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Evaluate Treatments for Drug Addiction

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Did you know that about 23.2 million people over the age of 12 needed treatment for illegal drug or alcohol addiction in 2007? And, that only 2.4 million of these people actually received treatment at a specialized facility? These statistics mean that there were about 20.8 million people who needed treatment for drug or alcohol addiction who never received it.

These frightening statistics from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) underscore the fact that drug addiction is rampant and there are people out there that need help from others in order to receive effective treatment and get their lives back together.

Treatment Approaches

Behavioral therapy and medication is the cornerstone of drug treatment once detoxification has occurred.

Medication

Medication is used to help suppress withdrawal symptoms during the detoxification process. It is also used during the treatment process where it is used to help the brain re-establish normal function and diminish cravings for the drugs. For example, methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone may be effective treatments for opiate addiction.

Behavioral Therapy

Behavioral therapy helps people with drug addiction to engage in the treatment process and modify their behaviors in order to increase healthy life skills. This type of treatment can occur in an outpatient setting or in a residential treatment setting. The types of behavioral therapy that may be effective for drug addiction include:

• Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy: Helps users to recognize, avoid and cope with the situations where drugs were abused.

• Multidimensional Family Therapy: Typically used for adolescents with drug abuse issues, this therapy is designed to improve the overall functioning of the family unit.

• Motivational Interviewing: This form of therapy capitalizes on the readiness of the drug user to change behavior and undergo treatment.

• Motivational Incentives: Uses positive reinforcement to encourage drug users to stay away from drugs.

Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)