Addiction Treatment

Effective approaches involve a network of support.


Recovery from addiction is possible. Research shows a number of factors that lead to high recovery rates. 

Treatment should be available across a continuum of care, starting in a primary care setting and also comprising community addiction and mental health clinics, acute care and crisis services, and specialized in-patient services for long-term or complex treatment and rehabilitation.

A chronic-disease management model should provide ongoing care, even when abuse of substances or behaviours has ceased. 

Comprehensive care should treat co-morbid factors such as other addictions, depression, and anxiety, which often accompany addiction and may complicate recovery.

Family-centred care provides support to other members of the family (children and adults) to assist recovery and to prevent the intergenerational transfer of addiction and other mental illnesses.

Qualified service providers are necessary to ensure that patients are receiving good-quality, evidence-based treatment across the continuum of care.

Care across the lifespan should provide for children and families, adolescents, adults, and seniors. Care should include treatment for substance abuse, addiction, and other mental illnesses, and it should provide preventive care for at-risk populations. 

Case Study: Physician Health Programs

Physician health programs in Canada and the United States report success rates as high as 85% over five years. These programs use a chronic-disease management model that includes qualified service providers, a progression from more intensive to less intensive care settings, case management, family-centred care, and long-term monitoring to manage relapse. The success of this model indicates that it is possible to improve outcomes in addiction treatment by adopting elements of the chronic care approach and strengthening linkages across the continuum of care.

Given what we know about the intergenerational nature of addiction and other mental illnesses, effective treatment for the entire family may be one of the best interventions to help break the cycle of addiction.

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