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Drug Addiction Treatment is intended to help addicted individuals stop compulsive drug seeking and use. Treatment can occur in a variety of settings (including in-patient residential or out-patient facilities). It may also take many different forms, and for different lengths of time.

Because drug addiction is typically a chronic disorder characterized by occasional relapses; a short-term, one-time treatment episode is usually not sufficient. For many, treatment is a long-term process that involves multiple interventions and regular monitoring. There are a variety of evidence-based approaches to treating addiction. Drug treatment can include behavioral therapy (such as individual or group counselling, cognitive therapy, or contingency management), medications, or their combination.

The specific type of treatment or combination of treatments will vary depending on the patient’s individual needs and, often, on the types of drugs they use. Many treatment programs employ both individual and group therapies.

Group therapy can provide social reinforcement and help enforce behavioral contingencies that promote abstinence and a non-drug-using lifestyle. Some of the more established behavioral treatments, such as contingency management and cognitive-behavioral therapy, are also being adapted for group settings to improve efficiency and cost-effectiveness. However, particularly in adolescents, there can also be a danger of iatrogenic, or inadvertent effects from group treatment; thus, trained counsellors should be aware and monitor for such effects. The severity of addiction and previous efforts to stop using drugs can also influence the drug addiction treatment approach. Finally, people who are addicted to drugs often suffer from other health (including other mental health), occupational, legal, familial, and social problems that should be addressed concurrently.

The best programs provide a combination of therapies and other services to meet an individual patient’s needs. Specific needs may relate to age, race, culture, sexual orientation, gender, pregnancy, other drug use, comorbid conditions (e.g., depression, HIV), parenting, housing, and employment, as well as physical and sexual abuse history. Gender-specific treatment options are now more accessible & are often recommended depending on client needs/circumstances.