What are treatments for drug addiction?

Several therapies exist for treating substance use disorder. Even for a severe disorder, treatment can help. Often, you’ll receive a combination of these therapies:

  • Detoxification: You stop taking drugs, allowing the drugs to leave the body. You may need healthcare supervision to detox safely.
  • Medication-assisted therapies: During detox, medicine can help control cravings and relieve withdrawal symptoms.
  • Behavioral therapies: Cognitive behavioral therapy or other psychotherapy (talk therapy) can help deal with addiction’s cause. Therapy also helps build self-esteem and teaches healthy coping mechanisms.

What medications are available to help with substance use disorder?

Medication may be part of your treatment plan. Your care team figures out the best medications for you. Medication-assisted treatments are available for:

  • Opioids: Methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone are FDA-approved for the treatment of Opiate Use Disorder.
  • Alcohol: Three FDA-approved drugs include naltrexone, acamprosate and disulfiram (Antabuse®).
  • Tobacco: A nicotine patch, spray, gum or lozenge can help. Or your doctor might prescribe bupropion (Wellbutrin®) or varenicline (Chantix®).

Is treatment for drug addiction inpatient or outpatient?

Both inpatient and outpatient treatment plans are available, depending on your needs. Treatment typically involves group therapy sessions that occur weekly for three months to a year.

Inpatient therapy can include:

  • Hospitalization.
  • Therapeutic communities or sober houses, which are tightly controlled, drug-free environments.

Self-help groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous can help you on the path to recovery. Self-help groups are also available for family members, including Al-Anon and Nar-Anon Family Groups. Participation in 12-step based recovery work has been proven to improve outcomes.

Is there a cure for substance use disorder?

There is no cure for drug addiction. People can manage and treat addiction. But there is always a risk that the addiction will return. Managing substance use disorder is a lifelong job.

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