Choosing the most effective treatment
Addiction is often viewed as a complex disease that affects the way the brain functions alongside a range of problematic behavioural consequences. There are many options and different treatments available to patients, and no single treatment approach is right for every person. You should research all the programmes available and discuss options with the person of concern. There is no quick fix and the road to recovery may have many ups and downs. Some of these ups and downs may include relapse. It is important we accept that sometimes relapse is part of the recovery journey. When choosing the right treatment programme, consider the recommendations the National Institute on Drug Abuse makes about the components of an effective treatment programme.
Early Access to treatment
When a client is motivated to make some changes, it is important to search for and consider the programmes available and act quickly. When the window of opportunity opens, fast access to treatments and treatment centres can be crucial.
Covering the complex needs
Most effective addiction treatment programmes and centres will address all the related needs of their patients, not just the addiction. Medical issues, family therapy, education, social skills, nutrition and underlying causes are also important. Long-term recovery is a systemic process that emcompasses many different areas of life.
Behavioural therapies, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), are often featured as part of treatment. Talking therapy has a focus on behaviour change and navigating the challenges ahead. Relapse prevention is an example of cognitive behavioural therapy and is an intervention used to educate patients and give them the right tools to understand addiction and the process of relapse, and helps to retrain the brain. Behavioural therapies can also be useful to educate the family.
Taking care of physical health will support addiction recovery, and it is important that medications are reviewed. Patients should also be screened for potential diseases, such as hepatitis B and C, HIV and TB. The National institute on Drug Abuse also recommends education to help reduce future risk.
Detox is just part of the process
A detox may be featured as part of treatment. This would be medically supervised treatment. Certain clients, for example, alcohol users, may require special medications and close supervision, or opioid users may require a plan to reduce their opioid medication. A standalone detox with no other supported features in care is really a sticking plaster over a gunshot wound. It should be part of a wider set of treatment therapy interventions.
Drug and Alcohol Testing
During all phases of treatment it is important to test and monitor for drug and alcohol consumption.
Screening for potential underlying mental health disorders
It is possible that a person who uses drugs may be unconsciously self-medicating an underlying disorder. For example, it is not uncommon to find a cocaine user has ADHD and quiets their brain in a similar way to medications for ADHD. It is important to screen for any potential issues such as depression and anxiety, and measure cognitive ability and brain functioning. Effective screening and use of diagnostic tools to help identify any potential mental health or brain disorders. Suitable treatment can then be implemented which will support better outcomes.
Flexible treatment planning
A treatment plan should be built for and with the person of concern. This should include suitable goals and address the addiction alongside a range of presenting issues. As treatment progresses, the treatment plan should be reviewed and updated to reflect progress and help motivation.
Treatment duration is important
It is very important for the treatment duration to be long enough. The National institute on Drug Abuse states that good outcomes are contingent on treatment length. Continuing care should also be part of the long-term plan.