For those concerned that they or a loved one have a drug or alcohol problem, it is important to get an accurate diagnosis by a qualified health care provider.
If you need addiction treatment, a professional assessment will determine which treatment is right for you.
Sometimes when people stop taking drugs or drinking alcohol they experience withdrawal symptoms—including distress, strong cravings or feeling sick. Withdrawal symptoms are uncomfortable and often cause people to relapse. Withdrawal from alcohol and prescription sedatives can be life-threatening. A doctor – sometimes in combination with other health care professionals – should provide medical supervision of withdrawal, also called detoxification. Although not a treatment itself, detoxification is an important first step in recovery.
People who are addicted to opioids, such as heroin or prescription painkillers like OxyContin®, alcohol, and nicotine should be also assessed by a doctor to see if they may benefit from addiction medication (like methadone, buprenorphine or Vivitrol), particularly if they have struggled with addiction for a long time. Medications can also be helpful for other substance use and mental health disorders.
Therapy (also called counseling) is the most common form of addiction treatment. Effective therapies include cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, community reinforcement approach, contingency management, behavioral couples/family therapy, 12-step facilitation and family therapy for adolescents.
Treatment can be offered in many places – including a private office, a community clinic, a residential facility, or a hospital. The treatment setting that is right for you depends on your needs. Many people will do well in outpatient treatment – others require a higher level of care. An assessment will tell you which setting is best for you.
When choosing a treatment program, look for the following: