Effective treatment for addiction requires understanding a person’s background. Someone’s personality, health, and even their experiences in the past can all play a role in the development and treatment of addiction. Everyone is unique and so is the path that they have followed, meaning that a “one size fits all” approach to treatment is not feasible. Personal patterns, behaviors, and perceptions all influence how substance abuse impacts a person. Even those who abuse the same substance as others may find that addiction has led to vastly different outcomes in their lives.

While some treatment criteria should be universal, the treatment plan itself should be tailored to a person’s individual needs. Access to a clean facility with experienced medical professionals is critical to the recovery experience, but those factors alone do not make treatment successful. Creating an individualized treatment plan may require some trial and error along with patience, but even if it takes a little while to find the best approach to treatment, it still tends to yield better recovery outcomes.

Why is Individualized Treatment More Successful

Everyone’s history and experience is different. While there may be a generally agreed upon path to follow in recovery, not everyone will benefit from it in the same way. Some phases of recovery may take more time and some people may be completely unresponsive to certain approaches to treatment. It is important to invest time into understanding the person and their unique experiences to make treatment choices that will be most effective for them.

Some reasons why individual treatment tends to be more effective include:

One Size Does Not Fit All

As mentioned previously, everyone’s past experiences are different. What may be triggering or stressful for one person may not remotely phase another. Trying to force a particular treatment model to fit all clients is simply not reasonable. For example, while 12-step programs are effective at helping sober people network with others and provide some structure, they do not work equally well for everyone. The steps are the same for everyone, regardless of their history. While this can work for some people, others may not find the program to be as effective at helping them maintain long-term sobriety.

The Impact of Dual-Diagnosis

One of the biggest influences on individualized treatment is the presence of a co-occurring mental health disorder. Dual-diagnosis treatment is designed for those who struggle with substance abuse issues and mental health issues simultaneously. Anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), ADHD, and bipolar disorder are only a handful of the many disorders that may need to be treated alongside the addiction. The way mental health disorders and substance abuse interact with one another is a highly individual experience. Every dual-diagnosis case must be treated differently as each person will react to treatment differently. In some cases, therapy may be a helpful way to manage symptoms, but in other cases, a person may need medications to help in treatment. It is impossible to know what will work for a person and what will not without first assessing their individual needs.

Other Health Issues

While a person may have health issues that were present prior to the development of addiction, regular substance abuse can create complications as well. Depending on how long a person has been using a substance, the frequency of use, and the dosage, a person may experience more severe health issues than someone else. Additionally, depending on what a person is using, they may be prone to experience specific withdrawal symptoms or complications just from starting the treatment process through detox. It is not uncommon to find that those who struggle with substance abuse may have experimented with more than one substance. This can lead to a myriad of issues that contribute to the development of health problems.

Using Multiple Substances

As a person begins to develop tolerances while using drugs or alcohol, they may find themselves mixing substances in order to achieve a high. Being dependent on more than one substance requires treatment to address both addictions simultaneously. Treating one without addressing the other will inevitably lead to relapse, especially if use of one substance triggers use of the other.

Age-Specific Needs

The challenges a person faces may be dependent on their age or what phase of life they are experiencing. Family support, career and livelihood, overall health, and other experiences can play different roles in the development of addiction. For example, a young adult may be more susceptible to peer pressure than an older adult. These different life experiences can inform treatment and help tailor it to address needs specific to the person. While young and old can learn from one another, there is certainly something to be said for the power of shared experience. Sharing the recovery experience with others who are roughly the same age and may be better able to relate to you can improve recovery outcomes.

Knowing Yourself

Individualized treatment can make a big difference in recovery outcomes; however, having a better understanding of self can help you make choices to protect your sobriety moving forward. Individual treatment can help you uncover the underlying causes of addiction, but taking that knowledge and applying it to everyday situations is vital to continued success. Knowing your triggers, how to say no, and how to build healthy relationships will help you continue to progress, but it takes time to learn and develop these skills. With the right treatment plan, you can better understand your own needs and make choices to support your sobriety moving forward.

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, we are here to help. Give us a call at 888.855.6877 or send us a message below and one of our admissions counselors will do their best to get you the help you need.


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