Addiction treatment has become a science based on solid and modern research. While it is true that it isn’t a perfect science and that each patient is an individual with his or her own needs, there are truths about what makes treatment most likely to be successful. If you or someone you care about is seeking help for addiction, know what successful treatment programs look like. Vet facilities and programs carefully before choosing one for the best odds of a successful recovery.

  1. Treatment should be individualized. Addiction is a complicated disease. There are certain commonalities in all people struggling with it, but there are differences, too. Each patient in addiction treatment is an individual and needs a plan crafted to meet her needs. It should address all of her unique needs, including any medical, psychological, social and even legal needs. The plan should also be assessed and updated as the patient changes.
  2. Treatment is more than a few days. If anyone tries to sell you on a quick fix, like a medicated detox as rehab, run the other way. For any addiction treatment plan to be effective, it needs to last for a longer period of time. For most people this means staying in treatment for a few months and then following up with some form of aftercare, such as outpatient therapy or support group meetings.
  3. Behavioral therapy is important. There are a lot of therapeutic techniques used in addiction treatment, and variety is good. However, an effective treatment program should have a solid base of behavioral therapy. This may include one-on-one, group or family therapy.
  4. Recovering addicts need to build a community. Social support is essential to successful recovery. Rehab provides a readymade social network, but it should also teach patients how to maintain a strong social network or sober community after the program is complete. This could also include learning to have a purpose in life, like going back to school, getting a job or working in a volunteer setting. The combination of purpose and a social network is powerful for helping recovering addicts avoid relapse.
  5. Medications are often a part of recovery. Research has given us a number of medications that can be used to support sobriety in recovering addicts. When appropriate, as judged by a medical professional and the patient, medications should be used to help control withdrawal and cravings.
  6. Treatment for mental health is often needed. Mental illness and addiction co-occur more often than not, and it is essential that patients in addiction treatment be screened for mental health disorders. They should also be treated for mental health while in addiction treatment. If mental health is ignored, the recovering addict is likely to fall back into old patterns of self-medicating with drugs or alcohol.

Effective treatment for addiction is possible and you deserve to get it. Educate yourself about what makes treatment successful and effective for most patients so that you will be empowered to choose a facility that will help you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and to turn away from any programs whose answers you don’t like. Getting good care is essential to getting better.


Choose a better life. Choose recovery.