Upset teenage boy with a friend comforting him

Treatment for Drug Addiction

While drug addiction isn’t always curable, it can be treated and managed like many illnesses that never really go away. Most treatment programs combine medication and behavioral therapy to help those fighting addiction. Physicians prescribe medication to combat addiction for three reasons:

  • To help patients cope with the physical and emotional side effects that occur during withdrawal.
  • To help the brain adapt to being free from addictive substances.
  • To combat stress that often leads to relapse.

Meanwhile, therapy helps recovering addicts by providing them with the support they need to tackle the negative ways that addiction has altered their lives. Therapy options include:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
A therapy method that teaches patients how to recognize and avoid situations in which they may abuse drugs.

Contingency Management
A therapy method that uses positive reinforcements and incentives, like awards, to encourage patients to participate in counseling and take medication.

Motivational Enhancement Therapy
A therapy method that aims to rapidly encourage behavior change by assisting patients in finding internal motivations to fight addiction, such as confidence, happiness, or feeling secure.

Family Behavioral Therapy
A therapy method that is conducted with one family member or significant other and that often tackles more than one behavioral issue.


Like other chronic diseases, addiction relapses are possible if the disease isn’t managed. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the relapse rates for people struggling with substance abuse range from 40 to 60 percent. If individual relapses, treatment must be started again and different treatment methods considered.

Boy looking troubled and making eye contact

People who suffer from substance abuse
are twice as likely to suffer
from other mental illnesses such as

mood and anxiety disorders

Happy young woman

10 percent – or 23.5 million – of American adults consider themselves to be recovering or recovered
from addiction to alcohol, drugs, or

other controlled substances