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Addiction is a complex disease of the brain that affects everyone differently. That’s why individualized treatment is essential for successful recovery.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse cites individualized treatment as one of the principles of effective treatment.1 Likewise, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration stresses that there is no single pathway to recovery. An individualized treatment plan that takes a holistic approach offers the best possible treatment outcomes. 2

One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Addiction changes the physical structures and chemical functions of your brain. It affects your thought and behavior patterns and influences the way you see yourself and the world. It shapes your experiences, and it touches every corner of your life.

Addiction causes problems in your life that must be addressed to effectively end the substance abuse for the long-term. These problems are completely unique to you and may include health problems, legal issues, financial difficulties or relationship troubles. An individualized treatment plan will match the treatment setting, interventions and services to your specific needs and issues.

Successfully treating an addiction also requires examining its underlying causes. Some of the issues that commonly lead to substance abuse and addiction include:

  • A history of trauma
  • Mental illnesses like depression or anxiety
  • Chronic stress
  • Family dysfunction

The factors that contribute to addiction are different for everyone. Effectively addressing these various, complex issues requires a highly individualized treatment plan that helps you work through your unique problems.

Components of an Individualized Treatment Plan

An individualized treatment plan is a collaboration between you and your treatment team. It’s based on your unique needs, issues and personal preferences. It takes into consideration your dreams and goals for the future. Ideally, it will take a holistic approach, addressing issues of body, mind and spirit through a variety of appropriate treatment therapies. A holistic treatment plan will include both traditional and complementary therapies.

Commonly used traditional therapies include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy to help you identify harmful thought and behavior patterns and develop healthier ways of thinking and behaving.
  • Psychoeducational classes to help you understand the mechanics of addiction and recovery.
  • Family therapy to restore function to the family system by improving communication and resolving interpersonal problems.
  • Individual therapy to help you work through the unique and complex issues that underlie your addiction.
  • Pharmacotherapy, or the use of medications. Medication may be used during detox to reduce withdrawal symptoms, or it may help relieve cravings during treatment. Medication may also be used to treat a co-occurring mental illness or to get a medical problem under control.
  • Motivational interviewing, which can help you identify your own reasons for wanting to end your addiction. This is particularly helpful for those who may not feel ready to stop using.
  • Motivational incentives, which offer tangible rewards for staying sober, such as cash or vouchers.

Commonly used complimentary therapies may include:


  • Art or music therapy helps you express difficult emotions and make sense of upsetting experiences.


  • Yoga and meditation helps to improve mindfulness and reduce stress and increase feelings of well-being.


  • Nature therapy helps improve communication skills, build self-confidence and reduce negative emotions.


  • Acupuncture can help reduce stress and alleviate cravings as well as improve the function of your body’s systems.


  • Massage relieves stress and promotes feelings of calm and well-being.


  • Biofeedback helps you learn to control your body’s involuntary stress responses.


Treatment Works

Treatment works for most people who stay in a program for an adequate time period and fully engage with their treatment plan. A high-quality rehab program will offer an assessment and an individualized treatment plan that’s as unique as you are to help you stay engaged in treatment and motivated to recover for the long-term.



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