All You Need To Know About Substance Abuse and Treatment Programs

Drug addiction is a condition that has plagued so many families and has reached a point where there is a need to put our best efforts in order to fight it. The war against drugs is a huge call to everyone to participate in preventing the spread of the “disease”, and may have somewhat affected the drug trade in several countries.  Coming up with stricter laws to prevent illicit substances from further harming individuals and families should be a continuous move.

Understanding Drug Addiction

Many people view drug addiction and people afflicted with it with disdain even without any clear understanding of the circumstances that may have contributed to it. They are quick to dismiss a drug addict as a non-person for having made that fateful choice to begin using drugs in the first place.

Drug addiction is a medical condition. It is a disease. Like many diseases of the modern world, it is treatable. It can be managed just as hypertension, diabetes and heart disease are managed by the people suffering from them.

For treatment to be truly effective, it has to be carefully planned according to the specific needs of the person being treated. People in treatment for drug addiction undergo behavioral therapies like counseling, psychotherapy, support group sharing and/or family therapy. Specific medications also help manage the withdrawal episodes that are often the hardest for the patients physically.

Types of Treatment Programs

As modern society faces bigger challenges with drug addiction, more substance abuse treatment centers are opening their doors, each focusing on their own treatment philosophies. As a result, there are now drug rehab facilities that treat patients according to the following:

  • Age
  • Drug of choice
  • Gender
  • Lifestyle
  • Religion

Depending on the severity of addiction, the above programs can also be any of the following:

  • In-patient: the kind of treatment where the services are provided by licensed medical facilities like hospitals.
  • Residential: the patient lives in a medically supervised facility that is not a hospital, where he is able to live a drug-free life in an environment away from familiar surroundings.
  • Short Stay: these typically last for up to 30 days, focusing on getting patients clean, sober and able to resume normal lives. These programs are well-suited for short-term addictions or for patients who have previously completed a full-blown treatment.
  • Outpatient: the patient is free to come and go as he pleases; only coming in for regular visits to attend individual or group counseling. This type of substance abuse treatment program is for drug abusers who have stable, well-integrated lives.

How much will it cost?

After a thorough assessment, the patient will be given appropriate drug abuse treatment options to choose from. From there, insurance and budget considerations can be worked out to come to the least costly option without compromising the integrity of the treatment.

Medical Credentials and Accreditation

It is important to find out if the drug rehab program has the appropriate state licenses and a JCAHO accreditation to prove that it is compliant with quality medical care standards.

Will the patient’s family be involved in the treatment?

In the majority of cases, the patient’s family is integral in the recovery process. Find out how much involvement the patient’s family will have in the treatment program if any.

Is there a continuing care program?

Drug addiction treatment and recovery is an ongoing process. Even if the actual rehab took several months, there are no quick fixes for substance abuse. Everyday back into mainstream society will be a struggle and it is important to get the kind of support that a continuing program provides.

Substance abuse treatment needs commitment. Begin by doing your homework. Learn as much as you can about all the available treatment options.

Key Elements for Drug Addiction Recovery

An effective treatment plan for drug users may vary depending on the kind of substance abused, as well as the degree and duration of misuse. However, the process towards any recovery plan contains the following basic components:

  1. Finding the right rehabilitation center

There are a lot of rehabilitation centers all over the country. Recovering addicts or their loved ones should be able to find the right treatment facility that can provide the support needed, based on the specific needs of the patient.

Initially, the rehabilitation center will provide some diagnostic screening to be able to determine the most optimal treatment plan for the patient. Every detail should be presented: the type of substance used, the amount of substance used, and the length of time that the patient has been using the substance.

The center should be informed about the family history to be able to establish the root cause of addiction. From this information, the treatment facility and the patient’s family should be able to discuss financial arrangements.

It is important that the patient, with the help of the family, will be able to find the right program that can best help him/her. Once he/she feels comfortable to whatever has been presented, then it is more likely that the patient can live a life good health and sobriety.

  1. Detoxification

Detoxification is the process where the abused substance is taken away from the patient’s system. It is not an abrupt process since during this stage the patient may experience withdrawal symptoms ranging from mild to unfavorable.

Medication is usually given to ease the withdrawal symptoms, and this may include opiate prescription drugs and heroin. These same drugs are commonly misused, but if given under direct supervision by a doctor, it should be able to help and not aggravate the patient’s condition.

Withdrawal is the stage wherein the patient may experience unfavorable symptoms due to insufficient amounts of drugs that he used to take, in which case the body may no longer be accustomed to the decrease in substance intake.

Withdrawal symptoms appear within the first 24 hours after the last drug misuse. Symptoms may include:

  • Agitation
  • Cramping
  • Decreased appetite
  • Extreme depression
  • Loss of concentration
  • Muscle tension and pain
  • Headache
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Trembling
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack

Detox Medications

Medications are often given to drug users to help them overcome painful withdrawal symptoms. The drugs to be prescribed will depend on the type of substance used by the patient. The need for these drugs to complete the process is highly important because it is through these medications that the patient will be able to slowly keep up with the normal way on how the bodily systems should work.

  • Barbiturates: These are mild sedatives that help in relieving irritability, anxiety and discomfort. It may also prevent seizures during the detoxification process.
  • Benzodiazepines: These are anxiolytics that are commonly used during alcohol detoxification to help reduce seizures, relieve anxiety or depression, and decrease the severity of withdrawal symptoms.
  • Buprenorphine: This drug is used to treat heroin and opiate prescription medication. However, this was later on replaced by methadone due to the latter’s inability to produce a euphoric feeling.
  • Methadone: This type of drug is given to ease patients who have severe drug addiction problems. The dose is slowly lessened as the process progresses to prevent from being addicted to this drug.
  1. Psychological therapy

After undergoing the detoxification process, the patient is moved to therapy wherein the focus is towards behavior. It is a known fact that drug addiction does not only affect the patient’s body but also largely alters brain functioning to cause impairment in decision-making and other brain activities.

To help patients slowly get back to their normal selves, therapy (which can be individual or with a group) is suggested to the patient.

Psychological therapy focuses on letting the patient realize and confront any existing problems that may have led him/her towards drug addiction. From there, the individual should be able to overcome addiction and have a better perspective on life.

The therapy is not for the patient alone; some programs may include the family as part of the process. It is also important that the family participates in the “healing process” as they have also suffered from their family member’s drug addiction. This can be a great way to speed up the recovery of the patient.

  1. Recovery and aftercare program

Therapy may sound like the end of the rehabilitation program, but some people may have to deal with a lifelong journey of trying to keep sober. There is always a possibility of a relapse most especially if the patient does not stay away from people who may have influenced him to take drugs.

For those who are willing to go on a straight path towards recovery, aftercare programs may help. These programs involve having weekly visits to the rehabilitation centers, conducting regular drug testing, or even allowing recovering individuals to stay at a sobriety clinic for them to participate in group sessions. These programs may also include doing chores until they feel that they can start living normally outside the facility.

Drug Addiction Treatment Options

There are various treatment options available for drug users who opt to recovery from their addiction.

Inpatient recovery programs

This may be the most effective kind of treatment program for patients with co-occurring disorders to be treated. Treatment facilities offer a 24-hour intensive medical care under strict medical supervision where health professionals provide simultaneous care for any co-occurring medical and or mental health conditions.

The inpatient treatment includes:

  • A structured program where patients remain in the facility from 6 to 12 months with the entire community and highly-skilled professionals who will positively influence patients towards having a drug-free kind of life.
  • Short-term residential treatment is the detoxification and initial counseling provided to a drug user, and is offered in preparation for community-based treatment.
  • Recovery housing or sober living homes are offered to patients who have completed the program and are being prepared to face the outside world. This is made possible by providing short-term housing for patients to aid them in making the transition.
  • Inpatient facilities may be in the form of a hospital or a residential facility. Some residential facilities may offer more than what one can expect like living in a luxurious home (resort-like facility) or an executive set-up (where businessmen are allowed to continue with their involvement with their work while being treated inside the facility).

Outpatient behavioral treatment

Some individuals may not require full-time recovery process to be placed in an inpatient treatment setup. They are given schedules on when to check in with their facilitators to check on their progress.

Initial treatment may require frequent visits weekly. After completing the initial stages, the treatment may require fewer meetings per week with shorter hours per session.

This type of program is also given to patients after the detoxification process wherein psychological assessment and rehabilitation is given. This may involve individual or group counseling which may include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy: According to the Psychiatric Clinics of North America, this is a very effective means of helping individuals with substance abuse.
  • Motivational interviewing: This encourages the patient to fully surrender the addiction and to start rebuilding his life.
  • Motivational incentives: These encourage the patient to focus on what motivates him to become better and to completely stay away from drugs.
  • Multidimensional family therapy: This is a great way of involving the whole family in the recovery process.

A 12-step program may be suggested to help patients to fully recover by being with the same individuals who have gone through the same predicament and be able to help one another overcome their addiction completely.

Some of the well-known support groups include the following:

  • Alcoholics Anonymous (AA): A support group for people who are recovering from alcohol addiction.
  • Narcotics Anonymous (NA): This is similar to the Alcoholics Anonymous support group, but focuses on people who are recovering from drug addiction.

Meanwhile, specialized drug recovery support groups that have adopted the 12-step program include Cocaine Anonymous and Heroin Anonymous.

Organizations that Help Amphetamine Addicts and their Families

Despite various government regulations and seizure efforts of illegal amphetamine manufacturers, millions of adults and teenagers alike are continuously lured in abusing amphetamine substances. Global statistics have shown an alarming increase of amphetamine-type substance users in recent years, and sadly, the families of amphetamine dependents are among those that are heavily affected by this problem.

Below are some of the legitimate organizations that amphetamine users and their families can refer to for support, information assistance, and treatment.

Council on Substance Abuse-NCADD

828 Forest Avenue

Montgomery, Alabama 36106


Web Address:

SMART Recovery

7304 Mentor Avenue

Suite F

Mentor, OH 44060

Web Address:


PO Box 11

Center City, MN  55012-0011


Web Address:

Caron Treatment Center

Main Campus: 243 North Galen Hall Road

Wernersville, PA 19565

Web Address:

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc.

244 East 58th Street 4th Floor

New York, NY 10022


Web address:

Reach Out (for Australia residents)


Web Address:

Cedars at Cobble Hill (for Canada residents)


Web Address:

National Drug Information Treatment and Referral Hotline

Phone Number: 800-662-HELP (4357)

The National Drug Information Treatment and Referral Hotline is a number to call if you’re looking for important information such as treatment options for alcohol and drug abuse. You may also call this number for referrals to rehab centers in your area. This helpline operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

National Cocaine Hotline

Phone Number: 800-COCAINE (262-2463)

The National Cocaine Hotline operates 24 hours for seven days a week. Call this number for crisis intervention on all types of drug dependency.

Boys Town National Hotline

Phone Number: 800-448-3000

The Boys Town National, accredited by the American Association of Suicidology, is a resource, crisis and referral hotline that operates 24 hours a day. Seek help from a trained substance abuse counselor regarding being addicted, suicidal, abused or needing assistance with an overwhelming challenge.

National Youth Crisis Hotline

Phone Number: 800-442-HOPE (4673)

Today’s youth need to talk to someone who truly understands what he or she is going through. The National Youth Crisis Hotline provides youth with counseling and referrals to local shelters and drug treatment centers. This 24-hour hotline also helps them deal with suicide, child abuse, molestation and pregnancy.

National Inhalant Prevention Coalition

Phone Number: 800-269-4237

Inhalants are everyday products such as glue and paint. These legal products are very useful but can be misused. The National Inhalant Prevention Coalition (NIPC) deals with this form of substance abuse.

National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Hope Line

Phone Number: 800-622-2255

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Hope Line (NCADD) provides the public with information, education and of course, hope. It promotes prevention, intervention and treatment to those dealing with alcohol and drug abuse.

Marijuana Anonymous

Phone Number: 1-800-766-6779

Marijuana Anonymous is a group of men and women who have one thing in common—the desire to stop using marijuana. This fellowship of men and women is a source of hope and strength for each other to recover from this form of drug addiction.

Mobile Apps To Help In Drug Addiction Recovery

Recovery from addiction can be a difficult process. It would need a lot of support, encouragement and even technology to help the recovering individual become successful with drug addiction recovery.

Over the years, there has been an increase in the number of health-related apps. Nowadays, you can find apps for breaking habits, for tracking goals, and drug addiction recovery. Technology has given recovering addicts convenient and practical tools to help them walk away from addiction. From tracking sober time, managing triggers and emotions, and finding and sharing meetings, apps for addiction recovery are aplenty whether you are using an iPhone or an Android.

Today’s youth just cannot live by without their smartphones. They post and check their Facebook timelines, play games, catch up on the latest news, and send messages to friends using their smartphones. For this reason, an app that can help them recover from drug addiction can make sense.

Here are some smartphone apps that can help with addiction recovery:

Sober Grid

SoberGrid uses geolocation features to help users connect with other people who are close by. The aim of the app is to help recovering addicts strengthen their recovery networks. It also serves as a platform for users to get support when they have a feeling that they might relapse.

SoberGrid also allows users to post their pictures on their Facebook newsfeed as well as block someone from using the app. Android phone users can download the app here.


For people who have just left a rehabilitation or recovery center, a relapse is still possible. They would need a tool that can help tell if such relapse is likely. To address this, software developers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have created an app for achieving such goal.

iHeal comes with a device that is worn on the user’s arm. This gadget is designed to monitor bodily indicators such as body movement, skin temperature, and heart rate. The device also warns users if they are in the “danger zone” and adjusts itself accordingly depending on the situation.

Twelve Steps – The Companion

There are many 12-step-based apps to choose from but Twelve Steps – The Companion is unlike the rest. It is both comprehensive and fun to use. It is also one of the first recovery apps that became available and has undergone several updates already.

The app’s home screen provides the user with their sobriety stats which are displayed in years, months, and years. It also has a “one day at a time” world that counts down the days of recovery until 1,000, which makes the recovery process fun and uplifting.

The app also includes the entire “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous. This feature comes in handy for traveling alcoholics who cannot carry the book all the time wherever they go. The app can be downloaded in the Apple Store as well as in Google Play.

Field Guide To Life Pro

Field Guide to Life Pro is an award-winning app from Betty Ford Foundation. It comes with a year’s worth of addiction recovery support. Among its main features include daily guidance, reminders and inspirations. It also includes a sober counter, a personal progress monitor, community support, and relapse prevention tools.

The app provides access to several video clips of recovery experts and people saying positive and encouraging messages to the recovering addict. App developer Hazelden was the recipient of The White House Behavioral Health Patient Empowerment Challenge Award for offering crucial first-year support to recovering addicts.


A-Chess is an acronym for Addiction-Comprehensive Health Enhancement Support system. The app comes with inputs from treatment providers, clients, family members, primary care providers, and technology experts. It comes with a bevy of features for predicting, detecting, and preventing relapse. With the app, users can connect with other members for support. It also provides the recovering addict with a platform to engage in discussion groups, and have video chat sessions with counselors.

The GPS technology that comes with the app alerts the user when they are near a high-risk location such as a liquor store. One of its most outstanding features is the panic button, which sends a text message to support prompting a response for assistance. While waiting for a response, the app will send helpful features such as relaxation guides, discussion boards, and even a recording of their own motivational recovery story. When they are in a high-risk location, the app will cause the phone to ring, and several recommended coping strategies will be displayed.

Friend of Bill

A simple sobriety counter can already do wonders for any recovering addict, but this easy-to-use app presents the duration of staying sober from years to as detailed as minutes. You have the option to change how this app displays the time of your sobriety. In addition, each significant statistic related to sobriety comes with a slogan to motivate you to go on.

One Day At A Time

Carry the famous Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous on your mobile device. One Day At A Time is an app based on the book. It contains built-in features such as keyword search, access to Daily Meditations, integration of sobriety dates of your fellow recovering addicts, and easy connection to emergency contacts.


One effective method of avoiding relapse is by connecting with peer-recovery experts who can guide people towards full recovery. This is where the Ascent app can provide assistance, by giving users round-the-clock access to coaches who can help them get back on track in case of a potential relapse.

Unlike other downloadable apps, Ascent comes with a package that includes a connection to a coach and a support team. Users of the app can add notes for personal motivation, play videos about recovery, and track progress. It also provides opportunities to learn more about addiction recovery through the community messaging system.

Drug addiction is a treatable and recoverable condition. It is just a matter of knowing your options, the willingness to be treated so you can able to get back on your feet again.