Treatments and drugs

By Mayo Clinic Staff

The treatment options explained below can help you overcome an addiction and stay drug-free.

Chemical dependence treatment programs

Treatment programs usually offer:

  • Individual, group or family therapy sessions
  • A focus on understanding the nature of addiction and preventing relapse
  • Levels of care and settings that vary depending on your needs, such as outpatient, residential and inpatient programs

Detoxification

The goal of detoxification, also called "detox" or withdrawal therapy, is to enable you to stop taking the addicting drug as quickly and safely as possible. For some people, it may be safe to undergo withdrawal therapy on an outpatient basis. Others may need admission to a hospital or a residential treatment center.

Withdrawal from different categories of drugs — such as depressants, stimulants or opioids — produces different side effects and requires different approaches. Detoxification may involve gradually reducing the dose of the drug or temporarily substituting other substances, such as methadone, buprenorphine, or a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone.

Counseling

As part of a drug treatment program, counseling — also called talk therapy or psychotherapy — can be done by a psychologist, psychiatrist, or licensed alcohol and drug counselor with an individual, family or group. The therapist or counselor can:

  • Help you develop ways to cope with your drug cravings
  • Suggest strategies to avoid drugs and prevent relapse
  • Offer suggestions on how to deal with a relapse if it occurs
  • Talk about issues regarding your job, legal problems, and relationships with family and friends
  • Include family members to help them develop better communication skills and be supportive

Self-help groups

Many, though not all, self-help support groups use the 12-step model first developed by Alcoholics Anonymous. Self-help groups, such as Narcotics Anonymous, help people who are addicted to drugs.

The self-help support group message is that addiction is a chronic disorder with a danger of relapse. Self-help support groups can decrease the sense of shame and isolation that can lead to relapse.

Your therapist or counselor can help you locate a self-help group. You may also find support groups in your community or on the Internet.

Dec. 05, 2014

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