Understanding Treatment


There are a variety of evidence-based approaches for treating a SUD, including behavioral therapies (counseling) and medications. The specific treatment plan will vary depending on the patient’s individual needs, the types of substances they use, and the severity of their illness.


Successful treatment has several possible components:


  • detoxification (the process of removing substances from the body)

  • behavioral counseling

  • medication (currently available for opioid, tobacco, or alcohol use disorders)

  • treatment of co-occurring mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety

  • long-term care management to prevent relapse.


Because they work on different aspects of SUDs, the combination of behavioral therapies and medications (when available) generally appear to be more effective than either approach used alone.


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