treatment, a guide that provides patients, family members, and health care providers with information about addiction.

The guide discusses what addiction is, how it can be treated and the various consequences and implications of living with an addiction. It also details how addiction can permanently change the brain’s structure and function, resulting in a high risk for relapse.

There are various forms of treatment available, including outpatient and residential programs, but no single treatment is right for everyone. The treatment needs to be tailored according to the type of addiction and the needs of the patient. In addition, the treatment needs to be available immediately, so that a patient seeking help will not be deterred.

Treatment centers are increasingly incorporating care for the whole person, with attention to psychological, medical and other elements. The treatment must also be tailored to fit the patient’s age, gender and other factors.

The guide cautions that a person must remain in treatment for the appropriate amount of time for their problems and needs to be addressed. Research supports a minimum timeframe of three months to significantly reduce or cease drug use. Longer periods of treatment are associated with better outcomes. In some cases, the patient may need multiple episodes of treatment to fully recover.

Many treatment strategies are built on a foundation of behavioral therapy, which may include group, individual or family counseling. Therapy often focuses on helping patients build emotional tools to avoid using drugs, identify new activities to replace drug-related behaviors and improve problem-solving skills. Maintaining participation in group therapy is helpful in preventing relapse.

Medications are another component to drug abuse treatment and are especially effective when they augment treatment that includes counseling and behavioral therapies. Effective treatment plans will be regularly reviewed and modified to reflect the needs of the patient. Each patient may require a variation of services and treatment over the course of their recovery period. The patient may also require a varying level of intensity in the treatment options offered as they progress through the program.

The principles also encourage the reader to consider that drug addiction often occurs in combination with other mental disorders. There is a high occurrence of depression, for instance, among those with substance use disorders. When a co-occurring mental disorder is identified, the patient should be treated for addiction and for the mental disorder together.

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