are many addictive drugs, and treatments for specific drugs can differ.
Treatment also varies depending on the characteristics of the patient.
Problems associated with an individual's drug addiction can vary
significantly. People who are addicted to drugs come from all walks
of life. Many suffer from mental health, occupational, health, or
social problems that make their addictive disorders much more difficult
to treat. Even if there are few associated problems, the severity
of addiction itself ranges widely among people.
A variety of scientifically based approaches to drug addiction treatment
exists. Drug addiction treatment can include behavioral therapy (such
as counseling, cognitive therapy, or psychotherapy), medications,
or their combination. Behavioral therapies offer people strategies
for coping with their drug cravings, teach them ways to avoid drugs
and prevent relapse, and help them deal with relapse if it occurs.
When a person's drug-related behavior places him or her at higher
risk for AIDS or other infectious diseases, behavioral therapies can
help to reduce the risk of disease transmission. Case management and
referral to other medical, psychological, and social services are
crucial components of treatment for many patients. The best programs
provide a combination of therapies and other services to meet the
needs of the individual patient, which are shaped by such issues as
age, race, culture, sexual orientation, gender, pregnancy, parenting,
housing, and employment, as well as physical and sexual abuse.
Drug addiction treatment can include behavioral therapy, medications,
or their combination.
Treatment medications, such as methadone, LAAM, and naltrexone, are
available for individuals addicted to opiates. Nicotine preparations
(patches, gum, nasal spray) and bupropion are available for individuals
addicted to nicotine.
The best treatment programs provide a combination of
therapies and other services to meet the needs of the
Medications, such as antidepressants, mood stabilizers,
or neuroleptics, may be critical for treatment success
when patients have co-occurring mental disorders, such
as depression, anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, or
Treatment can occur in a variety of settings, in many
different forms, and for different lengths of time. Because
drug addiction is typically a chronic disorder characterized
by occasional relapses, a short-term, one-time treatment
often is not sufficient. For many, treatment is a long-term
process that involves multiple interventions and attempts