Over the many years that treatment for addiction has developed, it’s clear that there are a few best practices that contribute to achieving long-term sober living.
Treatment will not be the same for everyone. For this reason treatment needs to address clients differently as various needs come up.
Treatment needs to be readily available. If someone is read to step upon the path of sober living, taking advantage of moments when an addict is willing to enter treatment is critical. If services are not available so readily, the opportunity to treat might be lost.
- Treatment that is effective will address not just the addiction alone. For treatment to be effective, it must address the medical, psychological, social, vocational, and legal issues of an adolescent. Treatment must be holistic in nature.
- Staying in treatment for as long as it takes is essential. The length of treatment, however, varies depending on the needs of the adolescent. Research indicates that addictions that were strong and ongoing require at least 3 months in treatment in order to significantly reduce or stop the addiction.
- Medication is an important element of treatment.
- Medical detoxification with the use of medication alone is not adequate to treat the full scope of addiction. Medication is only the first stage of addiction, which only manages the acute physical symptoms of withdrawal. For this reason, teens need to expect and be encouraged to continue to participate in treatment long after detoxification has taken place.
- Because relapse can occur even during treatment, teens must be closely monitored. In fact, knowing that treatment is being monitored can be a powerful way to prevent teens from submitting to the urges of their withdrawal process.
- For a sober living lifestyle that best addresses physical and psychological needs, a treatment plan should be continually assessed. It’s common for those with addiction to also have a psychological illness. For this reason, they should be assessed for co-occurring disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder.
- Some users might need additional sober help because their brain structure has changed with drug use. Treatment then needs to ensure that it is addressing his or her needs adequately, including whether addiction medication is effective.
- For effective help with achieving sobriety, treatment should address all aspects of the addiction – including whether there are any co-occurring disorders. If an addict is participating in a halfway house or a sober living home, he or she may need to seek additional psychological treatment if necessary.
- Lastly, the best sober living treatment does not require a voluntary application. Treatment can still be effective and support long-term sober living even if a person did not agree to go to treatment initially. Research indicates that treatment for addiction in these cases is also effective.
The above are principles of treating addiction. Based upon research, these points indicate what is necessary for effective treatment and what will lead to healing the addiction in the lives of adolescents. There are many forms of treatment for addiction, various levels of care, and treatment that is both traditional and alternative. However, the above lists the important elements that the drug-counseling field has found to be the most effective.
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