How are different types of addiction treated?

Drug addiction can be treated through detoxification (the process of the drug leaving the body), behavioral therapies and drug-assisted therapies. In many cases a combination of therapies is used. Behavioral therapy is used to help change attitudes about drug misuse and advocate a healthy lifestyle.

Medications can be given to help with withdrawal and other symptoms of addiction during treatment. The method of treatment is not one-size-fits-all. There are different options for different types of addiction. A few drug-assisted treatment options include:

  • Opioids: there are several drug-assisted treatment options for opioid addiction. They include methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone.
  • Alcohol: the FDA has approved three drugs for use in alcohol addiction treatment. These include naltrexone, acamprosate, and disulfiram.
  • Tobacco: addiction to tobacco can be treated with Nicotine (as a patch, spray, gum, or lozenge). The FDA has also approved the medications bupropion and varenicline.

In-patient and out-patient therapies are also available treatment options. These often involve group therapies and can occur weekly (out-patient) or for as long as 6-12 months (in-patient).

Can you cure drug addiction?

No. Similar to other long-lasting diseases, addiction cannot be cured in the traditional sense. It can be managed and treated. The risk of falling back into an addiction may be present for the rest of the person’s life.

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