Seeking Drug Abuse Treatment (NIDA)

The goal of drug abuse treatment is to stop drug use and allow people to lead active lives in the family, workplace, and community. One continual challenge, however, is keeping patients in treatment long enough for them to achieve this goal. That is why finding the right treatment for a person’s specific needs is critical. Drug abuse treatment is not “one size fits all.” Treatment outcomes depend on the:

  • extent and nature of the person’s problems;
  • appropriateness of treatment;
  • availability of additional services; and
  • quality of interaction between the person and his or her treatment providers.

Family and friends can play important roles in motivating people with drug problems to enter and remain in treatment. However, trying to identify the right treatment programs for a loved one can be a difficult process. To help, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) created this brief guide containing five questions to ask when searching for a treatment program:

    1. Does the program use treatments backed by scientific evidence? Effective drug abuse treatments can include behavioral therapy, medications, or, ideally, their combination.
    2. Does the program tailor treatment to the needs of each patient? No single treatment is right for everyone. The best treatment addresses a person’s various needs, not just his or her drug abuse.
    3. Does the program adapt treatment as the patient’s needs change? Individual treatment and service plans must be assessed and modified as needed to meet changing needs.
    4. Is the duration of treatment sufficient? Remaining in treatment for the right period of time is critical.

How do 12-step or similar recovery programs fit into drug addiction treatment? Self-help groups can complement and extend the effects of professional treatment.

A publication from the National Institute on Drug Abuse


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