Substance abuse is often complex in nature and permeates every facet of an individual’s life. The individual’s personal health and functioning within the family unit suffers; obligations in the workplace and community suffer.
Substance Abuse Treatment
Substance abuse treatment consists of administering behavioral modification therapy to chemically-dependent individuals. Untreated addiction has potentially devastating consequences.
Consequences May Include:
- Higher incidence of property and violent crime
- Decreased productivity
- Child abuse and neglect
- Higher court costs
- Increased prison expenses
- Higher welfare and foster care costs
- Increased medical expenses
- Family and relationship problems
Successful addiction treatment lessens the societal costs resulting from drug abuse. Studies have shown that for each dollar invested in drug treatment programs, the cost of substance abuse-related crimes falls from $7 to $4. Comprehensive savings at some outpatient programs outweigh the costs by a 12-to-1 ratio.
Scientific surveys have consistently concluded that drug addiction treatment is effective in assisting addicts in avoiding relapse and modifying self-destructive patterns. Substance abuse treatment lowers the risk transmission negating the cost of treating infectious diseases such as hepatitis and HIV. By seeking addiction help, individuals can increase their prospects of being gainfully-employed post-treatment by as much as 40%.
Treatment allows individuals to end the cycle of self-destruction, carry on productive lives and achieve permanent abstinence. According to numerous studies, the majority of patients show considerable improvement after 3 months in drug treatment.
To ensure long-term recovery and successful integration into society, it is critical that the right substance abuse program be sought. It is important that the treatment setting and services correspond to the addict’s specific situation and needs. An effective drug abuse treatment program usually adheres to a number of key principles.
Key Principles include:
- No one treatment is suitable for all patients
- For effective treatment, it is necessary to tackle the multiple, underlying issues driving the patient’s substance abuse (i.e. legal, psychological, and medical problems)
- It is important to regularly evaluate a patient’s treatment plan to meet his or her needs
- Treatment effectiveness is relative to the length of a patient’s stay in treatment
- Behavioral therapies are essential elements of an effective drug addiction treatment
- In some situations, medication plays a central role in treatment, particularly when supplemented by behavioral therapies
- Drug treatment is not required to be voluntary (i.e. family enticements or sanctions (generally via drug intervention, criminal justice system)
- Patients must be monitored on a continual basis for drug use
Types of Treatment Programs Include:
Typically, a drug treatment center provides a variety of treatment programs.
The purpose of medical detox is to stabilize addicts by suppressing withdrawal symptoms through the use of medication under a physician’s care. Detox is an effective technique to avoid relapse in the beginning stages of substance abuse treatment. Drug therapy is available for detoxification from barbiturates, alcohol, opiates, benzodiazepine, mood stabilizers, anti-depressants, nicotine and other seditives.
To treat opiate addiction, some drug treatment centers administer effective and safe medications such as buprenorphine, naltrexone, Subutex and methadone. Medical professionals monitor dosages and counsel addicts dependent on heroin or other opiods. These medications diminish cravings, block opiate effects and assist in preventing relapse. Patients typically become more receptive to counseling and other forms of treatment after medical detoxification.
Behavioral treatments contribute to the effectiveness of drug therapy and enable addicts to modify their drug-related behavior. It also facilitates patients’ relationships with others and their functioning within the community and family unit. Behavioral therapy decreases the risk of contracting an infectious disease.
Common Behavioral Therapy Methods Include:
- Motivational interviewing, in which patients are guided towards goal-clarification and behavioral modification
- Relapse prevention
- Assertive Community Treatment (ACT)
- Intensive case management
- Repetition and skills building
- Contingency management
- Residential placement
- Modified therapeutic community, an approach characterized by diminished intensity, more customized treatment and greater flexibility
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy, which aims at changing self-defeating or negative behavior and thinking patterns
Outpatient Behavioral Treatment
There are many types of outpatient programs and most involve some form of group or individual counseling.
Common Types of Outpatient Programs Include:
- Residential rehabilitation programs that offer individual and group counseling sessions and lectures for a period ranging from seven to twenty-one days
- Therapeutic communities, which are residential programs that provide treatment lasting a period of 6 to 12 months and focus on personal responsibility and accountability as well as on skills for social integration, constructive communication, and productive living
- Extended care programs, which provide treatment exceeding 180 days
- Short-term residential programs, which follow the structure of a 12-step program and offer brief but intensive residential drug treatment
- Non-residential substance abuse programs which provide intensive treatment for three or four weeks
- Halfway homes, or residential programs that last three to six months and that help patients stay clean as well as develop vocational and integration skills