Is Drug Addiction Treatment Effective?

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The goal of drug addiction treatment is to stop someone from abusing drugs and to help someone return to being a proactive member of their family, workplace, and community.

Most people who use rehab treatment, and continue to remain in treatment following rehab keep off drugs, decrease any criminal activity they might have partook in, and improve their overall quality of life. However, the outcome does depend on the extent of the addiction, and the appropriateness of the treatment given to them.

What does drug addiction treatment entail?

For many individuals, drug treatment is a very long-term process that involves multiple check-ins and modification.

There are a few different approaches that can be followed. These can include therapy to deal with how they behave, medication, or a combination of both. The type of combination depends on the patient’s needs and the type of addiction that they have.

Medication helps the body rid itself of physical addiction whilst behavioural therapy helps people remain motivated to combat cravings and prevent relapse. The therapy sessions are also there to help individuals cope if they do relapse.

Most treatments use a combination of individual and group therapy sessions. Group sessions can help to provide social support and reinforcement – motivating each other to stay motivated and keep on track to the lifestyle they are striving for.

Relapse rates for addiction diseases are very similar to other diseases like diabetes, asthma, and hypertension. 

And, just like other diseases, addiction can be carefully watched and managed successfully. Treatment can help someone counteract the addiction consuming their brain and behaviour, and take back control of their lives. The chronic nature of addiction also means that relapsing is likely, with recurrence rates similar to that of other chronic diseases.

Does a relapse mean that treatment has failed?

When relapse occurs, it does not mean that the efforts and the treatment have failed. Successful treatment for a drug, alcohol, or behavioural addiction does require continuous efforts, modified along the way, just as other diseases would.

For example, when someone is receiving treatment for hypertension and their symptoms begin to fade – treatment is always thought of as a success – even if the symptoms come back once the treatment stops.

For individuals who are addicted to a substance, a relapse does not indicate a failure. It rather is just a signal that the treatment needs to be altered slightly or modified to something better suited at that time.

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