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Longer Addiction Treatment Is Better, Study Confirms

Success rate goes up significantly when programs last more than 30 days, psychiatrist says
(*this news item will not be available after 06/01/2017)
By Robert Preidt
Friday, March 3, 2017

FRIDAY, March 3, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- The longer patients receive treatment for addiction, the greater their chances of success, a new study finds.

The study included 72 people, with an average age of 30 years. The participants were being treated for a variety of addictions, including alcohol and drugs such as opioids, amphetamines and benzodiazepines.

The only significant factor in treatment success was the length of treatment. After one year, the treatment success rate was about 55 percent for those who underwent a standard 30-day treatment program. But the success rate was about 84 percent for those in treatment programs that lasted more than 30 days, the investigators found.

The findings are important because most government and private health insurance programs only reimburse patients for 30 days of addiction treatment, said study leader Dr. Akikur Mohammad, of the University of Southern California, and colleagues.

Mohammad is a psychiatrist, an addiction medicine specialist and the founder and CEO of Inspire Malibu, a drug addiction treatment center.

"Aftercare is crucial once an individual has completed drug or alcohol treatment and is in recovery. There is a continuity of care that should be followed once initial treatment is completed," Mohammad said.

"This usually involves a lower level of treatment, such as outpatient care and a sober living environment. Our study shows that the absence of such treatment after 30 days significantly reduces the chances of the patient maintaining their sobriety," Mohammad said in a university news release.

The study was published recently in the Open Journal of Psychiatry.

SOURCE: University of Southern California, news release, February 2017

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