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Seeking Drug Abuse Treatment: Know What To Ask

2. Does the program tailor treatment to the needs of each patient?

No single treatment is right for everyone. The best treatment addresses a person's various needs, not just his or her drug abuse.

Matching treatment settings, programs, and services to a person's unique problems and level of need is key to his or her ultimate success in returning to a productive life. It is important for the treatment approach to be broad in scope, taking into account a person's age, gender, ethnicity, and culture. The severity of addiction and previous efforts to stop using drugs can also influence a treatment approach.

The best programs provide a combination of therapies and other services to meet a patient's needs. In addition to drug abuse treatment, a patient may require other medical services, family therapy, parenting support, job training, and social and legal services.

Finally, because addictive disorders and other mental disorders often occur together, a person with one of these conditions should be assessed for the other. And when these problems co-occur, treatment should address both (or all conditions), including use of medications, as appropriate.

Medications Available To Treat Drug Addiction Image of different types of medications

Currently, medications are available to treat opioid, tobacco, and alcohol addictions:

  • Methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone are used to treat people addicted to opiates (e.g., heroin, prescription pain relievers);
  • Nicotine patches, gum, lozenges, nasal spray, and the medications varenicline (Chantix) and bupropion (Wellbutrin) are used to treat tobacco addiction; and
  • Disulfiram, acamprosate (Campral), naltrexone, and topiramate (Topamax) are used for treating alcohol dependence.
Medical detoxification is a necessary first step in the treatment of certain addictions, but by itself does little to change long-term drug use.

This page was last updated June 2013