If you're reading an article about drug addiction treatment, chances are that you, or someone you care about, are having a drug problem and you're trying to find out how to fix it. The problem may be new, or may have been going on for years. Whichever is the case, it's vital to use the right treatment method for your situation if you do not want to still be dealing with the problem years from now.
What are your options?
Out-patient treatment: Often these programs are the least successful. A drug addict needs help getting through the pain of withdrawal. The symptoms can be so severe that addicts take the drug again to get relief, despite the fact that they really want to quit. There is also the problem of environment. Staying in the same environment where the person took drugs, with all the same problems, friends, habits, and so on, makes it very difficult for them to change.
Detox programs: While supervised detox programs can help an addict get off a drug safely and make sure their basic needs are taken care of during the process, a true addict will often need follow up in an addiction treatment center. The detox center helps them through the withdrawal process, but does not address the issues that caused them to take drugs in the first place. Many addicts make the mistake of thinking that once they've stopped taking the drug, they'll be able to stay off it on their own. Typically, that's not the case – although there are exceptions.
Narcotics Anonymous: Like Alcoholics Anonymous, this program has helped a lot of people. But many also drop out and relapse. And others find themselves going to meetings for the rest of their lives. Some go multiple times a day. But the reason they need the daily support, for years on end, is because the cause of their addiction was never successfully addressed – as it would be in a good addiction treatment center.
Drug replacement therapy: The most widely known replacement drug is methadone. People who formerly took heroin or other narcotics take methadone instead. They're still addicted, but they've switched to methadone. Methadone is extremely difficult to kick, much worse than heroin, and people sometimes wind up on it for the rest of their lives. Methadone advocates often lead addicts to believe that the drugs that they've taken have caused irreparable brain damage that will prevent them from ever being able to function without drugs of some sort or other. However, people are generally not tested to see if this actually is the case so they go on methadone for no good reason; they could have been actually cured of their addiction and the problems that set them off in that direction in the first place had they done a different type of treatment.
Short-term residential drug rehab: These programs usually last for 30 days; enough time for the person to get through withdrawal, but not much else. Very little, if any, actual rehabilitation has occurred and the causes of the addiction have not been addressed. You can expect the vast majority of graduates to relapse – possibly as many as 95%.
Long-term residential drug rehab: This method has proven to be the most successful. It removes the person from their environment so they are free of their usual effects and problems and can focus on resolving their addiction without distraction. The first step is withdrawal, then the person begins to address why they became addicted in the first place and is taught life skills that help the improvement those issues. To wrap things up, they are sent off with a program for a new life. A good long-term residential addiction treatment center also includes obtaining the person in good physical health and condition.
While not everyone makes it, the chances of relapse after long-term residential drug addiction treatment are far less than with any other treatment model.
If you're looking for help, check out the long-term residential model first. While the others may be more convenient, there's no point in first trying something with a low success rate as you are likely to have to deal with recovery and relapse cycles that could go on for years. Getting the right treatment in the first place, on the other hand, could completely change your life, and the addict's, within a few months.