Evidence Based Treatment for Drug and Alcohol Addiction
Healthcare fraud is a growing problem around the world and patients with drug and alcohol addiction are frequently targeted by promises of unfounded, and untested success claims. While there are many reputable treatment facilities that provide exceptional care, not all treatment options are the same. It’s important for patients and their families to protect themselves against treatment options that are expensive and ineffective at providing results.
Evidence Based Treatment, or Evidence Based Medicine (EBM), is a relatively new field that has spread to nursing, psychology, and most recently to the successful treatment of alcohol and drug related addictions. At its most basic level, evidence based treatments conform to the standards that all medical treatment decisions are founded on research studies.
Evidence based decisions are made after reviewing the data gathered from repeatedly testing various treatment options. The data removes the “guesswork” about what works by utilizing methods that have been proven to work over time with a variety of subjects and situations. Intuition may work in some situations but science and evidence are based on fact.
It is reported that only 10% of all U.S. drug rehab facilities utilize some form of evidence-based therapy, and only half of those have doctors on staff. At Inspire Malibu, our program is Science, Research, and Evidence based and we have 2 Medical doctors specializing in Addiction and Psychiatry along with 4 trained Psychologists, and therapists to treat a maximum of 11 clients at a time – an incredibly high “staff-to-client” ratio.
We feel this is necessary because drug and alcohol addiction is a complex illness that develops over time and compromises one’s ability to cope on a voluntary basis. Once the illness becomes compulsive, the brain loses its ability to control behavior.
At this stage, medication therapy and behavior therapy are necessary to overcome the stifling effects of the addiction. Successful treatment is never an easy road. It is a process that takes time and includes not only detoxification or medical withdrawal but also relapse prevention. Which is why it is so important to incorporate a science and evidence based approach supervised by a trained physician.
Evidence Based Biological Treatment
Medications to Treat Withdrawal
Many patients develop a tolerance to a particular substance, so a doctor can choose a similar substance as a replacement, such as Subutex for opiate addiction, or benzodiazepines for alcohol addiction to aid in the withdrawal process. Also opiate withdrawal can be managed symptomatically (usually used Clonidine, benzodiazepines among others). Only a trained doctor can supervise medication treatment, which is why we have doctors on staff at our facility.
Antagonist Therapy vs Agonist Therapy
Agonist Therapy uses certain drugs that mimic the effects of the addicted drug or substance to elicit the sensation of being under the influence of the drug. Agonist therapy reduces the unpleasant withdrawal and craving associated with abstinence. Methadone and now office based Prescription medication such as Suboxone are popular examples of drugs used in Agonist Therapies.
Antagonist Therapy, on the other hand, uses certain drugs to block the receptor in the brain that provides the sensation or feeling of the abused substance. Naltrexone (also intramuscular Vivitrol) is a popular drug used in Antagonist Therapies (for opiates) because of its low insistence of tolerance development and it is readily available.
Relapse Prevention Therapy
There are medications we use for relapse prevention, some are FDA approved while some are used off label. Antabuse, Acamprosate, Naltrexone, Vivitrol, Topamax, Baclofen, and Ondansetron have shown to be effective for the treatment of alcohol related disorders.
Nicotine patch, gum, Wellbutrin, Chantix, and Nortriptyline are all helpful in smoking cessation.
There are other off label uses of medications for stimulant abuse such as Modafinil, Topiramate among others.
Non-Invasive Biological Treatment
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) is FDA approved for the treatment of resistant depression, however, there are numerous studies that have shown TMS is effective in the treatment of Alcohol, Opiate, Cocaine and Nicotine Addiction.
We use TMS for addiction and co-morbid Psychiatric illnesses (TMS can be provided in the office setting by a licensed Psychiatrist only). Our Doctors provides TMS in their offices.
Neurofeedback is also a non-invasive procedure we provide that is proven to be effective in treatment of Addiction and co-morbid Psychiatric illnesses.
Evidence Based Psychosocial Treatment
Cognitive Behavior Therapy – CBT
Cognitive Behavior Therapy is based on social learning therapies and targets two areas for substance abuse: dysfunctional thoughts and maladaptive behavior. One of the main goals of Cognitive Behavior Therapy is to identify the dysfunctional thinking and behavior and modify them through the use of appropriate coping strategies.
Motivational Enhancement Therapy – MET
Motivational Enhancement Therapy is a longer-term intervention strategy and is used for patients who have accepted to change their substance abuse for the positive. It combines cognitive techniques with therapist persuasion techniques to encourage the patient by setting goals and finding the motivation to change. MET has shown effectiveness even for patients who are not completely motivated to change.
Through the use of a therapist as a guide, Group Therapy has shown to be a successful part of the treatment process. Many patients take comfort in knowing they are not alone and often model the success of other patients to help aid in their own rehabilitation. Substance abuse often has a social attachment and this is confirmed through the success of group therapy. It is easier to relate to someone currently going through the same situation than an outsider. Publicly admitting a problem in a safe setting with others who can understand and empathize helps to avoid relapse.
Family Therapy can take place in a formal setting or through periodic contact, with the goal of monitoring the patient’s status and attitude about drug use and treatment adjustment, as well as providing support and encouragement. Evidence has shown that contact with, and positive reinforcement from non-abusing family members can lead to successful outcomes.
All of the therapies mentioned here are Science and Evidence Based Treatments for drug and alcohol addiction. They have been reviewed to provide positive outcomes and have shown high success rates for a variety of patients. Because some of them involve medication therapy, it is imperative that they be monitored by a trained doctor for the safety of the patient and optimal rehabilitation. If you or loved one is considering treatment for drug or alcohol addiction, it is highly recommended to seek the care of a facility that utilizes Evidence Based Treatment.
Call us Toll-Free at 800-444-1838 to find out more about our Science and Evidence Based Treatment programs for addiction.
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Call us Toll-Free at 1-800-444-1838 to find out more about our Science and Evidence Based Treatment for Drug and Alcohol Addiction.