Substance Abuse Treatment Programs

April 14, 2008

For all practical purposes, substance abuse treatment programs employ a three-stage agenda — detoxification, followed by treatment, and finally relapse prevention. There are three forms of treatment programs that are the subject of this content, namely programs that us medicinal treatment, behavioral treatments, and treatment programs within the criminal justice system.

The treatment process oftentimes utilizes medications to help with various aspects of the treatment process. Medications are usually prescribed to alleviate withdrawal symptoms during the detoxification process, but this is not to be considered as part of the treatment. It has been proven that patients who go through medicinally assisted withdrawal that is not done in conjunction with treatment show drug abuse tendencies that are similar to people who do not receive treatment. Medications are also used to restore normal brain functions, prevent relapsing, and diminish cravings

Assisting patients in the treatment program, increasing healthy life skills, and to the modification of attitudes and behaviors are the goals of the behavioral treatment process. Helping individuals to remain in the treatment program and enhancing the effectiveness of medications are also important aspects of the behavioral process.

Another form of behavioral treatment is the outpatient behavioral treatment process. There are numerous effective programs that are part of the outpatient process, but the four most common ones are:

1. cognitive behavioral therapy
2. motivational incentives
3. motivational interviewing
4. multidimensional family therapy

There are also the residential treatment programs that last between 6 and 12 months and are an in-patient type of treatment held in a non-hospital setting.

The sole purpose of treatment within the justice system is to prevent the offender from returning to criminal behavior. The treatment usually continues once the individual begins the transition back into society. Statistics show that this form of treatment can reduces drug abuse by nearly 50%, reduces criminal activity by as much as 80%, and reduces arrests over 64%.


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