The field of drug addiction treatment is notorious for the immense variety of treatment options and for divergent opinions and approaches for helping patients. Unlike many health conditions, addiction is an affliction for which there is not an established consensus in the medical field concerning a cure or the best approaches for managing the problem. Some focus on the emotional and behavioral aspects of addiction. Others rely heavily on faith-based recovery methods. An alarming number are focused on the medicated approach, essentially replacing one drug with another. An addict seeking treatment can expect to be met with a wide-ranging menu of different options in choosing a program. Indeed, it can be difficult to know how to sift through what is available, to select the program that is best-suited for you, and to have confidence that you have made the right choice. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there are currently around 14,5000 specialized drug treatment facilities in the United States, a figure that does not include the many individual physicians, therapists and other practitioners who offer rehab treatment services. To make matters more complicated, it is often difficult to find objective data concerning the effectiveness of a program. Many of the expensive high-profile programs refuse to publish data on the subject, while a large percentage of other programs do not have the financial resources available to invest in conducting internal reviews. With so many differing viewpoints, so much selection and so little data with which to make a decision, how do you know which one to choose for yourself or a loved one who is trying to beat a drug addiction?
Elements of a Life in Recovery
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) took a major step in 2012 to weigh in on this issue, providing the public with a reliable set of guidelines that can be used to ascertain whether a rehab treatment program is effective. By doing so, SAMHSA is operating immediately within the terms of its mission, which is to “reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental health on America’s communities.” The new development out of SAMHSA is a list of the four components that would characterize a life in recovery. These components can be viewed as the criteria for determining whether a rehab treatment program works. If the program consistently produces results in line with these standards, it can be considered to be effective and worthwhile. The four components of a life in recovery include:
- Health, defined as not only abstaining from alcohol, drugs and non-prescribed medications, but also making choices in life that support one’s physical and emotional wellbeing.
- Home, simply a stable and safe place to live
- Purpose, which includes having the independence, income and resources to participate in society through activities such as having a job, attending school, volunteering, engaging with family, care-taking and performing creative endeavors
- Community, including having relationships that provide support, friendship, love and hope
Using these four criteria as a guide, it is plain to see that Narconon delivers on the promise of producing consistent results in addiction treatment. In fact, Narconon recently celebrated its 40th anniversary with the publication of a series of Narconon reviews and studies that demonstrate the effectiveness of the program. From the original Narconon program in the Arizona state prison system, up to today’s flagship Narconon Arrowhead treatment center in Oklahoma, the report features graphs and detailed histories of more than 20 different studies evaluating the program. With SAMHSA’s four criteria in mind, it is plain to see that Narconon routinely turns out graduates who are ready to move forward into a life of recovery.