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The need for widespread availability of professionally-administered drug addiction treatment has never been greater than it is today. The US is currently facing an epidemic of drug addiction that has led to thousands of overdose deaths and the devastation of millions of individuals’ and families’ everyday lives. Although the grip of drug addiction can often begin stealthily and unnoticed by friends, family, and coworkers (and the addict themselves) – it can quickly become an all-consuming urge that pushes all of priorities to the background, wreaking havoc on careers, personal relationships, and one’s physical and mental health in the process.

The Costs of Drug Addiction

Drug addiction has tremendous costs for our society, destroying lives and relationships as it cements its grip on millions of American citizens. Some of these costs are difficult to quantify, but even the purely financial cost of drug addiction is alarmingly high. According to recent government estimates, the purely financial costs of drug abuse and addiction to the US economy are over $500 billion per year.

The First Step in Drug Addiction Treatment

The first action that must be taken for anyone who is contemplating drug addiction treatment is to carefully consider the reasons why they are seeking change. It is critical to remind him/herself of the consequences – internal or external – that led them to a path of seeking sobriety. For some, the reasons may be solely internal – poor mood, self-esteem issues, low self-worth, or generalized unhappiness. For others, the reasons may be external, such as medical, financial, legal, or relationship problems.

Establishing Goals for Drug Addiction Treatment

After reaching the point where the addict decides to pursue drug addiction treatment, they should clearly identify their goals for the process. Initially, these goals may be quite broad, but as treatment progresses they may become much more specific. As a baseline, the National Institute on Drug Abuse states that successful drug addiction treatment must help the person in three main areas: stopping drug use, staying drug-free, and being productive in the family, at work, and in society. It is essential that goals for drug addiction treatment contain some elements in addition to simply “ending drug use” or the individual will almost certainly experience relapse and other problems. [2]

The Need for Comprehensive Drug Addiction Treatment

Once an individual decides to seek treatment for their drug addiction and establishes their goals from treatment, it is critical that they select a treatment option that provides a comprehensive range of services and therapies. Drug addiction is often caused and sustained by a complex web of factors, necessitating a comprehensive array of interventions in order to address each of these factors in turn. The approaches to drug addiction treatment that are most successful in the long term are those that provide a diverse mix of services to their clients, enabling them to face all of the challenges that addiction can present.

Key Components of Comprehensive Drug Addiction Treatment

infographic of a 7 step wheel for each type of service available for drug addiction treatment
1. Educational Services
Education about drug addiction is a critical resource for addicts as they move through treatment. This helps them see that they are not alone and gives them a deeper understanding of how addiction works and how it can be conquered. Part of this education includes tips and techniques for avoiding relapse once their initial treatment period ends, an essential component for long-term recovery. These educational services can also combat the rampant misinformation about drug abuse and addiction that exists among addicts and in popular culture.
2. Mental Health Services
Among addicts, mental health issues and addiction are often inextricably intertwined. Some individuals begin their descent into addiction by trying to self-medicate untreated mental illness; others develop mental illness as a result of years of substance abuse. In either of these cases, successful long-term recovery hinges on addressing both of these issues in treatment.
3. Medical Services

An addict’s physical health can also be extremely damaged in multiple ways by long-term drug addiction. Effective drug addiction treatment must contain medical monitoring and interventions to ensure the individual’s health and safety during detox, treatment, and beyond. Many individuals often fall prey to addiction in an effort to treat underlying chronic pain or other issues. Medical services can provide alternative, non-addictive ways of treating these “triggering” conditions.

4. HIV/AIDS Services
Unfortunately, many individuals get exposed to the HIV virus as a consequence of their drug addiction. This can be through sharing needles with other addicts, sexual intercourse with high-risk individuals such as other addicts, or simply through promiscuity fed by the inhibition-lowering effect of many drugs. For these individuals HIV/AIDS services and education are a critical piece of the recovery puzzle whether they have already contracted the virus or not.
5. Family Services
Addiction doesn’t just destroy individual lives; it devastates families as well. By the time that drug abusers finally enter treatment, they have often caused considerable damage to their family relationships as well. The guilt and shame over these tattered family bonds can often cause addicts to relapse even after treatment if they are not acknowledged and repaired, making family services an essential element in effective drug addiction treatment.
6. Legal Services
Drug addiction can often lead to a variety of legal issues from drug possession or sales charges to driving under the influence citations, and even assaults or other serious crimes. For long-term success in drug addiction treatment individuals often need legal help resolving these issues, making restitution, and taking responsibility for their actions while they were in the clutches of addiction. This process can be an important step for addicts to “make amends” for their past behavior and get a fresh start to their new, drug-free life.
7. Vocational Services
One of the many casualties of drug addiction is often an individual’s career or profession. As addiction becomes all-consuming, an addict’s work often suffers, leading to poor performance reviews, dismissal, and even the loss of licenses and certifications needed to work in certain professions. Many addicts have also been outside the formal workforce for so long that they don’t have the skills and work habits necessary for success in their post-treatment life. This makes vocational services and sometimes even basic life skills training an important component in drug addiction treatment.

The Importance of Counseling in Drug Addiction Treatment

Individual and group counseling sessions are perhaps the most important technique for helping individuals recover from drug addiction. These sessions can help individuals in treatment to identify and confront numerous issues involved in their addiction. Individual counseling often focuses on reducing or stopping substance use, skill building, adherence to a recovery plan, and social, family, and professional/educational outcomes. Group counseling is often used in addition to individual counseling to provide positive social reinforcement of the pursuit of recovery. [3]

Counselors provide a variety of services to people in treatment for substance use disorders including assessment, treatment planning, and counseling. These professionals provide a variety of therapies that are each tailored to different individuals’ needs.

Types of Therapy Provided in Counseling

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Helps you recognize and stop negative patterns of thinking and behavior that can lead to substance use.

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Contingency Management

Provides incentives to reinforce positive behaviors, such as remaining abstinent from substance use.

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Motivational Enhancement

Helps motivate addicts to seek recovery and commit to specific drug addiction treatment plans.

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12-Step Facilitation

Guides and supports engagement in 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.

Counseling Tailored Toward Specific Populations

Some forms of counseling are also tailored to specific populations of individuals confronting drug addiction. Young people are often a group that is targeted with a distinctive set of treatment services that often involve a family component in their approach. One of the specific models used to provide drug addiction treatment to young people is the Adolescent Community Reinforcement Approach (ACRA). This model is based upon defined procedures that develop skills and get young people engaged in positive activities. Another approach that is specifically tailored toward the population of drug abusing youth is the Assertive Continuing Care (ACC) model. This approach is delivered by a team of professionals assigned to the young person in question who provide intensive follow up and home based services, designed to prevent relapse among young adults in recovery. [3]

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Drug Addiction Treatment Options

Because there are so many types of drug addiction treatment options available, it is often very helpful to have the assistance of a trained professional to assess individuals and help them determine which option will work best for them. Each option has its own level of care, and some may be much more appropriate for one individual or another. If you or a loved is suffering from substance abuse, one or more of the following options might be the right choice for you:

  • Outpatient drug treatment
  • Chemical dependence intensive outpatient program – A half-day drug treatment program
  • Drug rehab partial hospitalization program – A full day of treatment
  • Residential drug rehab – Around-the-clock supervision and daily intensive drug treatment
  • Inpatient drug rehab – A drug treatment program that is staffed 24/7 with medical providers and daily intensive drug rehab
  • Inpatient drug detox – A level-of-care specifically tailored for the medical detox component of drug treatment. Counseling may also be offered at this stage, but it is primarily a medical phase of treatment.

Drug Addiction Treatment Works – Get Started Now!

If you or a loved one has fallen prey to the vicious cycle of drug addiction, BWR can help. Get help now by calling one of our operators, 24/7, at 800-683-4457 to get you or your loved one enrolled in the professional drug addiction treatment program that has already helped thousands of individuals facing this potentially deadly disease.


[1] National Institute on Drug Abuse,
[2] National Institute on Drug Abuse,
[2] Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration,



Behavioral Wellness & Recovery is a Joint Commission accredited program. The Joint Commission recognizes excellence in health care organizations and programs.


Behavioral Wellness & Recovery is a Joint Commission accredited program. The Joint Commission recognizes excellence in health care organizations and programs.

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