NIDA’s Drug Addiction Guidelines

The following guidelines are from the National Institute on Drug Addiction (NIDA) and can help ease your decision-making process when trying to find the correct drug or alcohol addiction treatment plan:

  1. No single addiction treatment is appropriate for all individuals. Matching treatment settings, interventions, and services to each addict’s particular problems and needs is critical to his or her lifelong sobriety.
  2. Addiction treatment needs to be readily available, because individuals who are addicted to drugs may be uncertain about entering treatment. Addicts taking advantage of opportunities when they are ready for addiction treatment is crucial. Individuals abusing certain substances can be lost if treatment is not immediately available or is not readily accessible.
  3. Effective drug and alcohol addiction treatment attends to multiple needs of the individual, not just his or her substance abuse. To be effective, the addict’s treatment must address the individual’s drug use and any associated medical, psychological, social, vocational, or legal problems.
  4. An individual’s addiction treatment and services plan must be assessed continually and modified as necessary to ensure that the plan meets the person’s changing needs. An addiction treatment patient may require varying combinations of services and addiction treatment components during the course of treatment and recovery. In addition to therapeutic counseling or psychotherapy, a patient at times may require anti-addiction medication, other medical services, family therapy, parenting instruction, vocational rehabilitation, and social and legal services. It is critical that the addiction treatment approach be appropriate to the addict’s age, gender, ethnicity, and culture.
  5. Remaining in drug or alcohol addiction treatment for an adequate period of time is critical for sobriety. The appropriate duration for an individual depends on his or her addiction problems and needs. Research indicates that for most addicts, the threshold of significant improvement is reached at about 3 months in substance abuse treatment. After this threshold is reached, additional treatment can produce further progress toward sobriety. Because people often leave drug or alcohol addiction treatment prematurely, programs should include strategies to engage and keep patients in treatment.
  6. Addiction counseling (individual and/or group) and other behavioral therapies are critical components of effective treatment for addiction. In drug addiction therapy, patients address issues of motivation, build skills to resist drug use, replace drug-using activities with constructive and rewarding nondrug-using activities, and improve problem-solving abilities. Behavioral therapy also facilitates interpersonal relationships and the addiction patient’s ability to function in the family and community.
  7. Anti-addiction medications are an important element of addiction treatment for many patients, especially when combined with counseling, other behavioral therapies, and other 12-step programs. For example, for opiate addiction (heroin and prescription pain medication), Suboxone (buprenorphine) and Methadone, when used appropriately, can be very effective in helping addicts. Naltrexone is also an effective anti-addiction medication for some opiate addicts and some patients with co-occurring alcoholism. For alcohol addiction (alcoholism) Vivitrol (long acting naltrexone), Campral and Prometa Treatment programs can create a significantly higher chance of successful, long-term sobriety. For nicotine addiction, a nicotine replacement product (such as nicotine patches or gum) or an oral medication (such as bupropion) can be an effective component of nicotine addiction treatment. For patients with mental disorders, both behavioral treatments and medications can be critically important as well, when used properly with anti-addiction medications.
  8. Dual Diagnosis – Individuals with with drug or alcohol addiction along with coexisting mental disorders (i.e. depression, anxiety) should have both sets of disorders (addiction and psychiatric) treated in an integrated way. Because addictive disorders and mental disorders often occur in the same individual, patients presenting either condition should be assessed and treated for the co-occurrence of the other type of disorder.
  9. Withdrawal Stabilization (WS)/Detoxification – The more accurate term to describe drug and alcohol detox is withdrawal stabilization, because that is what takes place during this addiction treatment process. Withdrawal stabilization is only the first stage of drug or alcohol addiction treatment and by itself does little to change long-term drug use. Withdrawal stabilization safely manages the acute physical symptoms of substance withdrawal associated with stopping drug use. While drug and alcohol withdrawal stabilization alone is rarely sufficient to help addicts achieve long-term sobriety, for some individuals it is a strongly indicated precursor to effective alcohol or drug addiction treatment.
  10. Addiction treatment does not need to be voluntary to be effective. Strong motivation and support can facilitate the addiction recovery process. Sanctions or enticements in the family, employment setting, or criminal justice system can increase significantly both addiction treatment entry and retention rates, as well as the success of drug treatment interventions.
  11. Possible drug use during addiction treatment must be monitored continuously. Lapses to drug abuse can occur during addiction treatment. The objective monitoring of a patient’s drug and alcohol use during treatment, such as through urinalysis or other tests, can help the patient withstand urges to abuse drugs. Such monitoring also can provide early evidence of drug use so that the addict’s addiction treatment plan can be adjusted. Feedback to patients who test positive for illicit drug use is an important element of objective monitoring.
  12. Drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs should provide assessment for HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B and C, tuberculosis and other infectious diseases, and counseling to help patients modify or change behaviors that place themselves or others at risk of infection. Addiction therapy and counseling can help patients avoid high-risk behavior. Counseling also can help people who are already infected manage their illness safely.
  13. Recovery from drug addiction can be a long-term process and frequently requires multiple episodes of addiction treatment and therapies. As with other chronic illnesses, relapses to drug use can occur during or after successful treatment episodes. Addicted individuals may require prolonged treatment and multiple episodes of addiction treatment to achieve life-long sobriety and fully restored functioning. Participation in self-help support programs during and following drug or alcohol addiction treatment often is helpful in maintaining sobriety.

To learn more about Enterhealth’s Residential or Outpatient drug and alchol rehabilitation programs, call 1.800.388.4601 or contact us using this form to talk to your trusted advisor, today!