How Can Drug Abuse Be Treated?

The problems caused by drug abuse, affect not just the user but society as a whole. The costs to communities and families are high and there is even an impact on crime levels and other social factors. The goal of drug addiction treatment is to help drug users to achieve long term abstinence and to improve their ability to function in society.

The Basics Of Effective Treatment

Treatment for drug abuse can help addicts to change destructive behaviors and avoid relapse. For many it is a long process to remove themselves from a life time of abuse and addiction. The process of recovery is a long term one and requires multiple treatments and a multi faceted approach.

The following principles provide the foundations for a good treatment program:

- There is no single treatment that is suitable for all individuals

- Treatment should address multiple needs and not just the addiction problem

- Treatment needs to continue for an adequate period of time in order to be effective

- Treatment does not have to be voluntary at the beginning in order to work

- Counseling is a vital component of successful treatment for addiction

- For some types of drug abuse, medication is a necessary part of treatment

What Are The Different Methods Of Treatment For Drug Abuse?

There are many different approaches to the treatment of drug addiction although they often begin with detoxification which is then followed by the treatment. Each patient needs a care regime that is customized to their individual needs. Follow up programs are an integral part of treatment and recovery support systems can be crucial to the success of a person's drug free future.


Withdrawal and treatment - medications can be used to help suppress the withdrawal symptoms during detoxification. This is not a treatment in itself, rather assistance in the first step towards recovery. Medication can also be helpful in re-establishing normal brain function. Medication can help reduce cravings and this helps to prevent relapse. There are not medications available for all types of drug addiction. Currently there are medications for heroin, morphine and nicotine addiction. Others are being developed.

Behavioral Treatment

Behavioral treatment is a crucial component in drug addiction recovery as it helps patients get involved in their own treatment process. Behavioral therapy encourages patients to modify their attitudes and behaviors. Often individual or group drug counseling sessions are involved. Cognitive behavioral therapy is also a popular tool as it helps patients to recognize, avoid and cope with the situations that for them are triggers for drug abuse.

Residential Treatment Programs

Particularly for those with more severe problems, residential treatment programs can be very effective. These therapeutic communities are very structured and many patients remain there for between 6-12 months. When seeking help at a drug abuse treatment center, a patient or the patient's family may choose which type of treatment approach would work best for them.

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