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NIDA 13 Principles

NIDA’s 13 Principles of Effective Treatment

If you’re thinking about seeking help for drug abuse in a residential rehab facility, you might be interested in the fact that the National Institute on Drug Abuse has published 13 Principles of Effective Treatment. The existence of these principles means that treatment providers have standards to guide them, even though their treatment backgrounds may differ or the regulations about drug abuse may vary from state to state. Here they are, paraphrased to fit our available space:

  1. Addiction is a treatable but complex disease. We also know it affects brain function and the way we behave. Because relapse remains an ever-present risk, treatment should always be followed by an aftercare program to safeguard against that risk.
  2. Treatment programs should be tailored for individuals. Everybody is different, because they use different drugs, they have different personalities, and their family dynamics vary. Mental health issues such as mood disorders require consideration. A person’s treatment plan should be tailored to fit his individual complexities.
  3. Access to treatment should be immediate. People usually hem and haw about going into treatment, so when they make the decision to go, the treatment door needs to be open.
  4. The patient’s entire needs must be met. The treatment plan must address not only his drug use but also his social, legal, and financial obstacles, as well as his cognitive, emotional, and behavioral issues.
  5. Length of treatment should be adequate. Most states require the least restrictive level of care, at least initially, so most people start with outpatient, then move on to intensive outpatient, and may end up in residential.
  6. Therapeutic plans should include behavioral objectives. First, the patient must learn to recognize his cravings and learn how to manage triggers. Then he also must address his relationships with family, friends, and possibly even coworkers.
  7. Pharmacologic management should be considered. For those with emotional or mental health issues, which can range from attention deficit disorder to bipolar—plus everything more and less than that—medications may be useful. There are some medications such as Naltrexone that aid in addiction therapy.
  8. Reviewing the treatment plan takes place regularly. At a 90-day residential treatment center, the plan will be reviewed every 30 days or as needed. As the patient progresses through treatment, his needs will change.
  9. Addressing mental health issues is a primary aspect of care. Almost half of those struggling with addiction also suffer from a mental health disorder. If the care provider does not help the patient to manage it, then the patient cannot achieve recovery.
  10. Medication-assisted detox helps many, but it is not an end on its own. While many residential treatment centers offer abstinence-based treatment only, many offer methadone or buprenorphine therapy. It will not work, however, without supportive therapy.
  11. The patient does not have to admit himself. Most rehab centers require that the patient be willing to begin treatment. However, if a friend or family member can help get the patient backed into a legal corner, and he chooses rehab over jail, it is still a choice, and he will benefit.
  12. As the patient progresses through treatment, his progress must be monitored. It’s the only way to safeguard against relapse, which most people experience at one point or another. Just remember that relapse can strengthen recovery.
  13. Patients should be monitored for infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, hepatitis, and HIV/AIDS. Injecting drugs puts the patient at a high risk for these illnesses. Even the person who is not injecting will be at risk because of high-risk behaviors such as multiple sexual encounters and socializing with people who may carry these illnesses.

Addiction treatment has become an all-encompassing, thoroughly monitored therapeutic regimen for the person struggling with this illness. Call your local residential rehab facility today for information, whether it’s for yourself or for someone close to you.

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