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Drug Abuse Addiction Treatment

  1. Table of ContentsPrint
  2. The Difference Between Drug Abuse and Addiction
  3. Exploring Options for Help
  4. Effective Treatment
  5. Drug Abuse and Addiction Treatment

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Drug abuse and addiction are problems that can have devastating consequences. Not only can they destroy the affected individual's life, they have a pervasive effect on all those who know or work with the individual. The best hope for recovery is immediate addiction treatment.

For assistance, call our toll-free helpline at 1-888-744-0069Who Answers?. Our treatment support representatives are standing by 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide you with the confidential treatment information you need.

The Difference Between Drug Abuse and Addiction

It is a common misunderstanding that drug abuse and addiction are the same thing but when you know the important drug abuse facts, you will easily see a distinct difference between the two. In a nutshell, drug abuse involves the intentional misuse of a substance; addiction refers to the chemical drug dependence on a substance (American Psychiatric Association, 2000). Not everyone that uses drugs becomes addicted to them. There are various levels or stages of drug abuse situation and/or addiction.

Whether or not someone becomes addicted to a drug is dependent on many factors. One thing to note is that the collective statistics show that those suffering from drug abuse tend to become addicted (Sloboda, 2002). Immediate treatment from a quality treatment center is a great option for a long-lasting recovery.

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Exploring Options for Help

It's not a one size fits all situation. As with many illnesses, the type of treatment prescribed for a drug addiction varies greatly depending on a number of factors:

  • Nature of the addiction (prescription pills, typically opiates, illegal drugs, specific type of drugs).
  • The duration of addiction (how long has this been a decisively negative force in one’s life, and has treatment been attempted before?).
  • The severity of addiction.
  • The potential need for medical detox.
  • The existence of other co-existing conditions (other types of drug abuse, alcohol addiciton, dependency, and abuse, behavioral addictions; additionally, other diagnosed psychiatric and medical issues).
  • Other factors such as the character and determination of the individual about to enter treatment.

Stated at the most simple level, a long-standing, serious case of drug addiction will generally require longer, more intensive rehabilitation. Trained addiction treatment professionals can help recommend the best option (or combination of treatment approaches) for your particular needs, or help you choose between various options.

Effective Treatment

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is a Federal agency dedicated to furthering scientific research on drug abuse and addiction.

NIDA has a published guide, titled Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-based Guide, which outlines thirteen principles of effective drug addiction treatment (NIDA 2012; Mee-Lee et al., 2013). To summarize, the principles are as follows:

  • No single treatment is right for everyone. A personalized, targeted approach is crucial.
  • Readily available assistance is needed to successfully address the urgent, widespread issue of addiction.
  • Effective addiction treatment addresses a wide range of legal, psychosocial, medical and work related issues – all this in addition to attending to the underlying drug use.
  • Patient needs evolve and change over the course of treatment. Effective assistance recognizes and adapts to address these changes.
  • The most effective treatment length is determined on an individual basis. For many, 3 months, or 90-days elicits significant improvement. An effective program incorporates strategies to minimize premature program dropout.
  • Problem solving, skills to resist drug use, new activities to take place of prior drug-related ones, and interpersonal relationship building should all be reinforced through counseling and behavioral therapy sessions throughout treatment.
  • For some individuals, medications (e.g. methadone, LAAM, naltrexone for opiate addiction) can be an important adjunct to the aforementioned counseling and behavioral therapy sessions.
  • Effective programs will provide patients with evaluation and treatment not only for the underlying addiction, but for a coexisting (concurrent or dual-diagnosis) mental disorder.
  • A medical detox program should be an initial step of addiction treatment to manage the potentially uncomfortable and, at times, dangerous period of withdrawal for those that require it.
  • Treatment success isn’t dependent on voluntary admission – workplace, family and/or legal mandates for addiction treatment, in some cases, improve adherence and outcome of a program.
  • Programs should be vigilant to any possible drug use during treatment, via careful patient monitoring. Approaches should be adjusted should drug use be detected.
  • Programs should provide assessments for infectious diseases (HIV, hepatitis, tuberculosis, etc.) Counseling to avoid situations that pose a high-risk of infection, or to manage an already contracted illness should be provided.
  • Recovery from drug addiction is a long-term process. Relapses do occur. Treatment programs should encourage participation in self-help support programs both during and after the period of treatment, as these are frequently helpful for prolonged success.

The guide contains detailed information about each of these 13 principles, and is available to download from the NIDA website.

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Drug Abuse and Addiction Treatment

Recovery from drug abuse and addiction is possible if you get the help you need. Our directory provides information about centers that offer both drug abuse and addiction treatment in an environment designed around individual recovery.

The costs associated with the different treatment types can vary widely. In general, outpatient services tend to cost less than inpatient, but it may not provide the same level of care that a person may need. Outpatient treatment tends to cost $100 to $500 per session, whereas inpatient tends to cost $200 to $900 per day. These costs will change based on program duration, location, and level of luxury.

Many inpatient treatment programs are created to best assist the personal issues involved in each patient's addiction problems. Depending on the exact program, residential or inpatient drug abuse and addiction treatment can include the following:

Alcohol Most Commonly Treated of Substances

Most-Treated-Substances Ethanol, or alcohol, is abused more than any other drug among those engaged in treatment, as Recovery Brands revealed with a 2017 survey. Out of all the survey responses, nearly 70% of people went to treatment to get help with a drinking problem, and a shocking 52.87% of respondents sought the most treatment for alcohol abuse. Despite the wide variety of abused substances individuals seek assistance for, ethanol seems to cause the most widespread damage.

Fortunately, you are only one call away from getting help. Talk with our treatment support specialists at 1-888-744-0069Who Answers? to discuss your program options and start your recovery today.


  • American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed., text rev.) [DSM-4 TR]. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.
  • Brook, D.W. (2008). Group Therapy. In Galanter, M., and Kleber, H.D., Editors. The American Psychiatric Textbook of Substance Abuse Treatment. Fourth Edition. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Publishing, Inc. pp. 413-428.
  • Clayton, R.R., et al. (2008). Prevention of Substance Abuse. In Galanter and Kleber. Previously cited. pp. 681-688.
  • Liepman, M.R., et al. (2009). Family Involvement in Addiction, Treatment and Recovery. In Ries, R.K. et al., Editors. Principles of Addiction Medicine Fourth Edition. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins. pp. 857-868.
  • Mee-Lee, D., et al. Editors.(2013). The ASAM Criteria: Treatment Criteria for Addictive, Substance-Related, and Co-Occurring Conditions. Third Edition. Chevy Chase, MD: The Change Companies.
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse (2012) [NIDA]. Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment. Third Edition. Updated December 2012. Available on
  • Polydorou, S. and Kleber, J.D., (2008). Detoxification of Opioids. In Galanter and Kleber. Previously cited. pp. 265-288.
  • Rounsaville, B.J. et al. (2009). Individual Psychotherapy. In Ries et al. Previously cited. pp. 769-788.
  • Sloboda, Z. (2002). Drug abuse epidemiology: an overview. Offprint of Bulletin on Narcotics 54(1 and 2). Available on
  • Weiss, R.D., et al. (2008). Inpatient Treatment. In Galanter and Kleber. Previously cited. pp. 445-458.

Last updated on October 26, 2017
Finding the perfect treatment is only one phone call away!