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Understanding Addiction Treatment Needs

nature-sky-sunset-manAddiction is a disease of the soul, mind, body as well as the brain and emotions. It is also in many ways a disease of relationships, personal culture, damaged belief systems, and poor self-image. It therefore needs to be treated on many levels.

Today, most addiction specialists realize that effective treatment includes more than one of the following: individual and group therapy, attendance at a 12 steps program, one or more mind-body “alternative” therapies (body work, breath work, meditation, equine therapy, art or music therapy, etc.), anti-craving medication, faith-based or spiritual programs, and more.

It’s also important that job programs, a variety of educational programs, parenting/family education, time-management, and physical health programming are given when needed.

Relapse prevention, personal support (in the form of sponsors or groups), and other after-care should continue as long as someone in recovery from addiction needs this. It may require a life-long commitment. Because relapse is common, treatment providers, people with addiction and their families need to be vigilant. One of the biggest challenges many of those in recovery face is the undeniable requirement of staying clean and sober—avoiding situations and people one that could weaken one’s resolve and lead to relapse.

Are there those whose recovery is fairly simple? Yes. Each individual is different. But today, we have the research and the evidence which shows that successful recovery is a life-long process that may require multiple therapies, a variety of supportive programs as well as radical personal change.

Important To Know

“Many people don’t understand why or how other people become addicted to drugs. They may mistakenly think that those who use drugs lack moral principles or willpower and that they could stop their drug use simply by choosing to. In reality, drug addiction is a complex disease, and quitting usually takes more than good intentions or a strong will. Drugs change the brain in ways that make quitting hard, even for those who want to. Fortunately, researchers know more than ever about how drugs affect the brain and have found treatments that can help people recover from drug addiction and lead productive lives.” National Institute on Drug Abuse

“Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors.

“Addiction is characterized by inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioral control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response. Like other chronic diseases, addiction often involves cycles of relapse and remission. Without treatment or engagement in recovery activities, addiction is progressive and can result in disability or premature death.” American Society of Addiction Medicine

Understanding Addiction Treatment Needs

Richard Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC & C.R. Zwolinski

Richard Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC is the author of Therapy Revolution: Find Help, Get Better, and Move On Without Wasting Time or Money and is licensed in addiction and psychotherapy with over 25 years experience as well as a consultant to organizations and companies in the fields of mental health and addiction. He is the executive director of an outpatient behavioral health program. Learn more about Richard here.

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APA Reference
& C.R. Zwolinski, R. (2017). Understanding Addiction Treatment Needs. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 23, 2018, from


Last updated: 3 Jan 2017
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 3 Jan 2017
Published on All rights reserved.