Questions To Ask When Seeking Treatment

Drug addiction according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse is a chronic, often relapsing brain disease that causes compulsive drug craving and use, in spite of the destructive consequences to the individual and those around him/her. The goal of seeking drug treatment is to put a stop to compulsive drug use so that individuals can lead active lives in their family, workplace and communities. However, one essential challenge is how to make individuals stay in treatment long enough for them to achieve sobriety and regain control of their lives. For this reason, finding the right treatment for an individual becomes essential.

There is no particular treatment for drug abuse that works for every individual addict. Treatments are usually based on the history and intensity of the individual’s problems; appropriateness of treatment; additional services available; and the quality of collaboration between the client and the care giver. Identifying the right treatment program can sometimes be difficult. It is for this reason that the following questions have been provided to serve as apt guidelines for individuals seeking for the right treatment option.

Does the program utilize treatment backed by scientific evidence?

Effective drug abuse treatment according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse can include behavioural therapy, medication, or a combination of both. Behavioural therapies vary in emphasis and sometimes may likely include:

 Tackling individual’s motivation to change
 Providing individuals with incentives to stop using drugs
 Helping individuals build skills to resist drug use
 Teaching individuals constructive and rewarding activities and how they can use them to replace drug using activities
 Improving problem solving skills
 Building the individual’s capacity to maintain better relationships

Examples of behavioural therapies

Cognitive behavioural therapy

This seeks to assist individuals identify, evade and handle situations they are most likely to use drugs

Motivational incentives

Motivational incentives make use of positive reinforcements such as rewarding individuals for remaining sober for various durations or for attending a treatment program.

Motivational interviewing

This involves the use of strategies to foster fast, self-driven behavioural change to stop drug use and also to help an individual enter treatment.

Group therapy

In group therapy, individuals realistically come to terms with the harmful effects of drug abuse. It also seeks to boost their motivation to stay free. Individuals usually learn to solve some emotional and personal challenges without recourse to drugs. Medication is another important part of treatment for addicted individuals. It becomes more potent when combined with behavioural therapy. According to NIDA, different types of medications may be used at different stages of treatment, from stopping drug abuse, to staying in treatment and avoiding relapse.

Does the program design treatment to suit the needs of individual clients?

As earlier stated there is not a single treatment right for everyone. Usually, the best treatments are the ones that adapt to a person’s specific needs, apart from his or her drug disorder.

Combining treatment environment, programs and services to meet an individual’s particular problem is essential to his or her regaining sobriety. It is very important that the program approach to treatment be large in scope, taking into consideration factors like age, gender, ethnicity and culture. The best programs always present a combination of therapies and other services to meet the need of the addicted individual. in addition to treating the individual of drug disorder, individuals may also need medical care, family therapy, parenting support, job training as well as social and legal services among other things. Since drug disorder occurs along with other mental disorder, an individual with either of these conditions should be evaluated for the other. Where they both occur, treatment should be tailored appropriately.

Does the program adapt treatment to the changing needs of the individual?

According to NIDA, individual treatment and service plans must be assessed and modified as needed to meet changing needs. An individual in the course of being treated for drug disorder my need different combinations of services in addition to on-going assessment. For example, a treatment program should have drug monitoring to enable the adjustment of treatment when it becomes necessary, especially if relapse occur.

Is the duration of the treatment enough?

Staying in treatment for the appropriate period of time is essential. The right period of time in treatment varies. This depends largely on factors like the degree and intensity of a person’s needs. From research, it’s been discovered that most individuals with drug disorder require at least 3 months in treatment to regain sobriety. The idea here is that the longer the treatment duration, the better the outcome. Usually, the best treatment program take stock of the individual’s progress and recommend plans for sustaining recovery. Recovery from drug addiction needs several treatment episodes as well as family and social support. It is a long term process that requires time. Remember, drug addiction is a chronic disease, and like other chronic diseases, it is not unusual for the addicted individual to sometimes suffer a relapse and begin using drugs again. Relapse is not an indication of treatment failure, instead it signifies that treatment should be restored or re-adjusted or that a different sort of treatment is needed to assist the individual regain control and heal.

How are the 12 step or other treatment programs incorporated into addiction recovery?

Self-help groups according to NIDA can support and lengthen the aspects of expert care. Narcotics Anonymous (NC), Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), and Cocaine Anonymous (CA) are the most popular programs that are created through a 12 step design. The self-help therapy group provides social support and peer discussions to help sustain and promote lives that are free of substance abuse. The camaraderie that develops among group members provides the support they require to move on. Lots of addiction programs urge their clients to join and participate in such group therapies throughout and following professional treatment. They come with the advantage of having added layers of communal support to assist people with abstinence as they promote a healthy lifestyle.