Treatment options

Who provides care?

In most treatment programs, the main caregivers are specially trained individuals who are certified or licensed as substance abuse treatment counselors.

Most treatment programs assign patients to a treatment team of professionals. Depending on the type of treatment, teams can be made up of social workers, counselors, doctors, nurses, psychologists, and psychiatrists.

Be honest during the assessment; the counselor needs to get a full picture of the problem to plan and help implement the most effective treatment. You may feel embarrassed answering some of these questions or have difficulty completing the interview, but remember: the counselor is there to help.

After the assessment, the counselor will work with you (and possibly your family members) to develop a treatment plan. This plan lists problems, treatment goals, and ways to meet those goals.

Signs of Quality Treatment

  1. Licensed and accredited. All facilities in the treatment locator are licensed by the state they’re in.
  2. Medication. A facility should only use FDA-approved medication in treating alcohol or opioid use. There are no FDA-approved medications to help prevent relapse from other problem substances.
  3. Evidence-based practices. Quality programs should offer a full range of services that are accepted as effective in treatment and recovery, including:
    • Motivational therapy
    • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
    • Drug and alcohol counseling and education
    • Peer support
    • Care for or help accessing care for other physical and mental health needs.
  4. Families. Family members should be included in the treatment process. They have an important role in understanding the impact of addiction and being supportive in recovery.
  5. Support beyond substance use. For many, addiction is a chronic disease that needs ongoing support. A quality program treats the whole patient for the long term. This can include ongoing counseling or recovery coaching, and help meeting basic needs like sober housing, employment supports, and continued family involvement.

(Page published: October 2019)