Families and Addiction Treatment Options

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A new resource from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is aimed at helping families find treatment for addicted members. The pamphlet, “Seeking Drug Abuse Treatment: Know What to Ask,” is available as an online resource or download to print out and share.

In a press release, the NIDA director said, “Treatment options can vary considerably, and families often don’t know where to begin. This booklet highlights the treatment components that research has shown are critical for success, to help people make an informed choice during a very stressful time.”

The recommendations are based on the current best practices in drug addiction treatment. In particular, NIDA asks whether the proposed treatment is founded on scientific evidence, whether it is customized to each patient’s unique needs, and how (and when) assessment happens. They also recommend that families find out treatment duration and whether a 12-step program will be part of the care.

Unfortunately for many families, they have no basis other than guessing when it becomes apparent that a loved one needs formal help with an addiction problem. This sometimes leaves them at the mercy of what little information they can gather from their social circle or find online. With this resource, a trusted advisor has entered the fray and given them a checklist they can use to evaluate the programs on offer.

Just as important as find a good treatment program is having realistic expectations about what can, and cannot, be accomplished. The rate of relapse for most drugs quite high, and going in with the realization that addiction treatment will be a long, continual battle, helps keep families from giving up. For example, scientific studies show that three months of treatment is a likely minimum. This fact alone is a wake up for those unfamiliar with the process.

They also talk about the different therapies on offer, what each is and how it fits into the larger treatment picture.

With modern addiction treatment representing a significant investment (both in dollars and emotional stress), it only makes sense that concerned family members find out what they can about it. Having a neutral, well respected source of information is essential.

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