What is Evidence-Based Treatment for Addiction?

If you’ve been shopping around to find the best treatment center, you’ve probably noticed that many drug and alcohol clinics or rehabs claim to use “evidence-based treatment,” sometimes shortened to simply, “EBT”.

Understanding what the term means is critical because it may help you avoid scam treatment centers that prey on unsuspecting clients (especially those with good insurance). Such bogus treatments are a waste of time and money at best, and some may be harmful.

What is Evidence-Based Treatment?

Evidence-based treatment is defined as adherence to approaches and techniques that are backed up by sound scientific evidence. Ideally, a treatment practice has been tested by at least one high-quality study conducted under carefully controlled conditions.

The term became widely used in the early 1990s, initially by medical providers. The concept soon picked up speed and spread to other fields, including nursing, dentistry, psychology, psychiatry, social work, physical therapy, occupational therapy and addiction treatment and rehab.

The goal of EBT is to improve treatment and increase the chances that people pay for, and receive, treatment that has proven effective, rather than spending time and money on therapies with questionable results.

Evidence-Based Practices and Addiction Treatment

Numerous studies over the last few decades have indicated that addiction is a chronic brain disease that isn’t curable, but can be successfully managed with proper treatment.

Proven, evidence-based treatment improves the chance of long-term recovery, beginning with detox and continuing through, and even after, completion of substance abuse treatment.

In the United States, evidence-based programs and practices are listed in the National Registry of Evidence-Based Treatment Practices (NREBTP), which is maintained by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

A treatment practice can be listed on the NREBTP register only after extensive research indicates that the treatment has a significant and proven impact on mental health practices.

There are several therapies and treatments believed to be effective in substance abuse and addiction. A few of the most widely used, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), include:

  • Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment (CBT)
  • Family Behavior Therapy
  • Community Enforcement Approach
  • Motivational Enhancement Therapy
  • Contingency Management Approach
  • The Matrix Model
  • Twelve-Step Facilitation Therapy

How to Know if Treatment is Evidence-Based

EBT increases the chance that people in treatment for addiction receive safe, effective treatments; not unproven techniques that may be useless or unsafe. In some cases, insurance companies won’t pay for treatments that don’t rely on EBT.

If you aren’t sure a treatment center or rehab uses evidence-based treatments, ask the following questions:

  • Do you use evidence-based treatments?
  • Are your treatments and therapies supported by sound medical evidence?
  • What research sources do you rely on?
  • How do you measure if treatment is successful?
  • Are you knowledgeable and up-to-date about current studies on addiction treatment and recovery?

If you don’t receive a satisfactory response to your queries, move on and get in touch with more treatment centers. It isn’t difficult to find addiction treatment clinics or rehabs that rely on sound, evidence-based treatment.

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