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13 Key Principles of Addiction Treatment


According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there are a number of key principles to keep in mind when starting a drug or alcohol treatment program:

1. Addiction not only affects your behavior but also affects your brain.

2. Treating addiction as early as possible is important for successful outcomes.

3. You do not have to go in voluntarily for treatment in order for it to be effective. Many individuals are compelled to go to rehab by the court system, their place of employment, or family or friends — and they are still able to achieve recovery once they go through the program.

4. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to treatment. Different treatments and facilities work more effectively for different people.

5. Effective treatment should holistically address all areas of your life — not just your substance abuse or addiction.

6. Mental health conditions are often linked to drug addiction and should also be evaluated and addressed in your treatment.

7. Treatment programs should also assess for any coexisting infectious diseases such as HIV, hepatitis, and tuberculosis.

8. You must commit enough time to treatment in order to effectively overcome your addiction.

9. Physical detox is important but is only the first stage of treatment. Long-term behavioral change usually requires a process of behavioral therapy and ongoing support.

10. The most common form of treatment is behavioral therapy — which may involve some combination of group, family, and individual therapy.

11. Pharmaceutical treatment is often necessary in conjunction with therapy.

12. Good treatment programs will monitor you for any possible relapses throughout the course of treatment.

13. Treatment plans should be continually revised to meet your changing needs and circumstances.1

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