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How to Tell If a Drug Rehab Center Is Evidence-Based

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When you finally decide to get help with a substance use disorder, finding the right treatment center for you might seem like a daunting task. It’s good to have someone else help you through the process. However, finding the right treatment center comes down to looking for one that is reputable and offers a foundation of evidence-based approaches. But how can you tell if a rehab center is evidence-based? 
Learn more about evidence-based treatment approaches and how you can learn more about a treatment center’s therapeutic practices.

What Is Evidence-Based Treatment?

Evidence-based practice is one that’s backed up by scientific research and shown to be effective by objective standards. Addiction is a complex disease, and each person is different. If you were to come up with and use a therapy method without testing it, it might work on one person while being ineffective for the majority of people.

Evidence-based therapy options are effective in a significant amount of cases, so they warrant being applied to many cases. Evidence-based therapies generally can be applied in a wide range of clinical treatment settings. For instance, if a therapy involved diving off a waterfall, as exhilarating as that may be, it may not be evidence-based.

Evidence-based therapies are opposed to alternative therapies that don’t have the same scientific backing. Examples include equine therapy, art therapy, and yoga. While many people try these therapies and claim their usefulness, they haven’t been proven to be effective in a significant number of cases. Some, like art and music therapy, have shown to be useful as complementary therapies that are implemented alongside evidence-based treatments.

While alternative therapies may be helpful for some people, it’s important for treatment plans to be grounded in evidence-based treatment at their foundation. If nothing else, alternative therapies often increase a person’s motivation to become involved in their treatment program.

No two treatment plans should be identical, but when your therapist recommends a particular type of treatment, it should be that they believe it can work for you as an individual and that it has a high likelihood of working at all.

Evidence-based approaches take some of the guessing out of your treatment plan. Still, it’s important to reevaluate your treatment plan each week and adapt to new challenges and changes.

Tips for Choosing an Evidence-Based Treatment Center

If you are starting to explore treatment options for yourself or a loved one, there are a few things you should look for. Researchers have studied the effectiveness of multiple aspects of addiction treatment from the therapy options to the circumstances surrounding treatment like the intake process. Specific therapies can be evidence-based, but things like treatment duration, when to address co-occurring problems, and the use of medication can be, too. The more you learn about a treatment center’s methodologies, the more you can learn about its dedication to an evidence-based approach.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), 13 principles make treatment more effective. These principles are based on research and have shown to improve treatment outcomes. Some of these principles have become standard practice in the addiction treatment industry.

One of the first earmarks of a treatment program that’s dedicated to evidence-based approaches is the intake process. Does the rehab facility formulate a treatment plan to you or does it try to fit you to a standard treatment plan? When you first enter treatment, you should go through an intake process that’s designed to determine your individual needs. 

Clinicians may use the ASAM criteria to find the right level of care for you. This set of factors are designed to pinpoint your physical, psychological, and social needs. High-level needs are connected with high levels of care like inpatient treatment. Once you are in a program, your therapist should sit down with you to create a treatment plan based on your input. Your plan should be tailored to you and address your specific needs and concerns.

Addiction treatment also needs to treat multiple needs at once. Addiction can come with a variety of contributing causes and consequences that can complicate your ability to safeguard your sobriety. For treatment to be effective, it’s important for it to address medical, psychological, social, legal, and financial issues that you may be facing. 

Your treatment center should treat addiction as a complex disease, not a moral failing or bad habit. For a long time, addiction was poorly understood, but current evidence suggests that it’s a disease that primarily affects the reward center of the brain. To treat it effectively, your addiction treatment professionals need to understand that addiction is a chronic disease, but that it’s very treatable.

Finally, it’s important that your treatment center has the proper accreditation. Medical staff should be board approved medical practitioners, and clinicians should have all the appropriate certifications. When you are speaking to an intake specialist, you can ask about all of these factors to ensure you’re getting quality treatment. 

Examples of Evidence-Based Therapies

Evidence-based treatment can refer to both pharmacological treatments and psychotherapies. While there is a wide variety of treatment options, there are a few that are commonly recommended because they have proven to be effective. Behavioral therapies are particularly popular in addiction treatment. 

Behavioral approaches refer to therapy that helps you to change your behavior as it applies to coping with stress, managing cravings, working with others, and even how you engage treatment. Behavioral therapies can be applied to a wide range of issues including anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and other mental health problems.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is among the most common therapies used in addiction treatment. It involves examining how thoughts and coping mechanisms lead to behavior. In the cognitive-behavioral model, effective coping mechanisms can increase a person’s self-efficacy, allowing them to resist cravings to use again. CBT is an instrumental tool in relapse prevention. 

Other common evidence-based psychotherapies include contingency management, motivational enhancement, community, and community reinforcement. Twelve-step programs are also used in addiction treatment as a complementary therapy.

If it’s necessary, evidence-based pharmacological therapies may also be used. For instance, buprenorphine may be used to wean a person off heroin.

In some cases, opioid medications are used to replace addictions to harmful illicit opioids. This is a process called medication-assisted treatment (MAT) where medications are used alongside behavioral therapies.

However, MAT can be a very long process and weaning off certain medications can cause very uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Still, MAT can be useful, especially in people who have attempted or gone through treatment and relapsed.

The evidence-based therapies that you go through will depend on your specific needs. When you sit down with your therapist, they may recommend several approaches throughout your treatment.

Seeking Addiction Treatment

If you or a loved one is struggling with a substance use disorder and you’d like to find a treatment center with evidence-based approaches. To learn more about addiction treatment and evidence-based approaches, speak to an addiction treatment specialist at Serenity at Summit. 

Call 844-432-0416 at any time to hear about your therapy options and to start your road to recovery today. Addiction is a serious chronic disease, but it’s one that can be treated. Take your first steps on the road to recovery today. Call anytime.

Sources

Aletraris, L., Ph.D., Paino, M., Ph.D., Edmond, M. B., Ph.D., Roman, P. M., Ph.D., & Bride, B. E., Ph.D. (2014, October). The use of art and music therapy in substance abuse treatment programs. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4268880/

ASAM. (n.d.). What is the ASAM Criteria? Retrieved from https://www.asam.org/resources/the-asam-criteria/about

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018, January). Pharmacotherapies. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment/evidence-based-approaches-to-drug-addiction-treatment/pharmacotherapies

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018, January). Behavioral Therapies. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment/evidence-based-approaches-to-drug-addiction-treatment/behavioral-therapies

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018, January). Principles of Effective Treatment. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/principles-effective-treatment

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018, January). Evidence-Based Approaches to Drug Addiction Treatment. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/evidence-based-approaches-to-drug-addiction-treatment

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