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Seeking Drug Abuse Treatment: Know What To Ask

4. Is the duration of treatment sufficient?

Remaining in treatment for the right period of time is critical.

Appropriate time in treatment depends on the type and degree of a person's problems and needs. Research tells us that most addicted people need at least three months in treatment to really reduce or stop their drug use and that longer treatment times result in better outcomes. The best programs will measure progress and suggest plans for maintaining recovery. Recovery from drug addiction is a long-term process that often requires several episodes of treatment and ongoing support from family or community.

Relapse Does Not Mean Treatment Failure Therapist listening to a patient

The chronic nature of addiction means that relapsing to drug abuse is not only possible, but likely, similar to what happens with other chronic medical illnesses-such as diabetes, hypertension, and asthma-that have both physical and behavioral components. And like these illnesses, addiction also requires continual evaluation and treatment modification if necessary.

A relapse to drug use indicates a need to re-instate or adjust treatment strategy; it does not mean treatment has failed.

This page was last updated June 2013

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