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Drug addiction is not discriminatory. It can affect people from all walks of life in any profession and at all ages, but the associated problems and severity of drug addiction can vary widely.

Many individuals addicted to drugs also have mental health, social, occupational or personal problems that make the addiction itself difficult to treat in isolation. Short term fixes can often be achieved but if the underlying cause of the behaviour that propels people into drug addiction is not examined successful drug rehabilitation is not achieved, and relapse is extremely common.

This article on drug addiction treatment is written by Jackie Griffiths, a freelance journalist who writes health, medical, biological, and pharmaceutical articles for national and international journals, newsletters and web sites.


The aim of drug addiction treatment is sustained, long-term abstinence rather than short periods of being drug-free before relapsing into drug use once again. The best drug rehabilitation programmes contain a combination of approaches and treatments, including addressing the physical health issues caused by addiction, issuing medications as substitutes to prevent relapse, therapy for the mind, and coping strategies to help continued prevention.

Treatments also need to take into account the socio-economic background of each addict, and their individual circumstances, such as age, culture, gender, race, sexual orientation, pregnancy, employment, housing and other situations. Each treatment needs to be tailored to match the unique requirements in order to ensure maximum effectiveness.

Drug addiction can be treated in a variety of settings, using a range of approaches for different lengths of time. It’s important to realise that treatment will be long term and there isn’t a quick fix. Many addicts believe they will be able to stop using drugs by themselves and try to stop without treatment. However, drug addiction is a chronic condition characterised by relapses over time, needing multiple intervention, and a short-term one-off treatment is rarely successful. Most addicts trying to cure themselves fail to achieve long-term results.

The nature of the addiction – both the physical and psychological sides mean it’s very difficult to fight the urges without help. Stress at home or at work, meeting acquaintances involved in drugs, stimulants in the environment such as places, smells, objects, can all interact with the physical craving presenting an almost-impossible persuasive force to start again. You will be the first one to believe all the excuses you make up in order to relapse and many people simply don’t have the strength to resist without having gone through prolonged treatment.

Drug addiction can be treated successfully

The overall goal of drug addiction treatment is to enable the individual to completely rehabilitate back into normal society – to once again have a productive and positive place in the family, at work, and in the community.

How long does the treatment take?

Studies show that for both residential and outpatient treatment, participation of ninety days of less will have little or no effect. Some may need drug addiction treatment for up to a year and others for several years – it depends on each individual’s unique circumstances, type of dependency and other problems presented.

Many people undergoing treatment for drug addiction don’t manage to stay the course for the first few attempts. Many people need multiple sessions of treatment in order to reach a successful outcome, often with each session having a cumulative impact overall.

Self-help

Although not recommended as a method of undergoing treatment at first, when an individual has gone through the full drug addiction treatment and has had success with holding off relapsing, self-help groups are recommended for continued recovery. Complementing and extending professional treatment, self-help groups provide a continued level of support after formal treatment.

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Drug addiction - can it be treated successfully?
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