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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Drug Abuse and Addiction: Treatment & Monitoring
      Category : Health Centers > Addiction and Substance Abuse

Drug Abuse and Addiction

Alternate Names : Substance Abuse

Drug Abuse and Addiction | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

What are the treatments for the condition?

Treatment partly depends on the drug that is used and the personality of the affected person. Treatment is complex. Often it must address the addiction as well as the person's mental and physical health and any work or social problems that occur. Effective treatment may include behavioral therapy, medicines, or some combination of these.

Behavioral therapy helps people:

  • cope with craving
  • avoid contact with drugs
  • prevent or cope with relapse
  • The best drug abuse programs will provide a combination of therapies and services. Successful treatment recognizes or responds to certain important issues.

  • No single treatment will work for all people.
  • Treatment must be readily available for a long enough period of time.
  • Effective treatment meets the multiple needs of the person, not just the drug abuse problem.
  • A plan must repeatedly be assessed and changed to meet changing needs.
  • Counseling and behavioral therapies should be included in the treatment plan.
  • Medicines may be needed along with counseling.
  • Mental illness and drug abuse must be treated at the same time.
  • Medical detoxification will only work as the first stage of a long-term treatment plan.
  • Treatment does not need to be voluntary to be effective.
  • Possible ongoing substance abuse must be monitored.
  • Treatment programs need to detect and treat any infectious diseases and teach people to avoid spreading disease.
  • Recovery can take a long time, and treatment may be needed several times.
  • What are the side effects of the treatments?

    Drug abuse is a chronic problem. There may need to be several kinds and numbers of therapies. The greatest side effect of treatment is the tendency to relapse back into drug abuse and addiction.

    What happens after treatment for the condition?

    Monitoring and therapy are needed at least until a person can function fully and long-term abstinence, or avoidance of drug use, has been achieved. Self-help programs are often helpful in keeping a person sober or "clean."

    How is the condition monitored?

    Monitoring may include the use of drug tests. These can be urine, saliva, or blood tests. Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to the healthcare provider.

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    Drug Abuse and Addiction: Prevention & Expectations


    Author: Terry Mason, MPH
    Reviewer: Melissa Sanders, PharmD
    Date Reviewed: 08/29/01

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