Alongside stopping addiction to drugs, the aim of treatment is returning individuals to a productive life in the workplace, family as well as in the local in the community. Based on research that follows people who have been treated over long time periods, the majority of people who enter and stay in treatment cease taking drugs, lessen their crime rate and improve their job and social functioning. For instance, the treatment of methadone has been proven to increase the participation in behavioral therapy, and to reduce the use of drugs as well as criminal behavior. However, the specific outcomes of each treatment depend on the severity as well as the nature issues facing the patient as well as the suitability of the treatment and other services that are used to treat those issues as well as the level of interaction with the client and their treatment providers.
Similar to other chronic diseases addiction is a disease that can be controlled effectively. Treatment can help people counteract addiction’s devastating affects on the mind and behavior and gain control over their lives. The nature of chronic illness means that relapse into addiction is not just possible, but is also likely with recurrence rates for symptom recurrence comparable to the rates for other well-known chronic medical conditions, such as hypertension, diabetes, and asthma (see the figure below, “Comparison of Relapse Rates between Drug Dependence and Other Chronic Conditions” “)–that are also characterized by both behavioral and physiological aspects.
When relapses occur, many people believe that treatment is as a failure. But this isn’t the case. Treatment for addiction usually requires ongoing assessment and adjustment as needed as is the case with treatment that is used to treat other chronic diseases. For instance, when patients are receiving active treatment for hypertension, and the symptoms diminish, treatment is considered effective, even though the symptoms can recur after treatment ceases. For those who are addicted the relapses in drug use are not an indication of failure; rather they are a sign that treatment must be adjusted or reinstated or that a different treatment is required (see the figure “Why does Addiction Treatment Evaluation Be Determined differently? “).
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