What is Addiction Treatment?

Discover what addiction treatment is, its success rates, and how family and therapy can support recovery.

James Ekbatani
June 11, 2024

Understanding Addiction Treatment

As we begin to explore the topic of 'what is addiction treatment?', it's crucial to understand the various elements that contribute to effective recovery. Two key components of successful addiction treatment are the presence of social support and the role of 12-step programs.

Importance of Social Support

Social support plays a pivotal role in the recovery journey of individuals battling substance abuse. As per a study on NCBI, factors cited as important in establishing and maintaining recovery status among individuals in long-term recovery include social and community support. This extends to support from family, friends, and peers, which has been consistently found to predict positive outcomes in maintaining short-term abstinence.

Moreover, family involvement is crucial in addiction treatment, shifting the focus from the individual to the entire family. This involvement can take the form of family therapy, which includes discussions and problem-solving sessions that help family members understand the disease model of addiction.

Role of 12-Step Programs

12-step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA), have been instrumental in many individuals' recovery journeys. According to NCBI, affiliation with 12-step fellowships during and after treatment is helpful in maintaining short-term abstinence, especially for those who attend regularly or become actively engaged with the 12-step program of recovery.

These programs offer a structured pathway to recovery, providing individuals with a supportive community of peers who understand their struggles and can offer guidance based on personal experiences. The importance of 12-step fellowships in the recovery journey has been highlighted by participants in various studies, noting the negative consequences of substance use and the support they received from these fellowships.

Given the importance of social support and 12-step programs in addiction treatment, it's crucial for individuals and their families to seek out resources that provide these elements. Whether it's an inpatient treatment program or outpatient treatment options, the goal is to find a therapeutic environment that fosters recovery and long-term abstinence.

Factors Affecting Treatment Outcomes

Understanding the factors that affect treatment outcomes can help individuals seeking help for substance use disorders set realistic expectations and make informed decisions about their recovery journey. Two key factors that significantly impact the success of addiction treatment are the length of treatment and affiliation with 12-step fellowships.

Length of Treatment

Studies have shown that participation in formal treatment and longer time in treatment are associated with better outcomes in maintaining short-term abstinence. Therefore, the duration of treatment plays a crucial role in the successful recovery from addiction.

Patients who remain in treatment for longer periods, have lower levels of premorbid psychopathology, and participate in aftercare or self-help groups are more likely to benefit from treatment [3]. This highlights the importance of sustained engagement in treatment programs, such as those offered in inpatient settings. To understand more about the benefits of inpatient treatment, you might want to read our article on why inpatient treatment is important?

Treatment Duration Success Rate
Less than 90 days Lower rates of success
90 days or more Higher rates of success

Affiliation with 12-Step Fellowships

The affiliation with 12-step fellowships, such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, can significantly influence the success of addiction treatment. These fellowships provide a supportive community that encourages sobriety and offers strategies for maintaining long-term recovery.

Research has shown that treatment for drug addiction has a similar success rate as treatment for other chronic medical conditions such as hypertension, asthma, and diabetes, all of which require behavioral change and medication compliance for successful treatment. The National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) summarized that drug treatment reduced drug use by 40 to 60 percent, decreased criminal justice activity, and improved employment possibilities by up to 40 percent. NIDA concluded that addiction treatment is as successful as treatment for other chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, and asthma [4].

Group therapy models, including 12-step fellowships, play a significant role in this success. They offer different therapeutic approaches to meet client needs during the multiphase process of recovery. Some effective models include psychoeducational groups, skills development groups, cognitive-behavioral/problemsolving groups, support groups, and interpersonal process groups.

Understanding these key factors can help individuals with substance use disorders choose the right treatment option. Whether it's an inpatient program, an outpatient program (what is outpatient treatment program?), or a 12-step fellowship, each option offers unique benefits that contribute to the overall success of the treatment.

Family Support in Recovery

When discussing 'what is addiction treatment?' it's important to note the role of family support in recovery. A supportive family environment can significantly contribute to positive treatment outcomes.

Impact of Family Support

Social support from family and friends has been consistently found to predict positive outcomes in maintaining short-term abstinence among individuals recovering from substance abuse [2]. The experiences and supports reported by participants in the study included the negative consequences of substance use, support from family, friends, and peers, and the importance of 12-step fellowships in their recovery journey.

People become addicted due to a combination of factors, with risk factors for substance use problems in youth including early substance use, mental health problems, and a history of trauma. Protective factors include strong family bonds, positive peer relationships, and good coping skills [6].

Involvement in Treatment Process

Family involvement is a crucial component of addiction treatment, shifting the focus from the individual to the entire family. Family therapy involves discussions and problem-solving sessions with the entire group, helping family members understand the disease model of addiction [1].

Effective treatment for addictive disorders requires comprehensive interventions addressing physical health, mental health, and interpersonal relationships. Treatment plans should be developed by qualified professionals, and services should be provided through referral linkages with other qualified providers.

Treatment must be individualized, engaging the family where possible, and should include longer-term supports to sustain recovery and prevent relapse.

For more information on the different types of treatment available, see our articles on why inpatient treatment is important and what is an outpatient treatment program.

Treatment Options and Success Rates

Understanding the potential outcomes of various addiction treatment options is an essential step in the recovery journey. In this section, we'll explore the relapse rates in recovery and the success rates of different treatment programs.

Relapse Rates and Statistics

Relapse, or returning to substance use after a period of abstinence, is a common part of the addiction recovery process. According to the American Addiction Centers, relapse rates for drug and alcohol use resemble those of other chronic diseases, with an estimated 40-60% of individuals relapsing while in recovery.

It's important to note that relapse doesn't mean that the treatment has failed, but it may indicate that the treatment plan needs to be adjusted or that other forms of treatment would be more effective.

Success Rates of Treatment Programs

Evaluations of substance abuse treatment efforts have shown encouraging results. The NCBI Bookshelf reports that the majority of substance-dependent patients eventually stop compulsive use and experience less frequent and severe relapse episodes. The statistics suggest that almost 90% of those who remain abstinent for 2 years are also drug- and alcohol-free at 10 years.

The National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) summarized that drug treatment reduced drug use by 40 to 60 percent, decreased criminal justice activity, and improved employment possibilities by up to 40 percent. NIDA concluded that addiction treatment is as successful as treatment for other chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, and asthma.

Moreover, studies show that when incarcerated individuals receive comprehensive drug or alcohol treatment in prison and then follow up with continued care upon their release, their drug use declines by 50-70% as compared to individuals who do not receive treatment [7].

Treatment for drug addiction has a similar success rate as treatment for other chronic medical conditions such as hypertension, asthma, and diabetes, all of which require behavioral change and medication compliance for successful treatment.

The choice between inpatient and outpatient treatment depends on the individual and their unique needs and circumstances. To learn more about these different options, you can read our articles on why inpatient treatment is important and what is an outpatient treatment program.

Therapeutic Approaches

In the journey of understanding 'what is addiction treatment?', it's important to explore the different therapeutic approaches used in the process. These approaches play a crucial role in shaping the recovery process and help individuals manage their addiction effectively.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a conversational approach that involves structured one-on-one sessions with a mental health counselor. The primary goal of CBT is to reshape patients' negative thoughts, empowering those in recovery to meet life's challenges head-on.

CBT can effectively treat mental disorders and addiction, either alone or in combination with other therapies. By changing the way patients perceive their addiction, CBT can help individuals develop coping strategies to deal with triggers and prevent relapse. To understand more about how CBT is integrated into addiction treatment, refer to our article on why inpatient treatment is important?.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a type of CBT focused on behavioral skill development. This approach helps participants manage emotions, improve relationships, resolve conflict, and handle stress effectively.

DBT is particularly beneficial for individuals who struggle with emotional regulation, as it provides the tools necessary to manage negative emotions without resorting to substance use. Outcomes data indicates that DBT successfully treats addiction and various mental health diagnoses. For a more in-depth look at how DBT is implemented in outpatient programs, read our article on what is an outpatient treatment program?.

Experiential Therapy

Experiential therapy is a therapeutic approach that engages patients' emotions through hands-on learning. This method explores subconscious thoughts and feelings through activities like guided imagery and role-playing.

The primary goal of experiential therapy is to help patients identify and work through hidden emotions that may contribute to substance use. The hands-on nature of this therapy makes it a compelling approach for individuals who struggle with traditional talk therapy. Experiential therapy has proven effective for the treatment of substance use disorders [1].

These therapeutic approaches form the backbone of addiction treatment, providing individuals with the necessary skills and strategies to overcome addiction. By understanding these methods, individuals can better comprehend the process of addiction treatment and make informed decisions about their recovery journey.

Diagnosis and Treatment Methods

Understanding addiction treatment involves exploring the processes of diagnosing substance use disorders and the strategies used to manage withdrawal symptoms.

Diagnosing Substance Use Disorder

Diagnosing drug addiction, also known as substance use disorder, requires a thorough evaluation. It often includes an assessment by a psychiatrist, a psychologist, or a licensed alcohol and drug counselor. While blood, urine, or other lab tests are used to assess drug use, they do not serve as a diagnostic test for addiction. Rather, these tests may be used for monitoring treatment and recovery [8].

The latest edition of the Diagnosis and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM-V) has combined substance abuse and dependence into a new category known as substance use disorder. This edition is also the first to include gambling addiction in its definition.

To receive a diagnosis of substance use disorder, an individual must demonstrate two of the following criteria within a 12-month period:

  • Taking the substance in larger amounts or for longer than intended
  • Wanting to cut down or quit but not being able to do it
  • Spending a lot of time getting, using, or recovering from the substance
  • Cravings to use the substance
  • Not managing to do what should be done at work, home, or school because of substance use
  • Continuing to use the substance, even when it causes problems in relationships
  • Giving up important social, occupational, or recreational activities because of substance use
  • Using substances repeatedly, even when it puts the individual in danger
  • Continuing to use, even when the individual knows they have a physical or psychological problem that could have been caused or made worse by the substance
  • Needing more of the substance to get the desired effect (tolerance)
  • Development of withdrawal symptoms, which can be relieved by taking more of the substance.

The severity of the dependence is defined by the number of criteria a person fulfills. Two to three criteria indicate a mild substance use disorder. Four to five criteria indicate a moderate disorder. Six or more criteria indicate a severe addiction [9].

Withdrawal Management Strategies

Withdrawal management strategies are an essential part of what is addiction treatment. Many dependencies have different withdrawal symptoms that occur when an individual does not have access to the substance.

Treatment for addiction should always be paired with at least brief counseling or a structured treatment program, such as inpatient treatment or outpatient treatment. Medications can be used to treat problematic substance use and addictions, and withdrawal management helps individuals manage symptoms when they stop using substances.

Screening questionnaires like the CAGE can help identify substance use problems or determine the level of dependence. It is important to consult with healthcare professionals for proper diagnosis and treatment methods. By understanding the process of diagnosing substance use disorder and withdrawal management strategies, individuals can make informed decisions about their journey to recovery.

References

[1]: https://nida.nih.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/treatment-recovery

[2]: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1852519/

[3]: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64815/

[4]: https://www.health.ny.gov/professionals/patients/dischargeplanning/2008-06-12whatisaddiction_treatment.htm

[5]: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64214/

[6]: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/drug-addiction/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20365113

[9]: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323487