People living in the United States are at a much higher risk of drug addiction than they were in previous years due to the ongoing opioid epidemic.

Drug abuse and treatment impacts millions of people worldwide and, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), cost the U.S. $740 billion a year. The U.S. Surgeon General’s office estimated that the yearly economic impact of drug and alcohol misuse is $442 billion.

Despite evidence of a drop in prescription opioid abuse, overdose cases have spiked due in large part to synthetic opioids like fentanyl. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of opioid-involved overdose deaths was six times higher in 2017 than it was 1999.

The CDC also estimates that 130 Americans die daily from opioid overdoses.

As the opioid epidemic illustrates, drug addiction is still prevalent and often results in death. This puts people in active addiction and their loved ones under a lot of stress and danger, as addiction is commonly referred to as a “family disease.”

A substance addiction, for example, can destabilize a home environment, disrupt family life, and muddle relationships and compromise the mental, emotional and physical health of a family unit, not to mention its finances, according to Psychology Today.

The most effective way to combat addiction is to seek professional drug treatment. Without access to the evidence-based methods offered in a reputable drug rehab program, substance addiction can worsen. Thus, a professional treatment program is a vital weapon in the fight against drug addiction.

What is Addiction?

Addiction is a brain disease marked by the compulsive use of a harmful substance despite the adverse consequences associated with that pursuit, states the American Psychological Association (APA). The source of that addiction can also be an activity like shopping, gambling, or sex.

Someone with a drug or alcohol addiction will keep using their substance of choice even when it causes problems like health or legal issues.


With addiction comes distorted thinking, behavior, and body functioning, according to the APA. What’s more, an addiction will effectively rewire the brain where someone will display an intense craving toward the substance or activity that controls them. They will find it difficult to stop engaging with that addiction source.

Drug Addiction Risk Factors

The most common factor in determining whether a person develops an addiction is their genetic profile.

The APA states that at least half of a person’s susceptibility to drug addiction can be connected to genetic factors. However, the environment can play a role in determining whether someone develops a substance addiction. Family beliefs and attitudes, along with peer group influence, can determine whether someone decides to use drugs.

The Mayo Clinic lists several factors that can determine addiction:

Family history

A person with a blood relative who is addicted to drugs or alcohol is at greater risk for developing an addiction themselves.

Mental health disorder

Someone with a pre-existing mental health disorder like depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is more likely to succumb to drug addiction.

Peer Pressure

For young people, in particular, peer pressure can be a strong determinant in whether they abuse drugs.

Lack of family involvement

A dysfunctional or difficult family or the lack of an established bond with parents or siblings could make someone more prone to developing an addiction.

Early use

When someone takes up drug use at an early age, it can alter the developing brain. This can make an early user more prone to substance addiction.

Highly addictive drugs

Cocaine and opioids are examples of potent drugs that can quickly produce addiction, compared to other substances. Also, according to the Mayo Clinic, when someone smokes or injects a drug, it can increase the likelihood of addiction.

What is Drug Rehabilitation?

Though it may sound like a silly question at first, asking yourself what drug rehab actually consists of may be difficult to answer.

If it is your first time learning about drug rehab and addiction, there may be some gray areas you are unsure about.

Fortunately, drug rehab is overseen by medical experts at a treatment center. However, having some background knowledge about drug rehab before actually being treated may help you or a loved one during the treatment process.

The term “drug rehab” refers to the medical and/or psychological therapy a patient undergoes to treat a substance disorder.

Substance abuse disorder, or addiction, is recognized as a long-lasting, chronic disease that requires long-term care and attention.

Although it is recognized and referred to commonly as a disease, there is no real one-time “cure” for addiction. It can be effectively treated only through prolonged drug rehab.

Drug rehab centers generally use various treatment and therapy methods to treat addiction.

The primary focus of drug rehab is to prevent clients from engaging in any current or future substance abuse (or addiction) and ensure they receive a safe and effective rehab process.

Depending on how severe someone’s addiction is, that person may participate in either inpatient (living on-site during rehab) or outpatient (living off-site during rehab) treatment. Choosing the right drug rehab center is essential in determining whether treatment is successful, so picking a center should be carefully thought out.

Thankfully, some principles can serve as criteria for effective drug treatment.

What Is Evidence-Based Rehab?

Evidence-based treatment is a key component of effective addiction treatment. Evidence-based therapies are ones that have been tested in scientific research and found to be effective by significant margins. No treatment is 100% effective for everyone, but evidence-based treatment is safer and more likely to work than untested or unproven treatment options.

Examples of evidence-based addiction treatment options include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Motivational interviewing
  • Contingency management
  • Family behavior therapy
  • Dialectical behavior therapy

Several evidence-based medications can be used to treat substance use disorders, including naloxone, methadone, and naltrexone.

Alternative therapies are also used in many treatment centers, even reputable ones. Alternative therapies include therapies that have not been tested or backed with evidence from scientific research. But some do hold value for some individuals. For instance, options like art therapy and yoga can increase patient buy-in in therapy, even if they haven’t proven to help with substance use problems directly.

However, it’s important that your treatment center offers treatment that is grounded in evidence-based options, even if they use alternative therapies as supplemental options.

Principles of Effective Drug Treatment

NIDA has developed principles that should undergird an effective treatment program. Its Principles of Effective Treatment can help clients identify drug rehab programs that implement best practices.

According to NIDA, the criteria that compose its Principles of Effective Treatment are:

Principles of Effective Treatment

  • Addiction is a complex but treatable disease that affects brain function and behavior.
  • No single treatment is right for everyone.
  • People need to have quick access to treatment.
  • Effective treatment addresses all of the patient’s needs, not just his or her drug use.
  • Staying in treatment long enough is critical.
  • Counseling and other behavioral therapies are the most commonly used forms of treatment.
  • Medications are often an important part of treatment, especially when combined with behavioral therapies.
  • Treatment plans must be reviewed often and modified to fit the patient’s changing needs.
  • Treatment should address other possible mental disorders.
  • Medically assisted detoxification is only the first stage of treatment.
  • Treatment doesn’t need to be voluntary to be effective.
  • Drug use during treatment must be monitored continuously.
  • Treatment programs should test patients for HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B and C, tuberculosis, and other infectious diseases as well as teach them about steps they can take to reduce their risk of these illnesses.

What Drugs Can You Be Treated for in Drug Rehab?

Several addictive substances are available as prescription drugs or from illicit sources. Addiction is a complex disease, and everyone is different. You may present to treatment with a substance use disorder that involves one or more substances. While there are many addictive drugs, there are a handful of common substances that require drug rehab in the United States. Drugs in the categories of opioids, depressants, and stimulants, have a high abuse and addiction risk and commonly lead to substance use disorders.

  • Opioids. Opioid painkiller rehab is important in light of the opioid crisis of the last few years. Opioids are prescription drugs that include oxycodone and hydrocodone, along with illicit drugs like heroin. Opioids are powerfully addictive. Once you develop an opioid use disorder, they are notoriously difficult to stop using on your own.
  • Alcohol. Alcohol is among the most commonly misused substances in the world, and it is likely to be the most commonly used recreational substance in the United States. Alcohol can be dangerous during withdrawal, and it often requires medical detox. Despite the opioid crisis, alcohol is still among the most common drugs of choice among people in rehab.
  • Depressants. Prescription depressants, like benzodiazepines and barbiturates, are in the same category of substances as alcohol. They slow down the central nervous system, which can be useful for treating seizures, anxiety, and sleep disorders. But, like alcohol, they can be dangerous during the withdrawal phase and often require medical detox.
  • Stimulants. Stimulants include prescription drugs like amphetamine and illicit drugs like cocaine and meth. Stimulants increase activity in your nervous system and flood the brain with dopamine. The intense euphoric high that these drugs can cause makes them extremely addictive. They aren’t usually dangerous during withdrawal, but they can cause severe depression, fatigue, and other unpleasant symptoms.

These are the most common drugs to cause substance use disorders, but they aren’t the only drugs that may be treated in drug rehab. Drugs like marijuana, MDMA, and others aren’t associated with substance use problems to the same degree as opioids, depressants, and stimulants, but they may be addressed in treatment if you feel you have a problem with them. Sometimes these drugs are used alongside more addictive drugs, and quitting them can be a challenge.

Drug Rehabilitation Process

Although every case is different and should be treated as such, drug addiction rehab, more often than not, follows an overall structure.

The different care levels a treatment center provides usually change according to the severity of the addiction, not the type of drug — contrary to popular belief.

The wide variety of methods and therapies that treatment centers offer ensure that no matter the addiction, a specifically tailored drug rehab process plan can be implemented to meet your needs.

Drug rehabilitation offers clients medical supervision and care.

However, the level of medical intervention changes throughout each level of care. For example, those who enter a residential or inpatient program will have a different level of care from someone in an outpatient program.

The former is typically recommended for clients with severe addictions while the latter is assigned to people with milder cases.

Over time as clients progress through the steps of drug rehab, medical supervision will begin to lessen, and they will be granted more freedom. Still, with freedom comes responsibility.

When a patient is granted freedom, they are entrusted to remain sober and avoid a relapse. When the patient is not responsible enough and relapses, it is detrimental to the overall treatment process.

By encouraging patients to work their way toward more privileges, drug rehab centers teach responsibility and how to prevent relapse in stressful situations.


Medical detoxification is the first and one of the most important steps in drug rehab. It is often considered the most difficult step.

Medical detox is utilized to safely manage the acute physical symptoms of withdrawal, which occur once drug use stops, according to NCBI.


Substance abuse can lead a user to develop drug tolerance, dependence, and ultimately, addiction. Addiction causes toxins and drug residue buildup in the body.

The detox process functions to remove the substance and associated toxins and residue from the body.

By slowly tapering off the substance of addiction, and through the use of expertly administered medications, drug rehab centers ensure that medical detox is not only fast but also effective.

As a result, the patient will experience various psychological and physical withdrawal symptoms that cause discomfort and can sometimes even be fatal.

With the removal of the substance and associated residue, a patient’s brain will become chemically unbalanced. That is where a certified medical staff can administer various treatments to ease those withdrawal symptoms and help a patient achieve stabilization.

Doctors will be available 24-7, and patients will receive around-the-clock medical supervision in detox to best prevent relapse and discomfort.

Here at Arete Recovery, we have a qualified staff of professional physicians, nurses, doctors, and case managers who are more than experienced in the processes of drug rehab.

Upon arrival at Arete, a patient is evaluated and diagnosed by a team of experts to devise a treatment plan specifically tailored to your needs.


After successfully detoxing, a patient will then follow the path of treatment into either an inpatient or outpatient treatment program. Inpatient programs encompass intensive inpatient treatment and residential treatment.

While a patient is engaging in inpatient recovery programs, they are required to live on-site at a treatment facility, regardless of if it is long-term or short-term.

By living on-site, the patient is provided an environment in which they can focus primarily on recovery without the outside distractions and temptations that can lead to relapse or any other outcome detrimental to recovery.

To ensure successful inpatient treatment, all focus must be directed toward making the patient feel as comfortable and confident as possible.

Full-time intensive inpatient care requires the person to follow a strict schedule that was developed especially for them.

Also, states NIDA, long-term residential treatment is highly structured and can be confrontational, with activities designed to help residents examine damaging beliefs, self-concepts, and destructive behavioral patterns and adopt new, more harmonious and constructive ways to interact with others.

Drug addiction can be tough to treat in many situations, and thus, many drug rehab centers have a dynamic and well-thought-out curriculum.

To understand how to treat addiction, doctors and patients will work together to determine what the roots of addiction are and come up with a long-term relapse prevention plan that best works for the person in recovery.

Patients who are in an inpatient program not only interact with their doctors and clinicians but also with other people undergoing treatment.

While methods and therapies may vary slightly from center to center, the essential aspects of treatment remain constant across drug rehab centers, with social interaction being among the most important factors.

Learning how other patients maintain sobriety and simply being around people you can relate to aids greatly in your transition from treatment back to everyday life.


Inpatient treatment is useful in treating the long-term psychological addictions that someone may have.

When it comes to physical addiction and dependence, outpatient treatment is the optimal, shorter-term treatment.

People who have a stable living environment at home while also grappling with severe addiction should consider enrolling in an outpatient treatment program.

Outpatient is a term used to describe any treatment placement that at no point requires a patient to live on-site at a facility.

The different levels of outpatient care—partial hospitalization (PHP), intensive outpatient (IOP), and routine outpatient (OP)—are all unique, each developed to treat various cases of addiction.

Partial Hospitalization

Partial hospitalization (PHP) is the first level of outpatient treatment. Partial hospitalization is defined as a form of outpatient care that involves the client participating in therapy at a treatment center for at least five days a week. This program has been formulated to provide a patient with an environment akin to a “full-time” treatment program.

After the end of each “work” day (of therapy), a patient returns home after the day of treatment. Partial hospitalization provides constant medical support and supervision while also providing patients the freedom to interact with friends and family outside of treatment.

Intensive Outpatient Treatment

Intensive outpatient treatment (IOP) requires a patient to attend a minimum of nine hours per week, generally reaching up to 20 hours per week on some occasions.

Intensive outpatient care provides a therapeutic approach to treatment, feeling like less of a full-time responsibility and more of a part-time one.

The client may maintain multiple personal responsibilities outside of treatment, such as making time for friends and family, work, and school.

Routine Outpatient

As the final level of outpatient care, routine outpatient is more suited for long-term, less severe addictions.

Routine outpatient programs only require an hour or two of therapy per week, and it is commonly used as an aftercare program to aid in relapse prevention.

At this point in treatment, a patient should be in a more stable mental and physical state than before and should show signs of independence and responsibility.

OP’s relaxed approach to treatment makes it exceptional in providing extra support from drug rehab back to everyday life.

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