Types of Drug Treatment

With over 23 million addicts over the age of twelve needing treatment for drug abuse, it has become crucial to examine the different types of drug treatment programs to determine which can best address this overwhelming problem. Drug abuse has a great economic impact on society-an estimated $67 billion per year, and various types of drug treatment could help to reduce these overwhelming costs. This figure includes costs related to crime, medical care, drug abuse treatment, social welfare programs, and time lost from work. Treatment of drug abuse can reduce those costs. Studies have shown that from $4 to $7 are saved for every dollar spent on treatment. It costs approximately $3,600 per month to leave a drug addict untreated in the community, and incarceration costs approximately $3,300 per month.

The ultimate goal of all drug abuse treatment is to enable the patient to achieve lasting abstinence. Since the middle of the 1970s, scientific research has shown that successful drug treatment involves changing behaviors to remove the addiction and avoid relapse. The different types of drug treatment depend upon the degree of dependence, the patient's social situation, and the kind of drug to which they are addicted. Some types of drug treatments have medical components, to ease the symptoms of withdrawal, intensive counseling, and methods that address underlying causes of addiction. Overall, drug treatment programs need to be two-pronged, addressing both the physical and psychological dependency of an addict. Additionally, behavioral and social symptoms may need to be tackled before an addict can be truly "recovered" and have the tools to help sustain that recovery for the remainder of his or her life. According the National Institute on Drug Abuse "Recovery from drug addiction is a long-term process and sometimes requires multiple episodes of treatment." Based on decades of research and study, they have identified key elements to effective drug treatment including drug detox and counseling or group classes. Types of drug treatment often include the following:

Outpatient Drug Treatment- encompasses a wide variety of programs for patients who visit a clinic at regular intervals. Most of the programs involve individual or group drug counseling.
Short Term Drug Treatment - Short term residential drug treatment is an average of 28-30 days, depending on the center. In the big picture of addiction, 30 days is just long enough to get the drugs and alcohol out of the individual's system. This short amount of time is not enough to educate the individual regarding how to live without drugs and to give them the tools that they will need to change some of the behaviors that led to the addiction in the first place. Short term residential drug rehab centers may help those who have not been long term addicts or those individuals who have been through drug rehab before, relapsed and really do just need to review the skills that they learned previously in long term drug treatment.
Long Term Residential Drug Treatment - Long term drug treatment program is the most effective way to ensure successfully recovery. Experts in the field of addiction highly recommend long term residential drug and alcohol treatment for optimal results. The reason for this is because in long term residential treatment, there is enough time to address all the factors that contribute to the cycle of addiction. Because of time constraints, there is no way that all of these issues can be addressed in short term drug treatment.
Holistic Drug Treatment - Holistic means "body, mind and spirit" collectively addressed to enhance life or to handle a problem. Therefore a "Holistic Drug Treatment" is one that focuses on body, mind and spirit to handle addiction. With that generic definition, many facilities include the word "Holistic" as an approach, but might not be considered by everyone to be a truly Holistic Drug treatment approach. In other words, any program could claim to be holistic in nature, since every form of recovery does work on body, mind and spirit.

Drug treatment programs use a wide array of counseling and treatment strategies. The first issue that drug treatment professionals consider is the type of addiction, the medical severity, and the length of the individual's addiction. For most addicts, long term residential drug treatment is the best possible option for recovery. Other programs are aimed at those with less severe levels of addiction. Some very few can enter modest, out-patient counseling therapies, and cope well within that system. While drug treatment methods are varied, these paths go through similar stages, beginning with drug detoxification.

Detoxification is the first step in all drug treatment programs. Some drugs can take a longer time to fully leave the system, especially if the user has built up a level of physical tolerance that hides the addiction. Furthermore, studies have shown that detox by itself has little impact on long term drug addiction. Obviously, vigilance must be maintained to prevent drug use during treatment, thus the importance of going through withdrawal in the professional setting of a drug treatment center. Additionally, drug treatment programs need to treat all the needs of an addict, not just the drug abuse. Counseling and group classes have proven critical to effective drug treatment. Most importantly, drug treatment needs to be customized to the patient and adaptable as their needs change. None of this can be successfully accomplished in short term programs.

Once the early stages of withdrawal have passed, an individual can begin a directed, drug treatment program that addresses psychological dependency and imparts behavioral and social skills that will help them function without the drug. This usually involves individual and group counseling. There may also be occupational and behavioral therapies to teach life and social skills that may have been lost or never learned while under the influence of addiction. Behavioral therapies can include counseling, support groups, or family therapy.
In general, the more drug treatment given, the better the results. Patients, who stay in treatment longer, usually have better outcomes than those who stay less time. Patients, who go through medically assisted withdrawal to minimize discomfort but do not receive any further treatment, perform about the same in terms of their drug use as those who were never treated. Over the last 25 years, studies have repeatedly shown that long term residential drug treatment works to reduce drug intake and crimes committed by drug-dependent people. The bottoms line is that of all of the different types of drug treatment, by far the most successful to date is long term residential drug treatment.

$3.415 billion was used on federal spending on substance abuse treatment in 2009.

O f the $2.5 billion total spent for drug treatment in the year 2001, $633 million through the state substance abuse agencies.

In 1998, the justice system spent $46 million to help localities treat offenders who needed drug treatment.

In 2006, more than 16% of individuals were admitted to drug treatment centers for marijuana.

In 2008, more than 57% of individuals who were admitted into drug treatment were admitted for marijuana use.

In 2006, 14.4% of adults admitted to drug treatment were around the ages of 20-24.

In 2007, more than 27% of homeless individuals had received mental health treatment prior to the receiving drug treatment.

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