Options for Drug Addiction

Treatment Options for Drug Addiction: Types, Approaches, and Efficacy

Drug addiction or substance use disorder is a mental illness which affects normal brain functioning and alters a person’s behavior, leading to a complete or partial loss of self-control when it comes to using illegal drugs.

Drug addiction is a grave problem that requires professional treatment. According to NCDAS, 5.2 million young adults and 15.1 million adults in the United State are in need of drug addiction treatment, whereas, only 1.4 to 1.6 percent actually do receive it.

Drug addiction has varying detrimental effects on a person’s health and psychology, for example, it produces dependence, drowsiness, and behavioral issues that can impact the addict’s social life.

Drugs affect our thought process and tricks us into believing that you consuming more of it will solve our problems. In severe cases, an overdose from drug dependencies often results in cardiac arrest, coma, or even death. Therefore, treatment for drug addiction is of utmost importance.

Thankfully, substance use disorder is a treatable disorder. Simple and effective therapies, treatments, and small lifestyle changes can help drug addicts gain sobriety and a healthy life.

If you are on the lookout for some treatment options for the same, then read on below to know about all options at your disposal:

  1. Gather information:

After accepting the fact that you have a problem with addiction, you should first explore your treatment options. Don’t think of recovery as a straight road to sobriety. You will likely face a lot of twists and turns along the way.

The more you know about your condition, the better and smoother your recovery can be. For this, you can consult an Addiction Guide that is going to help you explore all the options, the pros and cons of each, and which style treatment is effective for what kind of addiction.

Guides like these are a life-saver when it comes to grave and consequential problems like addiction. They also equip the addict and their loved ones with enough information to finally make an informed decision about committing to one treatment.

Therefore, research as much you can about the possible solutions to your own specific problems, instead of relying on generalized information that might not work for you.

  1. Detoxification:

Detoxification is purging of residual drugs, alcohol, and the toxic effects of dependence. It has three main goals:

  • It offers relatively safer recovery from drug and alcohol withdrawal
  • The recovery method used maintains the patient’s dignity
  • It prepares the patient for ongoing treatment and dependence

According to a study in NIH, out of 557 patients, 46 percent of patients completed one-year outpatient detoxification treatment. Therefore, detoxification is a safe and effective therapeutic approach.

However, detoxification alone is not sufficient, and medications plus therapies continued along with it are the preferred treatment strategies.

  1. Medication-assisted treatment:

Medications also play a crucial role in treating drug addiction. According to the NIH, it can prevent relapse, treat withdrawals, and co-occurring diseases, i.e., anxiety or depression. One study published in SAMSHA claims that 80 percent of detoxification methods use medications: For example, methadone and naltrexone cure  addiction.

The US Food and Drug Administration has approved Zyban and Chantix for nicotine addiction and Acamprosate for alcohol addiction. Similarly, MAT is an effective way to cure addiction and mental illnesses. If the treatment costs are way too high, find one that can be covered with insurance.

  1. Behavioral therapies:

Behavioral therapies should go hand in glove with medication-assisted treatment. These therapies focus on an individual’s mental health, behavior, and addiction patterns. Several behavioral therapies help patients quit drug addiction and produce in them positive coping mechanisms and life skills.

Biofeedback therapy is a drug-free therapy that psychologists conduct to measure brain wave patterns by connecting electronic sensors to the patient’s skin. The nature of these brain wave patterns will help professionals determine the root cause of their addiction and tailor a specific psychological therapy for the patient.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy especially helps with addiction relapse. It assists people in avoiding falling into the same thinking or behavioral patterns and learning to cope with the situations in which they are extremely likely to use drugs.

It is used to treat various other addictions like food, alcohol, and prescription drug addiction. Cognitive Behavior Therapy can also treat any mental illness, for example, bipolar disorder. According to NCBI, CBT is very effective both when administered standalone or combined with medication treatment in alcohol and drug use disorders.

Motivational enhancement therapy is used to make patients differentiate the negative thoughts and behavior patterns that trigger their substance use disorder. It also treats other mental illnesses, for example, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Holistic therapy focuses on the overall health of the addict and specifically treats the withdrawal symptoms. The options here include: yoga, art therapy, acupuncture, and meditation techniques.

These therapies cure a wide variety of addictions and help individuals understand what triggers their addiction, and how they can manage it.

  1. 12-step program:

Alcoholics Anonymous introduced group therapies for addiction treatment. All in all, there are 12-weekly sessions that the addict has to participate in. The program helps people realize the negative effects of addiction on their wellbeing and prepares them to cope with the substance use disorder by following the twelve steps that revolve around these three themes, i.e., acceptance, surrender, and active involvement in the recovery process.

The American Society of Addiction Medicine states that approximately 10 percent of people who become part of the 12-step process enjoy long-term recovery.

  1. Rehabilitation centers:

Short-term and long-term inpatient programs are effective at curing substance use disorders and assisting individuals with maintaining their social, work, and family relationships. Licensed facilities that provide safe housing and keep addicts under constant and trained supervision are the best option for those with more severe addiction cases.

Short-term resident programs provide counseling and detoxification treatments. Long-term resident programs provide a treatment that spans 6-12 months in rehab with trained staff and other recovering addicts.

Recovery housing is another short-term resident program that assists people struggling with drug addiction. It helps them perform day-to-day tasks and adapt to an independent life without drug dependence.

The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities is a non-profit organization that offers accreditation of rehabilitation services.


The treatment options for drug addiction are unique to every individual and addiction type. Treatment options should provide care, mental and physical help in coping with withdrawals, and safe housing facilities. The treatment options discussed above should help you in your recovery, so that you can finally live a more independent life.

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