With the wide variety of drug addiction treatments available, a patient may find that they require different levels of care, or even different types of treatments altogether. This can be especially true for patients who have been treated for multiple addictions at one time. A patient should remember that there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to treatment for drug addiction.
Positive outcome evaluations of substance abuse treatment results are showing that both medication-based therapies and behavioral therapy techniques make the greatest difference in sustaining and establishing the long-term gains of effective treatment for addicts with various addictions. Medications can be used as stand-alone therapy, combined with counseling, or taken on their own. These medications work by increasing the patient’s access to his or her drug of choice. They also reduce the addict’s cravings and withdrawal symptoms. These medications have also been shown to significantly reduce the amount of new addictions that develop during the course of drug therapy. While these medications can bring a sense of relief from the physical, emotional, and psychological effects of drug abuse, they are not without their side effects.
Patients that opt for psychotherapy as their first treatment option typically experience a better rate of success than those who choose a medication-based approach. Psychotherapy is often accompanied by some form of cognitive behavior therapy. These two approaches can effectively address the underlying causes of the addiction, as well as the coping mechanisms that lead the addict into compulsive drug use. Both of these approaches can help the patient become more psychologically equipped to quit using drugs. When combined with medication-based therapies, the combination of behavioral therapy and psychotherapy has proven to be the most effective treatment method available. Psychotherapy may focus on educating the patient on the emotional factors that lead him or her to abuse drugs. Medication-based therapies include counseling, hypnotherapy, exercise training, social skills training, or a combination of all three to help address the physical and emotional addiction in addition to the psychological addiction.