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Myths that undermine recovery Part 1: Every recovery treatment plan is the same

Treatment largely depends on the type of substance being abused and the characteristics of the patients. The best programs are developed based upon a thorough assessment of every individual. These plans may combine a variety of methods tailored to address each person’s specific needs and include behavioral therapy, medications or varying combinations of both. Incorporation of other medical, psychological and social services often prove to be crucial components of treatment for many people.

Different phases along a continuum of recovery usually require different resources, which is why a variety of substance abuse treatment programs have been developed to meet the particular needs of specific populations. These include women, pregnant and postpartum mothers, adolescents, elderly persons, members of various minority groups, public inebriates or homeless people, those with DUIs and children of alcoholics.


Women have a higher likeliness than men to experience co-morbid depressive and anxiety disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorders stemming from past or current physical or sexual abuse. A suitable treatment program must address women’s special issues and needs for child care, parenting skills, building healthy relationships, avoiding sexual exploitation or domestic violence, preventing HIV infection and other sexually transmitted diseases and enhanced self-esteem.

Pregnant and postpartum women

Numerous special needs, including prenatal and obstetrical care, pediatric care, knowledge of child development, parenting skills, economic security and safe, affordable housing are involved with this population. Administration of medication needs to be closely monitored as well.


Adolescents need peer-oriented treatment that supports their developing minds and personalities. Educational needs are particularly important alongside the involvement of family members in treatment planning and therapy. Substance abuse among adolescents is frequently correlated with depression, eating disorders and a history of sexual abuse (American Psychiatric Association, 1995).


Elderly persons may have unrecognized and “diagnostically overshadowed” substance dependence on alcohol or prescribed medication that can contribute to unexplained falls and injuries, confusion and inadvertent overdose because age decreases the body’s ability to metabolize many medications.

Minority group members

Minority group members may identify with particular cultural norms and institutions that increase feelings of social acceptance.


For such individuals, Housing First approaches are preferred over Treatment First approaches, as the former have been proven to reduce addictive patterns much more considerably than the latter.

Patients with Dual Diagnosis

People with a mental disorder are usually more susceptible to a substance use problem and people with a substance use disorder are more likely to have a co-occurring mental condition. According to the National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services about 45 percent of Americans seeking substance use disorder treatment have been diagnosed as having a co-occurring mental and substance use disorder.

An integrated treatment approach is required to treat co-occurring mental and substance use disorders that collaborates with a number of disciplines, each in the context of the other disorder. Integrated treatment addresses mental and substance use conditions at the same time.

The 24/7 Recovery Helpline helps individuals get connected with treatment centers for mental illness, addiction and dual diagnosis. If you or a loved one is currently seeking recovery, call us right away at 855-441-4405.

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