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Treatment for Substance Abuse Can Be Effective When Individualized

Dr. Gerardo Sison

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Gerardo Sison

April 1, 2019

Each individual is affected by addiction differently so it only makes sense that addiction treatment should be different for each patient. Many rehab centers now offer individualized treatment services to ensure that everyone gets the care they need to treat their unique needs and help them on the path to recovery.

Treatment for Substance Abuse Is Most Successful When Tailored to Meet the Individual Abuser’s Needs

The primary goal of substance abuse treatment is of course, to break the patient’s addiction and empower him or her to live without substance abuse. The secondary, though equally important goal, involves steering the abuser away from the many negative consequences – physical, psychological, financial, social, and legal – that flow from substance abuse. That seems simple enough on the surface.

The difficulty, however, lies in determining exactly which treatment approach best meets the specific needs of the individual abuser. Going as far back as 1970, research has shown over and over again that to be effective, treatment must address both physical and psychological dependency. It must also treat the multiple and highly individual needs of the abuser. Treating the addiction in isolation simply isn’t enough.

Top Principles of Effective Treatment for Substance Abuse

This same research has also shown that abusers can stop abusing and avoid relapse when certain principles undergird their treatment programs. Quality treatment facilities always follow the principle that there can be no cookie-cutter approach because no single treatment plan is appropriate for everyone. The following are some of the other top treatment principles:

  • Because it affects the brain and therefore behavior, addiction is a complex disease, but one that is also treatable.
  • When combined with behavioral therapies and counseling, medications can be an effective aspect of treatment.
  • Treatment, to be effective, usually needs to take place over an extended (though varying) period of time.
    Treatment must be continually assessed, adapted, and modified to meet each patient’s changing situation and needs.
  • Often, substance abusers are suffering from other psychological/mental/emotional disorders.

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Approaches in Treatment for Substance Abuse

Treatment facilities throughout the country offer a wide array of services and programs, including outpatient care, residential (inpatient) treatment, extended care, and recovery counseling, as well as mental health and medical care and even gender-and age-specific services. All of these are based to some degree on historical approaches to substance abuse treatment. For example:

  • Client-centered approach – Based loosely on the work of psychologist Carl Rogers and his discovery of the three conditions for personal change, this approach allows the patient to have a hand in determining treatment goals and objectives.
  • Disease model – Forming the basis of twelve-step programs, a disease model is an approach that sees substance abusers as afflicted with a lifelong disease. The disease model emphasizes the necessity of admission, renunciation, and a supportive network.
  • Psychoanalytic approach – Going back to Freud, this approach sees the causes of addiction as buried in the unconscious.
  • Cognitive model – Deriving from Alan Marlatt’s work, the cognitive model sees four psychosocial processes as the root causes of addiction and emphasizes appropriate coping strategies.

Treatment for substance abuse is effective when the requisite principles are applied and just the right approach is used. Contact us today for free information, and find out how we can help you get clean.

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