A Look at NIDA Principles of Addiction Treatment Part 2

Click here to read part 1.We are going to finish our look at the influential document “Principles of Effective Treatment” written by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). This is simply a fantastic summary of their findings and a great look at what are deemed to be the critical components of addiction treatment. We are going to highlight some of the 13 suggestions here and provide some commentary.

  • No single treatment is appropriate for everyone
  • Effective treatment attends to multiple needs of the individual, not just his or her drug abuse
  • An individual's treatment and services plan must be assessed continually and modified as necessary to ensure that it meets his or her changing needs

These three principles point to findings that treatment should be personalized, holistic, and flexible. At NorthStar Transitions, we carefully and thoroughly assess the individual's:

  • History of substance abuse
  • Medical history
  • Family and social history

By closely assessing all of these, we are able to personalize the components of the treatment program we design for someone. Every person who comes to our treatment program has a unique personal story and set of beliefs. To achieve a great outcome, it is important that we "meet them where they are" and choose therapeutic processes that the person will respond positively to. As treatment progresses, our clinicians will closely monitor the progress of the individual and how they are responding to the various components of the treatment program we designed for them. We will then adjust the treatment regimen accordingly.

  • Behavioral therapies—including individual, family, or group counseling—are the most commonly used forms of drug abuse treatment

Notice that the NIDA article does not go so far as to say "most effective" forms of drug abuse treatment but rather refer to behavioral therapies as the "most commonly used." This is because behavioral therapies are a powerful tool in the treatment of addiction, but a comprehensive treatment program will include other activities, like:

  • Educational Workshops
  • Esteem-building activities
  • Physical activities
  • Support group meetings
  • Drug and alcohol testing

All of these processes work together in concert to help the person in treatment really achieve lasting change by addressing their needs on multiple levels. At NorthStar Transitions, we like to make sure that our clients are participating in a wide variety of therapeutic processes so that their recovery program will keep them engaged and moving forward.

  • Many drug-addicted individuals also have other mental disorders
  • Medications are an important element of treatment for many patients, especially when combined with counseling and other behavioral therapies

The statistics are rather surprising when it comes to how often a person who exhibits a substance abuse disorder also displays symptoms of a co-occurring disorder (like depression, anxiety, or trauma). Multiple issues commonly exist and exacerbate each other. The crucial thing to do in these situations is to address the second diagnosis simultaneously with the chemical dependency in order to get holistic and sustainable change.Psychiatric medications can play a positive role in easing someone's transition to recovery. Sometimes a person in recovery has been diagnosed with a mood or behavioral disorder prior to the development of the substance abuse disorder, but other times the substance abuse will create symptoms of such disorders. This is why it is so important to work with trained addiction therapists (like the ones at NorthStart Transitions) to interpret the symptoms and monitor the recovering person's progress.

NorthStar is Here to Help

If you would like to speak with one of our intake counselors about anything in this article or anything else related to treatment for drug and alcohol abuse, we are standing by to help you at 303-625-6335.

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