Evidence Based Treatment for Alcohol and Drug Addiction
People with addiction experience severe, uncontrolled cravings and compulsive drug-seeking behaviors despite the devastating consequences of their substance abuse. To overcome this challenging problem, such individuals need evidence based treatment for substance use disorders. In this article, we discuss the meaning of evidence based treatment and how it can help you or a loved one overcome drug or alcohol abuse.
What is Evidence Based Treatment?
Simply put, evidence based treatment is treatment that is backed by scientific evidence. This means a treatment has been found to be safe and effective based on carefully designed research studies.
Evidence-based medicine dates back to many centuries. However, the term evidence based treatment became popular in the 1990s when healthcare professionals began to pay attention to the value of using scientific evidence to support medical decisions. At present, evidence based treatment refers to the practice of clinical decision making that is based on published research findings. It is defined as the conscientious and judicious use of available best evidence to make healthcare decisions about individual patients.
A key feature of evidence based treatment is that it involves a combination of the healthcare provider’s personal experience along with the available data gleaned from various scientific investigations, also keeping in mind the pertinence of these research findings to the patient’s unique clinical state and circumstances. In other words, evidence based treatment is a comprehensive, scientific, and judicious method of treatment that implements research findings in clinical practice. Evidence based medicine is widely used in the treatment of substance use disorders because of its efficacy, benefits, and cost-effectiveness.
Principles of Effective Addiction Treatment
Leading Washington drug rehabs like Discover Recovery offer evidence based treatment for alcohol and drug addiction. Some of the basic principles that are followed for effective addiction treatment are listed below.
No single treatment works for everyone. Meaning, evidence based treatment must match the patient’s situation, the type of drug, and the treatment setting. This is critical for ultimate success in helping a recovering addict return to living a productive, healthy life.
Another factor that’s important for substance abuse treatment to be effective is that evidence based treatment should be started as soon as possible. Addiction is a chronic disease and the sooner treatment is started, the greater the chance of positive outcomes. Therefore, people need to take advantage of programs at a Washington drug rehab facility as soon as they can. Delaying treatment could lead to the development of serious health complications that can make addiction treatment less effective.
Research has shown that remaining in evidence based treatment for an adequate length of time is essential for success. Most people with addiction need at least 3 months of therapy to significantly reduce or stop drug use. It is, therefore, important not to expect a quick fix. Rather, recovering addicts and their family members should understand that addiction treatment is a long-term process and may involve relapses and the need to return to therapy.
Last but not least, evidence based treatment should address the multiple needs of a person rather than simply treating the addiction. This means the treatment should address associated psychological, medical, social, professional, and legal problems.
Evidence Based Pharmacotherapy
Evidence based treatment with pharmacotherapy (medications) is commonly used to treat tobacco, alcohol, and opioid addiction. Various formulations of nicotine replacement therapy such as patches, gum, sprays, and lozenges provide low and stable levels of nicotine to people who are trying to quit smoking. Research has shown that this type of treatment can prevent withdrawal symptoms and keep people motivated to quit.
The FDA has approved several medications to treat alcohol addiction. Naltrexone is an evidence based treatment that is known to reduce relapse by decreasing cravings for alcohol. Acamprosate is another medication used during alcohol rehab because it reduces withdrawal symptoms. Disulfiram or Antabuse promotes abstinence by producing unpleasant symptoms when a person drinks alcohol. These drugs are used in combination with behavioral therapies for alcoholism treatment.
People with opioid addiction (addiction to prescription pain relievers like Oxycontin and Percocet or addiction to the illegal drug heroin) can benefit from evidence based treatment. This involves using long-acting opioids to prevent withdrawal symptoms. Methadone maintenance is widely accepted as an effective treatment to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms in opioid-addicted individuals. Research has shown that methadone maintenance is even more effective when combined with behavioral therapies.
Evidence Based Behavioral Therapies
Once a person has undergone medical detox, behavioral therapies play a critical role in helping that person remain motivated to stay clean. For this reason, behavioral therapies are widely used as an evidence based treatment for people with addictions. The goal of psychotherapy is to improve life skills and reduce the risk of relapse. Behavioral therapies help recovering addicts learn strategies and skills to handle stress, triggers, environmental cues, and cravings that can lead to another cycle of harmful drug use. Various types of behavioral therapies like cognitive-behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, contingency management, motivational incentives, community reinforcement, 12-step programs, and family therapy programs are used as part of evidence based treatment for recovering addicts.
Evidence Based Treatment in Washington at Discover Recovery
Discover Recovery is a leading residential drug rehab facility located in Long Beach, Washington. We are staffed by a highly experienced team of healthcare professionals, including addiction medicine specialists, board-certified physicians, masters level counselors, and registered nurses.
At Discover Recovery, we use evidence based treatment to help people struggling with a variety of addictions, including alcohol, oxycodone, Xanax, opioids, meth, cocaine, and heroin addiction. Our evidence based treatment program for alcohol and opioid abuse includes the use of FDA-approved medications. We also offer a range of behavioral therapies that have proven effectiveness and positive outcomes.
If you or a loved one is battling addiction, evidence based treatment can help you get your life back in order. Get in touch with Discover Recovery today to learn more about your treatment options.