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Drug Abuse Recovery

  1. Table of ContentsPrint
  2. A Growing Need for Drug Abuse Treatment
  3. Comprehensive Treatment
  4. Drug Abuse Recovery Treatment Options
  5. Treatment Methods
  6. Additional Drug Abuse Recovery Tools
  7. Inpatient Treatment and Recovery
  8. Getting Help Today


Drug abuse and addiction can quite literally destroy lives.

The prevalence of drug abuse is of epidemic proportions in the United States. In 2012, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health showed that 23.9 million people, age 12 and up, had used illegal drugs in the month prior to taking the survey.

Modern research shows that addiction isn't a matter of moral failing but rather a chronic condition that requires treatment.

Modern research shows that addiction isn't a matter of moral failing but rather a chronic condition that requires treatment. Addiction doesn't discriminate - it affects people in all walks of life.  Those struggling with drug abuse and addiction issues can find the help they need.

A Growing Need for Drug Abuse Treatment

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 22.7 million people 12 or older needed treatment for a drug abuse issue in 2013, yet only 2.5 million received the care they needed at a specialized treatment center.

Often times, individuals are hesitant to seek care for fear of the social stigma attached to addiction. Modern research, however, continues to support the belief that addiction is a chronic disease that must be managed with long-term care.

Addiction and the Brain

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) states that addiction causes actual changes in the brain that lead to self-destructive and dangerous behaviors. With regular drug abuse these changes can also alter communication pathways and the way the brain experiences pleasure.

Per NIDA, certain drugs can cause 2-10 times more dopamine - a natural "feel-good" neurotransmitter - to be released than can be released naturally. As a result, the brain and body aren't able to experience pleasure in the same way without drugs. Since the individual continues to return to drugs to experience pleasure, it often doesn't take long for an addiction to set in. While addiction cannot be "cured," it can be effectively controlled with proper care.

Drug Abuse Recovery Quiz question 1

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Comprehensive Treatment


In order to effectively address issues of drug abuse and addiction, it is important that treatment is comprehensive, addressing the underlying reasons that led to the substance abuse in the first place.

While detox removes the substances from the physical body, it is not treatment in and of itself, according to NIDA.

Detox should be followed by a progressive treatment program that includes individual and group therapy, as well as an aftercare program, to provide recovering addicts with support once they exit formalized treatment.

Drug Abuse Recovery Quiz question 2

Drug Abuse Recovery Quiz question 3

Drug Abuse Recovery Treatment Options

Drug recovery is extremely difficult to achieve alone. It generally takes a group effort supported by medical and clinical personnel. Most people requiring drug recovery need a highly structured setting with accountability, and support that could include:

  • Group and individual counseling.
  • Medically assisted treatment (if needed).
  • Dual diagnosis treatment.
  • Holistic or complementary & alternative medicine programs.
  • Supervised drug detox and withdrawal.

Many, but not all, alcohol and drug recovery programs utilize the well-tested 12-step program. The 12-step program, in combination with quality drug recovery treatment, creates a strong foundation towards long-term recovery. Combining the above therapies with effective aftercare programs can have a profound effect on the rate of relapse occurrences.

When considering your options, be sure to look into the cost of the programs. In general, inpatient programs tend to cost more than outpatient, though this varies by facility and program duration. Inpatient treatment costs between $200 and $900 per day, with longer programs costing less per day. Outpatient tends to cost around $100 to $500 per treatment session, so the cost will vary by frequency of sessions. While the cost of treatment can seem intimidating, don't forget that your recovery is worth much more than any amount of money.

When you call the national hotline at 1-888-744-0069Who Answers?, you'll be connected with a treatment support operator who can help you decide what sort of treatment facility might be best for you. Some will opt for local treatment, while other people find that choosing a center far from home is preferable, as it removes the temptations or barriers of their normal environment.

Video: Getting Support for Alcoholism

The following provides some tips for getting support during recovery.

Credit: Howcast

Drug Abuse Recovery Quiz question 4

Treatment Methods

Reputable drug abuse recovery programs will utilize evidence-based therapies that address the destructive thoughts and behaviors that lead to substance abuse. If the root causes behind the substance abuse aren't addressed then the likelihood of relapse is greater. Some of these evidence-based therapies include:

These therapies address the underlying thoughts and behaviors of drug use in order to develop healthier patterns and effective strategies for maintaining long-term sobriety. Dialectical behavioral therapy, in particular, can assist with particular problem areas such as mood dysregulation, impulsivity and suicidality.

Medication may also be employed as a treatment tool, depending on the degree and type of addiction and any co-occurring mental health issues. Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, those who have been abusing opiate drugs, such as prescription painkillers or heroin, for an extended period of time may require maintenance medication, such as methadone or buprenorphine, in order to safely wean them off the illicit drug. For various addictions, antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications may be utilized in both the detox and therapeutic portions of the treatment program. When prescribed and overseen by a doctor, these medications can help to regulate moods as the individual returns to a sober life in recovery.

Various complementary therapies, such as adventure therapy, equine-assisted therapy, or massage therapy, may be included in drug abuse treatment programs; however, specifics will vary according to the facility’s treatment options and/or willingness to accommodate a patient’s treatment preferences. The most important aspect of care is that treatment is tailored to the individual's specific situation. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to recovery, per NIDA; it's imperative that care is customized according to the individual and their progress in recovery.

Drug Abuse Recovery Quiz question 5

Lastly, in group sessions, drug addicts have the opportunity to create meaningful friendships. These friends can provide much-needed support during moments of weakness.

Drug Abuse Recovery Quiz question 6

The toll-free Drug Abuse Helpline at 1-888-744-0069Who Answers? can assist you in finding a drug abuse recovery program that meets your individual needs. Call today for a free, confidential analysis and the treatment information you're looking for. Our staff is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to help you take the steps to a successful recovery.

Additional Drug Abuse Recovery Tools

A number of additional effective drug abuse recovery tools are available for those seeking alternative treatment methods. For instance, some programs may incorporate meditation techniques. Meditation may help patients gain more control over their thoughts and behaviors and increase self-awareness.

Holistic-oriented drug treatment programs may also provide alternative exercise programs like yoga. Yoga practices go hand in hand with meditation techniques and may help patients relax and gain focus on their goals in recovery.

Art therapy and music therapy, another holistic treatment method, allows individuals to "communicate" deep-seated feeling through creative expression.

Each drug abuse recovery program is different, and every program will show you how a certain technique will help minimize the need for drug use. These drug abuse recovery tools will help you find alternative ways of dealing with stress, anxiety, depression, and other unmanageable and self-destructive behaviors.

Video: Thoughts on Recovery: Cliff

In the following video, a physician who's been in recovery for 15 years gives his thoughts on getting help for addiction.

Credit: National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA/NIH)

Inpatient Treatment and Recovery

Many inpatient (both short and long-term) drug recovery programs are treated in therapeutic residential settings. Services provided include:

  • Professional staff of physicians, nurses, therapists and support staff.
  • Detoxification services.
  • Careful monitoring of the physical consequences associated with drug recovery.
  • Treatment of psychological effects.
  • Medical monitoring.
  • Identification and treatment of dual diagnosis conditions.
  • Aftercare plan.

A drug recovery program's primary goal is to help individuals attain a permanent and total abstinence from drug use. An important point of emphasis in these treatment facilities will be that recovery depends upon utilization of all the skills acquired to achieve long-lasting recovery. The combination of a relapse prevention plan, alumni support and aftercare provide those in recovery with the necessary skills to maintain their sobriety.

Getting Help Today

Recovery is a bold step, requiring commitment and determination.

No matter how long you have taken drugs, recovery is always possible. Simply call the hotline at 1-888-744-0069Who Answers? today and you can begin returning to a healthy, fulfilling life. If you're calling on behalf of a loved one, be sure that they're ready to make a change.

Recovery is a bold step, requiring commitment and determination. However, the strength to end drug addiction and embrace health is within everyone.


Last updated on November 13, 2018
Finding the perfect treatment is only one phone call away!