Addiction | 3 min read

Forming a Successful Substance Abuse Treatment Plan

Medically Reviewed

Medically Reviewed By

Dr. Po-Chang Hsu

Dr. Po-Chang Hsu

On September 2, 2022

Written By

Amanda Stevens

Amanda Stevens, B.S.

On April 7, 2019

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Addiction is a dangerous disease that negatively impacts millions of people every day. Untreated, it can lead to serious illness and eventual death. If you are one of many Americans struggling with addiction, you are not alone, and there is help. A crucial part of successfully treating addiction is forming a treatment plan that helps addicts to modify their lifestyle and find sobriety in a way that works with their unique needs and mindset. The first step to doing this is to understand the basics of treatment plans.

Addiction is one of the most brutal “secret” diseases in America. Over 20 million Americans over age 12 report having an addiction. Overdose deaths have quadrupled in the past two decades, with a devastating 100 people losing their lives to this tragic battle daily. Even more upsetting is that many addicts report that their addiction began before they were legal adults. When an illness is widespread and sufferers so diverse, the need for individualized treatment plans becomes clear.

Development of Dependence
Addiction starts with dependency, which can be both physical and psychological. Some substances, such as alcohol, opiates, and drugs in the benzo category, are notorious for producing serious – even deadly – withdrawal symptoms in a patient who is physically dependent. If addicts experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop using drugs or alcohol, they have developed a physical dependency. In this case, the first and most essential part of their safe recovery is medical detox, in which doctors will be able to supervise and treat them as needed. Without the aid of a doctor during this process, an addict may face serious medical consequences or severe symptoms they feel they have no choice but to relapse, making a medical detox essential in the case of chemical dependency. At our Connecticut area detox, we help individuals safely and effectively withdraw from drugs and alcohol.

Personal Needs and Preferences
Because there are so many addicted people, we know addicts don’t have a singular profile. They can be young or old, rich or poor, well-loved or lonely, and fit any profile. This means that for treatment to succeed, it needs to adjust to an addict’s physical and mental needs. For example, high-profile clients may require discreet treatment at facilities where they won’t be seen. Addicts who have trouble engaging socially may struggle with group treatments. An addict who has been traumatized may need to avoid certain triggers that should be established early on. By examining each patient’s unique needs, they can best be guided toward a path of sobriety that can begin to feel comfortable and natural to them over time.

Comorbidity with Mental Illness
About 15% of addicts in the United States report a diagnosis of mental illness. Mental illness is one of the most explicitly stated risk factors for drug use. Treating addiction in a mentally ill person can neither begin nor end with the addiction itself – underlying mental health factors must be addressed to achieve long-term success. Untreated mental illness can quickly undermine any amount of effort or structure patients and their doctors put forth, so identifying and treating any potential mental illnesses that may be exacerbating an addiction is crucial.

Comorbidity with Physical Illness
It’s a familiar story – an addiction that began with prescribed opioid painkillers after an injury or accident. The pain continued, the addiction continued, and the prescription did not. In pain and withdrawal, an addict turns to heroin. This is only one of many ways physical illness can portend addiction, and painfully, the reverse is also true. Substance abuse can lead to physical ailments that are so symptomatically unpleasant that the only way an addict feels they can cope is through continued use of their substance of choice. Treating physical ailments that led to or resulted from dependency is essential to continued sobriety.

Family Environment
A support system is one of the most important things to establish at the beginning of any treatment plan. Sometimes, a family environment can provide this for an addict, but it’s never a safe assumption. Family members may also be addicts, sources of trauma, or triggers for addictive behavior. In these cases, part of a successful substance abuse treatment may include inpatient rehab or temporary or permanent relocation for the patient.

Legal Issues
Like mental and physical issues, legal issues cause and be caused by addiction. The tremendous stress and pressure created by legal difficulties can cause a person to turn to substance abuse or find themselves unable to stop using, even in the face of significant consequences. To be fully effective, a treatment plan should address any legal issues an addict faces by connecting them with legal assistance resources and monitoring the eventual outcome of open cases.

Substance abuse treatment should be a holistic experience that focuses on and enriches your body, mind, and spirit. Ascendant New York offers some of the best inpatient substance abuse treatment New York has to offer, focusing on total body wellness and treatment plans that celebrate individual differences. If you or a loved one is struggling with a substance abuse problem and requires inpatient substance abuse treatment in New York and beyond, contact Ascendant today to begin your unique journey toward recovery.

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  2. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Overdose Death Rates. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Published January 20, 2022. Accessed September 2, 2022.
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  4. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Part 1: The Connection Between Substance Use Disorders and Mental Illness. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Published April 2020. Accessed September 2, 2022.