For Young Adults age 17-25

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What to Look For In An Effective Treatment Option for Drug Addiction

According to the National Institute of Drug Addiction, in 2004 approximately 22.5 million Americans aged 12 or older needed treatment for alcohol or illicit drug abuse and addiction. Of these only 3.8 million people received it.

Drug Addiction is a disease just like heart disease, diabetes, asthma, etc. The Institute says drug abuse or addiction symptoms are drug craving, seeking and use that persist even in the face of severe adverse consequences. For many people, addiction becomes chronic, with relapses possible even after long periods of being clean. In fact, relapse to drug abuse occurs at rates similar to those for other well-characterized, chronic medical illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension and asthma.

When looking into treatment, this information should be taken into account. Treatment should include repeated treatments just like others with chronic illnesses. It should be designed so that it encourages a change in lifestyle much like a heart patient would have to do in order to survive.

Drug addicts and their families should look for rehabilitation centers that are determined to reduce and eventually eliminate drug abuse, improve the patient's ability to function and minimize the medical and social complications.

Based on research from the national institute, there are several key factors that patients and their families should look for in an effective treatment center. They are as follows:

  • No single treatment is appropriate for all individuals. We are all made differently so our treatments should be tailored for each individual.
  • Treatment needs to be readily available. Patients should be able to acquire treatment when it is needed.
  • Effective treatment attends to multiple needs of the individual, not just his or her drug addiction. Just like a heart patient does not just have their heart treated, but may treat their high blood pressure, high fat diet, etc.
  • Individualís treatment and services plan must be assessed often and modified to meet the personís changing needs.
  • Remaining in treatment for an adequate period of time is critical for treatment effectiveness.
  • Counseling and other behavioral therapies are critical components of effective treatments for addiction.
  • Certain types of disorders require medications as an important element of treatment, especially when combined with counseling and other behavioral therapies.
  • Addicted or drug-abusing individuals with coexisting mental disorders should have both disorders treated in an integrated way.
  • Treatment does not need to be voluntary to be effective.
  • Possible drug use during treatment must be monitored continuously.
  • Treatment programs should provide assessment for HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B and C, tuberculosis, and other infectious diseases, and should provide counseling to help patients modify or change behaviors that place themselves or others at risk of infection.

Untreated drug abuse and addiction adds emotional stress as well as financial loss for individuals and families. Those affected should seek help from an effective treatment facility in order to move forward to a healthy future.

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