Home Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy 5 Signs of Effective Addiction Treatment: What Makes a Good Drug and Alcohol Programme?

5 Signs of Effective Addiction Treatment: What Makes a Good Drug and Alcohol Programme?

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Drug and alcohol abuse is insidious. It not only affects the abuser, but it shatters families and loved ones. Treatment not only needs to provide a safe medical detoxification process which separates the addict from the substance, but a safe and prolonged period of recovery and therapy.  This early time is critical to a successful recovery. Therapeutic intervention needs to occur, trust needs to be formed, and the underlying issues need to be addressed to the point where behavior can change.  

For this reason, substance abuse treatment is imperative and a comforting environment with licensed clinical staff can help exponentially. Peer support, family therapy and motivational factors are also important during this early stage.

But how can you be sure if a treatment program is actually effective?

Signs of effective treatment

First, the patient should have a session with the attending physician, who will assess the severity of the disorder, recommend a treatment plan, and determine if medications are needed. But it’s important that questions are asked not only by the doctor but also by the patient’s relatives or the patient himself if he is able.

What is needed to be found out?

  • Does the treatment have a programme?
  • Is the treatment individualised?
  • By what metrics is patient success measured?
  • What is expected from the examinee?
  • Steps in case of relapse

After getting all your questions answered, look for the following signs.

Personnel and clinic accreditation

This is a very important point: the institution and staff must be licensed to treat drug addiction and mental health problems. Moreover, accreditation is issued to clinics if it falls under several assessment criteria:

  • Taking into account the rights and safety of patients
  • Degree of medical staff education
  • High level of patient service
  • Proper infrastructure
  • Institution management system

Personalised approach, taking into account gender, culture, and affiliation with minorities

Quality programmes must take into account the individual approach to all patients because one approach to treatment is not suitable for every person. Treatment programs should address the different needs of men and women, young people and adults, and people from different minority communities or cultural backgrounds.

Scientific-based practice

In addition to medication, the treatment programme should include evidence-based treatment methods:

  • Cognitive-behavioural psychotherapy or the work with the attitudes and beliefs of a person, which lead him to wrong actions, and in particular, to drug use
  • Suggestive psychotherapy which includes modern methods of drug addiction treatment based on instilling a fear of psychoactive drugs
  • Alternative, including modern methods of drug addiction treatment, for example, laser therapy, acupuncture
  • Xenon therapy. A modern method of drug addiction treatment based on xenon inhalation. This gas easily penetrates the blood-brain barrier and affects the structures of the brain, causing a feeling of lightness and euphoria. Xenon therapy reduces the need to use large doses of sleeping pills, sedatives, anticonvulsants, painkillers, and can completely relieve pain and cramps during withdrawal.
  • Motivational therapy and support from other patients
  • Family involvement. Patients can apply family therapy to help avoid the transition of addiction from one generation to the next.

Comprehensive treatment 

According to Profound Treatment: ‘Patients may have comorbid mental disorders such as depression and anxiety, as well as other diseases such as hepatitis C, cirrhosis, and sexually transmitted diseases. Programmes should include comprehensive approaches that address not only addiction treatment, but also related problems.’

Measuring programme effectiveness

Another indicator of the treatment quality is the availability of measurement systems to track patients’ progress. Thus, doctors will be able to adjust the individual treatment plan. Without any standardised metrics, it’s difficult to document patient success.

  • Concluding contracts with patients. A formal written document between client and patient that sets out goals, rewards, and punishments is an indicator of the seriousness of the two parties’ intentions. In other words, contracts prevent doctors and patients from backing down on their promises.
  • Duration of treatment. Numerous studies have shown that treatment for at least 90 days leads to better results and less risk of relapse.


We hope this post was helpful if you don’t know how to choose a quality clinic and treatment programme. The main thing to remember is that starting alcohol or drug addiction treatment is a huge step on the part of the patient. Don’t delay getting the help you need through a drug detox Austin Texas.


Ellen Diamond did her degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. She is interested in mental health and well-being.

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