Struggling with addiction? New guide helps sort out treatment options

January 20, 2012
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prescription drugsIndividuals and families trying to find treatment for addiction can turn to a new resource developed by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Seeking Drug Abuse Treatment: Know What to Ask, is available to the public free online or in hard copy through NIDA's DrugPubs service.

"Treatment options can vary considerably, and families often don't know where to begin," said NIDA Director Dr. Nora D. Volkow. "This booklet highlights the treatment components that research has shown are critical for success, to help people make an informed choice during a very stressful time."

The new publication is based on a NIDA resource describing the principles of drug addiction treatment from a research-based perspective. It recommends five helpful questions people should ask and explains what the research has found to be most effective. Specifically, the booklet explores these themes:

• Is the program's treatment plan backed by scientific evidence?
• Is it tailored to the individual needs of each patient?
• Does the program assess and adapt treatment as the patient's needs change?
• How long should the treatment take?
• How do 12 step programs fit into drug addiction treatment?

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, in 2010 an estimated 22.1 million persons aged 12 years or older were classified with substance dependence or abuse in the past year (8.7 percent of the population aged 12 or older). The goal of drug abuse treatment is to stop drug use and help people return to productive functioning in the family, workplace, and community. However, keeping patients in treatment long enough to achieve that goal can be difficult. Finding the right treatment for an individual's specific needs is critical. This booklet describes available medications and evidence-based behavioral therapies; the need for comprehensive, tailored, and sustained treatment; as well as the reality of relapse and the role of community-level support.

The guide can be found online at: www.drugabuse.gov

Hard copies can be ordered by calling 1-877-NIDA-NIH (1-877-643-2644) or by going online at drugpubs.drugabuse.gov/.

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