Do Your Research! Three Ways to Approach Addiction Treatment that Change Outcomes

Did you know that people spend more time looking for a new car than they do researching the addiction treatment center they intend to send their loved on to? This is a terrible mistake, because not all treatment centers or their programs are the same. How a rehab understands addiction will have a tremendous impact on how it treats the problem, along with the kind of results it gets from that treatment. Here are three treatment frameworks you should consider and ask about when you’re researching addiction treatment centers.

  1. Is the problem a spiritual malady?

    Treatment facilities that view addiction as a spiritual problem generally use 12 step programs or religious “treatment” models as the foundation of their approach to addiction recovery. While this might sound reasonable, especially to families in need of a “miracle,” these recovery programs have the lowest recovery rates, if the recovery rate is tracked at all.

  1. Is the problem considered a disease?

    Some health professionals consider addiction to be a biological condition like cancer or heart disease. They will call it a chronic, relapsing disease that needs to be managed. In this model, addiction is seen primarily as an illness that can put limits an individual’s power to change their life experience. Be wary of addiction treatment programs that don’t make empowering the individual to recreate their life a keystone of success. Programs that use this model are likely to heavily rely on medication assisted treatment (Suboxone, methadone, etc.). These types of therapies may or may not be appropriate for your addicted loved one.

  1. Is the problem a neurological/behavioral disorder?

    Leading edge science identifies addiction as a behavioral disorder that changes the structure and function of the brain. Treatment centers that view addiction in this way use a variety of evidence-based treatment methods that both work to expose and heal the underlying psychological causes of addiction and change the way the brain functions, so that the addict learns to live in a healthier, addiction-free way. This framework specifically focuses on changing the neural connections the addict’s brain develops in the addiction process. Viewing addiction and possible treatment options through this lens allows for both psychological and behavioral therapies and interventions, making it a versatile way to treat a condition innately unique to each individual.

Most people simply go to the addiction treatment center that is closest to their home. Do not fall into that trap. Many of the treatment options available to you may look or seem the same, but ask a lot of questions, because the differences among addiction treatment providers are great. Paying close attention to how a facility treats addiction is critical to recovery. You need to choose the type of program that you believe will be best for your loved one and give them the best opportunity to recover long term. Of course, maintaining recovery may incorporate therapeutic elements from all three of these frameworks, and that’s OK too. What’s most important is that you find the treatment that work best for your particular needs and situation.


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