What is the best drug treatment program for addiction? Is it the 12 step program? Should recovering addicts seek out a medical solution for addiction?
All fair questions. Let’s consider some of the possibilities.
First of all, the best program for drug treatment is the one that works for you. Although it sounds corny, there are many paths to sobriety, and no one program will be an ideal fit for every person. Therefore, it pays to find different approaches if one is not working for you. For example, if the 12 step program is failing for you, and you continuously relapse, then try something else. They always say that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. So take that advice and try a fresh approach to recovery.
Second of all, the idea of taking medication to help overcome addiction is a something of a slippery slope. Many people automatically view this as being a bad thing, because they assume that you are just trading one addiction for another when you take medication. In some cases, this is true. But in most cases, this is not the case. The majority of medications that are used to treat addiction are not themselves addictive. A few of them are (such as Methadone for opiate addiction), but most are not (such as Campral for alcoholism).
Third, the medical field is currently in a pretty big push to develop new drugs to help treat addiction and alcoholism. If you are trying to recover then you should take advantage of these new medications when it makes sense to do so. Obviously you will want to talk with your doctor and be careful to note whether something is addictive or not. But ultimately these new medications could be a part of an overall plan to help you in recovery.
One of the problems with taking these types of medications is that people are hoping for a magic pill. What this means is that the addict is hoping that the pill will take away their desire to use drugs and alcohol. There are some medications that do reduce cravings, but there are no medications that completely remove the desire to use. Such a pill would be magic, and there will likely never be such a medication. So the addict must realize that taking medication is only one small part of a treatment program, and that the real motivation for staying clean and sober must still come from within.