The main aim of drug addiction treatment is to help people suffering from addiction to stop abusing drugs. When they achieve this goal, the treatment progresses into helping these people stay sober by following the necessary measures to keep from relapsing. People with substance use disorders usually experience specific challenges. Since addiction is classified as a chronic illness, this means there is no cure for it. However, drug addiction treatment has proven to be quite effective in helping these individuals conquer their addictions.
There are various treatment programs and rehab facilities that are beneficial for people who want to recover from substance addiction. The effectiveness of drug addiction treatment programs is dependent on the program and the patient, including other contributing factors.
How Is Drug Addiction Treatment Measured?
Some treatment facilities assess their effectiveness through the number of patients that successfully go through their rehab programs. Others will look at patients’ continued sobriety during the following years or months to measure their success with the programs. The criteria defining the success of a drug addiction treatment program are flexible. Some programs will use varying types of treatment, while others handle relapse in patients.
Additionally, drug rehab is not always successful for anyone who steps into the program. Some of these facilities blame the patient for their addiction, thus setting them up for failure. Most rehabilitation programs also do not check up on their patients after they complete the treatment and base their success rates only on those who stay on for the entire period.
Monitoring one’s addiction and assessing their progress involves asking them about their thoughts and feelings. There are no known standards to gauge the effectiveness of a rehabilitation program, and different facilities will use their own criteria to define their results. For example, an individual might have stopped abusing their substance of choice but still exhibited specific thought patterns and damaging behaviors after the treatment. However, the program may still classify the case as a success.
It is advisable to look for a trusted and dependable program that focuses on treating the individual as a whole and not just the addiction.
What are Criteria Used to Assess The Effectiveness of a Drug Treatment Program?
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) defines three specific goals for an effective drug treatment program aside from stopping drug use and maintaining sobriety in individuals:
- The person should engage with society as a whole positively
- The individual should also contribute in the workplace
- The person should be a productive family member
Even though each rehab facility will define success differently, other measures overview what an effective treatment should achieve.
The patient being treated for addiction should exhibit these characteristics:
- Improved safety, i.e., fewer injuries or accidents
- An improvement in their legal status, i.e., committing fewer crimes or abiding by probation
- Stronger connections and relationships with loved ones, friends, and family
- Better mental health through improved behaviors, personality traits, and moods
- Enhanced physical health, i.e., reduced medical visits
- An improvement in their education or employment status
- Longer gaps between relapses and decreased frequency and amount of substance use
Most drug rehab treatment programs monitor their patients’ growth as they continue with the treatment, determining any issues and obstacles that need to be addressed. An effective program also offers alumni groups and recovery meetings even after patients complete the program.
Thus, when assessing the effectiveness of a drug treatment program, abstinence from addictive substances is not the only thing to consider. As mentioned above, we also need to consider the individual’s improved ability to function in the community, at work, at school, and home. These improvements are made possible when the individual reduces their drug use. Therefore, we need to observe the individual’s general quality of life.
Does Relapse Mean Drug Addiction Treatment Was Ineffective?
The National Institute on Drug Abuse specifies that 40%-60% of patients undergoing drug addiction treatment usually relapse. As a chronic disease, addiction symptoms can reappear even after treatment, so continuous care is necessary. Relapse back to drug use does not mean the treatment was unsuccessful. Some people need more time to improve and heal fully. They might sometimes relapse but go back to sobriety themselves due to skills learned during rehabilitation.
Drug addiction recovery is a continuous process, and patients usually need several treatment rounds. Most people also typically require aftercare once they complete their addiction treatment programs. Aftercare typically comprises support groups or substance abuse counseling to help the person stay connected with other affected individuals struggling with drug addiction.
Types of Treatment Programs and Their Effectiveness
An individual’s success in a drug treatment program will depend on their specific circumstances and the type of program selected. Other factors also influence positive treatment results.
Good drug rehab programs are usually managed by skilled professionals who have been trained in addiction treatment. They also have clinical staff on the site to handle the patients’ physical and mental needs. Rehab programs with high success rates usually provide long-term care and personalized treatment plans with evidence-based methods.
Addiction treatment is an ongoing process that takes time. Programs that go for longer than three months are usually the most efficient. Long-term rehabilitation treatment enables the recovering patient to deal with any hidden issues connected to their drug abuse problem. It also helps them modify their way of life by learning beneficial new habits and breaking old destructive ones.
Personalized addiction treatment offers care to each individual depending on their addiction experience and circumstances. Considering different people and their individual addiction experiences helps to customize the treatment to meet their recovery needs and thus provides them with a greater chance for success.
Evidence-based methods for addiction treatment such as behavioral therapy have been studied and shown to be effective in helping individuals beat their addiction. These approaches are often conducted in family, group, or individual settings. Medication-assisted therapy is another evidence-based method used concurrently with counseling and therapy for people suffering from alcohol or opioid addiction.
The most important thing to keep in mind when considering the success of a drug addiction treatment program is that it meets the individual’s overall needs to increase the chances of maintaining lasting sobriety.