Guide to Treating Alcohol and Drug Addiction

Posted November 25, 2021 by in Lifestyle

Alcohol, drug, and other addiction-related misuse are among the world’s largest addictions. They are credited for the death of 11.8 million people each year. This number is bigger than the number of deaths caused by all cancers together.

In the U.S., one in 10 children lives in a home with a parent that has an addiction problem. In this article, we will address treating alcohol and drug addiction, through tips, signs, and treatment methods of this problem:

When is it Time for Treatment?

The time for treatment of addiction-related problems begins when a pattern occurs. You use the substance too much, too often, and too fast. The first step of all addictions is when you admit to yourself that you have a problem. The second step is to find proper help for your problem.

If you feel that you drink, abuse substances, or do any addiction-related behaviors too much, too often, or too fast, you might have a problem. Remember that you are not alone, these behaviors are one of the most significant public health issues in the U.S. 

Today, treatment for these problems is easier due to numerous medications, rehab centers, and therapy. Research shows that about one in three people has no more addiction problems after their rehab treatment.

Causes of Alcohol and Drug Addiction

Causes of alcohol and drug addiction can be different from person to person. The key is to understand that addiction is not a simple problem. Addictions are usually the cause of many further problems in the addict’s life. Alcohol and drug addiction can be caused by:

Signs of an Alcohol or Drug Problem

Signs of addiction-related activities are usually not that simple, because multiple factors join to generate them. An alcohol use disorder causes harm to the patient and their surroundings and is diagnosed by a doctor. 

Here are some of the signs of an alcohol and drug use problem. Remember that some signs are easy to detect early, and some are very hard to see and take a long time to develop.

If you’re addicted, the signs can include: 

  • Constant craving for alcohol or drugs
  • Being unable to stop 
  • Using alcohol or drugs even if it causes a medical problem
  • Want to stop but can’t
  • Spending a lot of time on alcohol or drugs
  • Getting more amounts to feel the same effects
  • Health problems
  • Problem with maintaining a normal life
  • Using alcohol or drugs more frequently or in bigger amounts than intended
  • Spending a lot of money on addiction-related activities

Treating Alcohol and Drug Addiction

Addiction-related behaviors can be treated like every other disease. Treatment for alcohol and drug addiction should be done outright and under the control of experienced professionals. A lot of addicts need long-term or repeated care to stop their addiction-related behaviors and recover their lives again.

An effective treatment program should be based on:

  • Base: Quick access to treatment and the consent of the addict
  • Specialized treatment: Every treatment is different and it’s not a one size fits all
  • Persistence: Staying in treatment long enough is critical
  • Detox: The first stage of treatment is the detoxification
  • Medication: Medications are an important part of the treatment
  • Mental health: Treatment for co-occurring mental health issues


Detox is the first step of recovery from alcohol and drug addiction. Detoxification methods are safety methods that help one withdraw from alcohol and drugs. Detox alone can’t be the only weapon in this battle, but can be the start of the war. Detox is extremely important when heavy drugs are used, and is an essential step of heroin rehab programs.

This step should be done in a medical facility because it may be accompanied by dangerous symptoms like seizures and delirium. During this process, patients may receive medication to help their recovery.

Behavioral Treatments

Behavioral treatment is the most popular treatment for alcohol and drugs addictions. Behavioral treatment is based on counseling, led by an expert. These therapies may include individual and group therapy sessions. Behavioral therapy helps people by:

  • Adapting their addiction-related behaviors
  • Trying a different and healthier lifestyle than before
  • Carrying on with other forms of treatment
  • Working to set reachable goals
  • Learning healthier ways to cope with stress

Types of behavioral treatments often used as part of general rehab as well as treatment for dual diagnosis are:

  • Motivational enhancement therapy
  • Marital and family counseling
  • Brief interventions

Motivational Enhancement Therapy

Some of the best addiction treatment centers use MET as part of the rehab process. This is a therapy designed to motivate patients to stop or reduce using opiates. On the other hand, the therapy is there to boost the patient with positive changes. Motivational enhancement therapy helps patients to:

  • Generate a plan for change
  • Building confidence

Marital and Family Counseling

This method can be useful for patients who want to feel loved again by their families or partners. This type of therapy is used for rebuilding relationships that can be often damaged by addiction-related behaviors and is often used as part of alcohol addiction treatment. In this counseling method, patients can bring family members, significant other, kids, and other loved ones in. Strong family support increases the chance of recovery.

Every inpatient treatment center has its policy about contacting family members. When looking into a treatment center ask about their marital and family counseling options.

Brief Interventions

Brief interventions are usually short counseling sessions. Experts talk with patients about goals, ideas of change, and potential risks. These counseling sessions can be done in private or in a small group of people. 


Medication is an important key in addiction recovery. Today, with modern medicine, a lot of medicaments can be useful to reduce the symptoms and aftermaths of addiction. 

But, medication therapy can’t be effective alone, this therapy should be consistent with other therapies. One can combine this with behavioral therapy. 

Different people react to different medications differently. For medication therapy, patients must be treated by a doctor and get a prescription. 

For alcohol treatment, these are the medications that show results:

  • Naltrexone
  • Acamprosate
  • Disulfiram
  • Topiramate

For drug addiction treatment, these medicaments show results:

  • Methadone 
  • Buprenorphine
  • Naltrexone 

Take Control of Your Life

It is important to choose the right therapy for yourself and to start the journey to your new life. Choose a good rehab center for yourself or a loved one and make your progress more efficient through adequate therapy.

We hope this article helps you with your addiction-related activities and behaviors. Remember that addiction is curable and that a huge amount of people come back from rehab or therapy cured and happy. 

Useful Resources :
North Jersey Recovery Center
Northern Illinois Recovery Center
Harmony Place
Free By The Sea
Kingsway Recovery Center
Coastal Detox
New Directions For Women

*Photos by Valeriia Miller