Drug Treatment-Does It Work?

Does drug treatment work?

Addiction is a challenging disorder. Relapses often will happen, which can be frustrating and disheartening for the person using drugs and their family. But does treatment for addiction really work? It can- and does- for many people. Treatment varies from attending peer support meetings to staying in a residential treatment facility. Some people might use medications to help them reduce cravings for the drug.

Treatment is more than getting sober

While getting sober from drugs is an important first step, it is only the beginning of the recovery process. Once sober, the brain needs time to recover and rebuild connections that have changed while addicted. In this period, depression and cravings to use can be intense and very hard to fight. Without support, relapse is very likely. Good treatment helps you develop new coping skills to deal with stressful situations and triggers for relapse. Without these skills, stressful situations frequently trigger relapse.

Getting started

Realizing that you have a problem and that you need help is a tremendous first step. The following resources are a good place to start:

Peer support (AA, NA). A good place to reach out for support is a peer support group like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA). These peer support groups provide a place to share struggles with addiction and what others have done to stay sober. More information about these groups is below.

Therapy. If you are seeing a therapist, share your intentions with him or her. A therapist can be a good resource and support for addiction treatment.

Medical professional. Some drugs create withdrawal symptoms that require medical intervention. There are also medications that may help make withdrawal symptoms more comfortable. Your primary care doctor can be a good starting reference, and you may want to consider working with an addiction medicine specialist.