Drug addiction is a problem that plagues many people in the United States and around the world. It can destroy relationships, careers, and physical and mental health leading to other chronic diseases. Thankfully, there are treatment programs available to help people overcome their addiction. But how effective is drug addiction treatment?

According to the United States National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), 40.3 million people had a substance use disorder in 2020. That’s more than 14% of the population! Substance abuse can lead to criminal activity, job loss, and physical and mental health problems. It’s no wonder that so many people are looking for good rehab facilities and treatment centers. In this blog post, we will discuss what treatment is used for addiction to drugs and how effective it is.

How Effective Is Drug Addiction Treatment?

Drug Rehab Facts and Statistics

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health conducted for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in 2020, 58.7% of people aged 12 and above have used substances including alcohol, tobacco, nicotine vapes, and illicit drugs.

Substance use disorders also increased to 40.3 million people or 14.5% of the population. Young adults with ages 18 to 25 years suffered the most from substance abuse, comprising 8.2 million of the total. The same survey notes that 28.3 million people had alcohol use disorder, while 18.4 million suffered from illicit drug use disorder.

The NIDA also presents statistics for overdose death rates. In 2020, approximately 92,000 individuals died from a drug-involved overdose, be it illicit drugs or prescription drugs.

In the same data presented, an estimated 68,000 people died from an opioid-related overdose in 2020. This was a sharp increase from around 46,000 overdose deaths just two years back in 2018.

For prescription opioids, the data shows approximately 16,000 individuals died from an overdose of prescription drugs including natural, semi-synthetic, and synthetic opioids such as methadone. These statistics only highlight the need for successful addiction treatment or recovery programs to address the growing number of people suffering from substance addiction. The National Institute on Drug Abuse is currently working to address this demand.

What is drug addiction treatment?

Drug addiction treatment is the process of medical and psychological care for people who have become dependent on drugs, leading to a substance use disorder. The goal of treatment is to help the person stop using the substance, manage withdrawal symptoms, stay drug-free, and make healthy and productive lifestyle choices.

There are different types of treatment available depending on the severity of the addiction. Treatment can be done in an outpatient or inpatient setting. It can also be done in residential treatment facilities or through partial hospitalization programs.

Outpatient treatment is less intense than inpatient treatment and allows the person to live at home while attending counseling and therapy sessions several times a week. This type of treatment includes group and individual therapy, support groups, and medication management. This treatment is recommended for people with a less severe addiction.

Inpatient treatment is a more intense form of treatment that requires the person to stay in a hospital or rehabilitation center for an extended period of time. This type of treatment is often used for people with severe addictions who need around-the-clock care and supervision. Inpatient treatment includes detoxification, individual and group therapy, family counseling, and medication management.

Residential treatment is similar to inpatient treatment but allows the person to live at the facility while receiving treatment. Residential treatment is recommended for people with a more severe addiction.

Treatment providers usually begin with detoxification, which is the process of ridding the body of harmful substances. This is followed by counseling and behavioral or family therapy to help the person address the underlying causes of their addiction. In some cases, medication may be prescribed to help with withdrawal symptoms or to reduce the risk of relapse.

The type of treatment that is right for a person depends on the severity of their addiction. Treatment should be tailored to the individual’s needs.

What makes a treatment a success?

Drug Addiction Treatment

How effective is drug addiction treatment? Treatment effectiveness will depend on several factors. Individual treatment outcomes vary; the factors that will determine the rehab success rates include the severity of the addiction, the type of drugs being used, the length of time the person has been using drugs, and their motivation to change.

Generally, treatment is most effective when it is tailored to the individual and their unique needs. Here are some ways to help boost the effectiveness of drug rehab programs.

Individualized Treatment or Recovery Program

The most successful drug and alcohol addiction program must be individualized and tailored to fit each person’s situation. It should take into account their age, gender, race, culture, and the severity of their addiction. Treatment centers should also be flexible and able to adapt to the person’s changing needs.

There is no standard plan that can help individuals seeking treatment. What works for one person may not work for another. Before beginning treatment, the medical professional must assess the severity of the person’s addiction and the commitment to stop the addiction. The assessment must include the person’s physical health as well as mental health symptoms that may have been caused by the addiction.

This assessment will help the treatment facility create a successful treatment program to address the alcohol and drug use of the individual. Rehab centers can recommend counseling or therapy sessions, addiction medicine, drug education, and other activities that are appropriate for the individual’s situation.

Length of Treatment

A study published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment found that people who participated in outpatient treatment were more likely to stay drug-free than those who did not receive any treatment. The study also found that rehab success rates increased in people who stayed in treatment for a longer period.

The length of stay helps in measuring treatment effectiveness. Whether the individual is in an inpatient or residential program or an intensive outpatient program, completing the treatment is an important factor that can determine the program’s success.

Support System

Treatment in these rehab facilities is also more effective if it is continuous and if the person has a strong support system. Generally, positive outcomes and low relapse rates are found in individuals who have strong support groups. The support system can include family and friends of the individual, support groups like narcotics anonymous or alcoholics anonymous, or even just regular visits to the individual’s therapist or counselor.

How are addiction treatment outcomes measured?

To answer the question of how effective drug addiction treatment is, there is no standard way to measure the outcome of the treatment, be it in intensive outpatient programs or inpatient treatment. This can vary depending on the treatment center or facility that the person enters.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, administering a personalized treatment program is more effective as compared to trying to prevent people from abusing drugs. Since drugs are now widespread and can be easily acquired, it will be difficult to focus on draconian tactics to stop addiction. If substance use can’t be prevented, the best way to help people who are already suffering from addiction is to create an effective program for addiction recovery.

Although medical professionals don’t follow just one standard to measure the effectiveness of the treatment, it is generally accepted that the improved capacity of the person to live a normal life is one measure of effectiveness. The goal is to help the person manage or stop the addiction and become a productive individual who can contribute to society.

Treatment should focus on the ultimate goal of stopping the addiction and helping the individual get on the road to addiction recovery. Milestones along the way are also important to track progress until drug dependence ceases. Another way to monitor the effectiveness of the treatment is by conducting a regular assessment of the person’s thoughts and feelings through therapy or counseling sessions.

What are the two main categories of drug addiction treatment?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, this type of treatment can be categorized into two – behavioral treatment and medication. Although these two categories can exist on their own, it is recommended to combine these types of treatment to build the most effective program for the person.

Behavioral Treatment or Therapy

Behavioral treatment focuses on the use of cognitive-behavioral therapy. The treatment focuses on the individual’s mental health. This includes an analysis of the person’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors associated with substance use and drug addiction.

In this type of psychotherapy, the medical professional or therapist teaches people how to identify negative behavior patterns and irrational thoughts. After identifying and recognizing these patterns, the goal is to change the individual’s negative thoughts and actions into rational and positive ones.

Behavioral therapies can help people learn how to avoid drugs, deal with cravings for substance use, and manage stress. The therapy aims to lower relapse rates through continuous support from a therapist or counselor. It can also help individuals develop coping skills and build or rebuild healthy relationships.

Medication Treatment

Medication treatment for drug addiction is a type of therapy that uses medication to help people stop using and abusing illicit and prescription drugs. It can also help reduce cravings and manage withdrawal symptoms.

Withdrawal symptoms from drug and alcohol use include shaking, sweating, nausea, and vomiting. These symptoms can be severe and sometimes deadly. Treatment with medication can help reduce these symptoms and make it easier for people to abstain from drugs.

Several different medications can be used in addiction treatment, depending on the person’s needs. Some of the most common medications used in drug addiction treatment include methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone.

Treatment Programs for Drug Addiction

Which substitute drug is used in heroin addiction treatment programs? What about addiction to prescription CNS depressants or stimulants? This section will tackle the different medications used for treatment programs, depending on the type of drug used.

Opioid Use Disorder (OUD)

Opioid use disorder (OUD) is the cause of the highest number of drug-related overdoses. Opioids include heroin and oxycontin (widely known as oxy). To treat OUD by medication, a program called Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) is often used.

Medication-assisted treatment has been proven to be an effective treatment for OUD. A study done in 2016 showed that people who underwent MAT had a significantly lower chance of relapsing than those who didn’t receive any treatment at all. The study also showed that MAT was associated with a decrease in criminal activity.

MAT is an evidence-based program that aims to use medications combined with behavioral therapies to treat drug addiction. This type of treatment is effective because it addresses the person’s physical and psychological needs.

Treatment using medication must be done under the supervision of a medical professional because of the risks involved in taking opioids. In MAT, the commonly used medications are as follows.

Methadone

Methadone is a long-acting synthetic opioid antagonist that is used to treat opioid addiction. It helps reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Methadone can be taken in pill form or it can be given as a shot. Methadone is available in clinics that are licensed and regulated by the government.

Buprenorphine

Buprenorphine is another medication used to treat opioid addiction. It is a partial opioid antagonist that also helps manage withdrawal symptoms. It is a widely used medication that is easily accessible and needs less supervision than methadone when administered. Buprenorphine can be taken in a pill or oral film form.

Naltrexone

Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist that blocks or reduces the euphoric effects of opioids. Due to its strong effects, naltrexone is usually prescribed at least seven days after the person’s last opioid use. This will help prevent severe withdrawal symptoms in people addicted to opioids. Naltrexone is a highly regulated medication because it can be easily misused. It is available in pill and injectable forms.

Addiction to Central Nervous System (CNS) Depressants

CNS depressants are a class of drugs that slow down the activity of the brain and nervous system. Sedatives and hypnotics are categorized as CNS depressants and are usually prescribed for treating symptoms of anxiety, panic attacks, stress, and sleep disorders such as insomnia. They include benzodiazepines (such as Xanax and Valium) and barbiturates (such as phenobarbital).

These depressants have a calming effect and in most cases can cause drowsiness. An overdose of CNS depressants usually occurs when these drugs are used in combination with opioids or alcohol.

Currently, the National Institute on Drug Use does not have a comprehensive recommendation of medications to use for treating addiction to CNS depressants. In some cases, addiction to depressants can be treated with a medication called flumazenil.

Flumazenil is a short-acting medication that can reverse the effects of benzodiazepines. It is given as an injection and it works quickly to reduce the person’s dependence on benzodiazepines.

It is recommended that in cases of overdose, immediate and supervised detoxification must be done to reduce withdrawal symptoms. Aside from medication, behavioral therapies play a huge role in treating addiction to CNS depressants.

Addiction to Central Nervous System (CNS) Stimulants

CNS stimulants are a class of drugs that increase brain activity. These drugs have the opposite effect as depressants. They are usually prescribed to treat conditions such as narcolepsy or excessive sleepiness, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and depression. Some examples of CNS stimulants are amphetamines (such as Adderall) and methylphenidate (such as Ritalin).

CNS stimulants work by increasing the level of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood and pleasure. When used correctly, CNS stimulants can be safe and effective. However, these drugs can be easily misused because they can cause feelings of euphoria. The most abused stimulants include methamphetamine (known as crystal meth) and cocaine (known as coke or blow).

As with CNS depressants, the National Institute on Drug Use currently does not have a comprehensive recommendation of medications to prescribe for addiction to CNS stimulants. However, research is ongoing to find an appropriate medication that can help with drug addiction.

Currently, the most common way to treat addiction to CNS stimulants is through detoxification and behavioral therapies. Medication may also be prescribed to help manage withdrawal symptoms.

Conclusion

Drug addiction treatment is a process that aims to help a person stop using drugs and live a drug-free life. Treatment usually involves medication, mental health services administration, behavioral therapies, and detoxification. All of these treatments have proven effective in recent years to address substance abuse problems related to drug and alcohol use, especially with the rise of opioid use disorder (OUD) as well as other types of substance abuse disorders.

How effective is drug addiction treatment? The National Institute on Drug Abuse has stated that administering a personalized treatment program is more effective as compared to the prevention of drug abuse. Although there is no single way to measure the outcome of addiction treatment, achieving the goal of reintegrating the person back into society to live a healthy life is a good sign of effectiveness.

There are many different types of drug addiction treatment available, and no one type of treatment is right for everyone. The most important part of treatment is the person’s commitment to recovery. With the right support, anyone can overcome addiction and lead a healthy and fulfilling life.

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