How are substance use disorders treated?

Studies have shown that detoxification alone is not a sufficient treatment for addiction, and that relapse following detoxification is very common. Therefore, what is advised? Treatment should start with detoxification to clear the person of the chemical substance and then go to abstinence-oriented psychotherapy counseling, potentially combined that with maintenance therapy to prevent a person’s cravings, withdrawals and tendency to relapse. That is the most effective treatment system. 

Substance use disorders are treated with behavioral therapy and in some cases medication. The use of medication is effective for many people, especially when used together with counseling and other behavioral therapies. In fact, combining these approaches can be critical to their success. Behavioral therapies include counseling, psychotherapy, support groups and family therapy. Medications offer help in suppressing withdrawal symptoms and drug craving and in blocking the effects of drugs. For long-term heroin use, pharmacotherapy with medications such as methadone is effective.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.