NIDA Principles of Addiction Treatment

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A Look at NIDA Principles of Addiction Treatment Part 1

The article entitled “Principles of Effective Treatment” from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is a comprehensive and informative summation of best practices in the field of addiction treatment. We are going to highlight some of the 13 suggestions here and provide some commentary.

  • Addiction is a complex but treatable disease that affects brain function and behavior

Thankfully, society is now widely accepting what the field of medicine has known for some time – that addiction is not a choice, but a disease. If you are reading this and you are concerned about your drug use or that of your loved one, this is something that should guide every decision you make, because there is treatment available that truly works and our ability to help recovering individuals thrive in a life free of drugs or alcohol is only getting better as time progresses.

  • Treatment does not need to be voluntary to be effective
  • Drug use during treatment must be monitored continuously, as lapses during treatment do occur 

These two  principles are very important for the family of the person who needs addiction treatment. Obviously, the fact that NIDA makes a point to mention that treatment doesn’t need to be voluntary should be cause enough for the family member to take action on behalf of their loved one and start the wheels of change moving even without their loved one’s consent.

If someone you know is unwilling to admit they have a problem or  accept treatment (which is quite normal), there is a well-worn path to having them receive treatment that professional addiction counselors will walk you down. Enlisting the help of an interventionist is quite common in this scenario, and if you call our intake counselors, we can help connect you with the resources you need.

Along these same lines, testing regularly for drug or alcohol use throughout treatment is a must. If a relapse occurs it can become a valuable learning experience when addressed appropriately. The recovering person can work with their counselor to identify the triggers the preceded the relapse and plan on taking positive action in response to these triggers if and when they occur in the future. At NorthStar Transitions, we provide the most comprehensive drug testing available.

  • Medically assisted detoxification is only the first stage of addiction treatment and by itself does little to change long-term drug abuse.
  • Remaining in treatment for an adequate period of time is critical. 

These two principles are key to planning the length of treatment that one will undergo to address a chemical dependency.  We’ve written at length about what the first 12 months in recovery should look like. In our other blogs we highlight studies that correlate length of treatment to better long term outcomes (length of sobriety).

After initial detox and acute or “primary” treatment occurs in the first 1-3 months of sobriety, it is crucial that the recovering person continue with some kind of continued contact with clinical professionals and a supportive community of recovering people. Residing in a sober living home is recommended as an alternative to returning home – which is particularly not recommended if it’s where the person last resided while they were using drugs or alcohol.

We are Here to Help

Keep an eye out for part 2 of our look at NIDA’s principles of effective treatment which we will publish next week.  Of course, if you would like to speak with one of our intake counselors about anything in this article or the drug use of someone you care for, we are standing by to help you at 303-625-6335.

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