Finding the Best Treatment for Substance Use Disorder

Learn more about the best treatment for substance use disorder and how to pursue effective treatment in this comprehensive article.

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Substance use disorder (SUD) is a complex and challenging condition. It is a condition that affects millions of people worldwide. 

Finding the best treatment for substance use disorder is crucial. It will go a long way in helping people overcome addiction and embark on a journey of lasting recovery.

What to Expect from This Article

In this article, we will delve into substance use disorder in depth. We will talk about what substance use disorder is and its symptoms. We’ll then take a look at the best treatment for substance use disorder available.

We’ll also take a close look at the role of medication-assisted therapy in SUD treatment.

Are you looking for more information on substance abuse disorder treatment? Are you in search of the best treatment for substance use disorder? If you are, then this article is for you. Read on to discover the best treatment for substance use disorder.

best treatment for substance use disorder

Best Treatment for Substance Use Disorder: What is SUD?

Substance use disorder is a chronic condition. It’s characterized by the recurrent and problematic use of substances. This use continues despite negative consequences.1

It’s a diagnosable mental health disorder recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). It is often referred to as addiction or substance abuse.

Substance use disorder involves a pattern of behaviors related to substance use. These behaviors prove an individual has lost control over their substance use. Below are some of these behaviors.

Impaired Control

This includes difficulty controlling substance use. It also includes unsuccessful attempts to cut down or quit. Individuals may spend a lot of time getting, using, or recovering from the substance.2

Social Impairment

This involves substance use leading to recurrent problems. This includes:

  • Problems in relationships
  • Failure to meet responsibilities at work, school, or home
  • Withdrawal from social or recreational activities

Risky Use

This refers to continued substance use. This is despite knowing it’s causing or worsening present problems. It also includes engaging in hazardous activities while under the influence of substances.

Pharmacological Criteria

This refers to the development of tolerance. Tolerance refers to needing increased amounts of the substance to get the desired effect. 


Pharmacological criteria also include experiencing withdrawal symptoms when substance use is stopped.

Substances Used in SUD

Substance use disorder can involve various substances. Some of these include:

  • Alcohol
  • Cocaine
  • Heroin
  • Methamphetamine
  • Prescription medications

The severity of substance use disorder can range from mild to severe. This depends on the number and intensity of symptoms.

What is Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)?

Factors to Consider When Determining the Best Treatment for Substance Use Disorder

Determining the best treatment for substance use disorder isn’t straightforward. There are several factors to consider to ensure an individualized and effective plan.

The goal is to identify the most suitable treatment options. It should address the unique needs and circumstances of each person seeking recovery.

Below are some factors to consider when determining the best treatment for substance use disorder:

Individual Assessment

This involves conducting a comprehensive assessment. It is crucial in understanding:

  • The individual’s specific needs
  • The substance use history
  • Co-occurring mental health conditions
  • Medical history
  • Social support
  • Treatment goals

This assessment helps identify the severity of the substance use disorder. It also helps identify any underlying factors contributing to addiction.

Type and Severity of Substance Use Disorder

The type of substance and the severity of the substance use disorder are important. They play a significant role in determining the appropriate treatment approach.

Different substances may need specific interventions. The severity of the addiction influences the intensity and duration of treatment.

Co-Occurring Mental Health Conditions

Many people with substance use disorder also experience co-occurring mental health conditions. These include conditions like anxiety, depression, or trauma-related disorders.

Considering the presence of these conditions is crucial in developing a treatment approach. This refers to an approach that addresses both SUD and mental health needs at the same time.

Treatment Setting and Level of Care

The treatment setting and level of care should be based on the individual’s needs. Options include:

  • Outpatient treatment
  • Intensive outpatient programs (IOP)
  • Partial hospitalization programs (PHP)
  • Residential treatment
  • Inpatient settings

Choice of Treatment Setting

There are some factors that influence the choice of treatment setting. They include:

  • The severity of the substance use disorder
  • The presence of co-occurring conditions
  • The level of support and structure needed

Evidence-Based Practices

Best practices and evidence-based approaches should guide the selection of treatment options. These are approaches that have been extensively researched.

They have also been proven effective in treating substance use disorders. Examples include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Motivational interviewing (MI)
  • Contingency management (CM)
  • Medication-assisted treatment (MAT)

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

For certain people, medication-assisted treatment may be an essential component. MAT involves the use of medications to reduce cravings and manage withdrawal symptoms. Medications are also used to support recovery.

Examples of these medications include methadone, buprenorphine, or naltrexone. The appropriateness of MAT depends on the specific substance use disorder. It also depends on individual circumstances.3

Individual Preferences and Readiness for Change

Some other factors to consider include:

  • The individual’s preferences
  • Readiness for change
  • Motivation to engage in treatment

These factors should be considered. Collaborative decision-making and involving the person in treatment planning are also important. This is because they can enhance treatment engagement and outcomes.

Support Systems and Aftercare

Another factor to consider is the availability of support systems. This includes family support, peer support groups, and aftercare programs. These are all vital for sustained recovery.

Identifying and connecting people with these resources can improve treatment outcomes. It can also contribute to long-term success.4

Cultural Sensitivity and Diversity

Recognizing and respecting a person’s cultural background, beliefs, and values is crucial in developing a treatment approach that is sensitive and inclusive. 


Culturally competent care can enhance engagement, trust, and treatment outcomes.

Continuum of Care

It’s important to ensure a continuum of care. This care should span various stages of treatment. This includes:

  • Detoxification
  • Primary treatment
  • Aftercare

A seamless transition from one level of care to another promotes ongoing support. It also reduces the risk of relapse.

It’s important to consider these factors when determining the best treatment for substance use disorder. Healthcare professionals and patients can work together to develop a comprehensive plan. This plan should maximize the chances of successful, long-term recovery.

best treatment for substance use disorder

Evidence-Based Treatment Plans that Rank as the Best Treatment for Substance Use Disorder

When it comes to evidence-based treatments for SUD, several show higher success rates. These approaches have also been useful in reducing substance misuse. 


These treatments have been extensively researched and evaluated. Robust evidence of their effectiveness has also been provided.

Some evidence-based treatments considered the best treatment for substance use disorder will be detailed below.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT is a widely recognized and studied form of therapy for substance use disorder. It focuses on identifying thinking and behavior associated with substance use. It also helps in changing these patterns.

CBT helps people develop coping strategies and improve problem-solving skills. It also helps them enhance their motivation for change. Studies show positive outcomes and long-term success rates when CBT is incorporated into substance use treatment.5

Motivational Interviewing (MI)

MI is a person-centered therapeutic approach. It aims to increase a person’s motivation and commitment to change.

MI helps people explore their ambivalence about substance use. It does this through empathetic and non-confrontational conversations. 


MI also encourages people to develop intrinsic motivation for recovery. Research has consistently shown the efficacy of MI in reducing substance use.

Contingency Management (CM)

CM is a behavior modification approach. It uses positive reinforcement to incentivize abstinence from substance use. 


People receive tangible rewards, such as vouchers or prizes, for meeting treatment goals, such as drug-free urine tests.

CM has shown significant effectiveness in promoting abstinence and improving treatment retention.6

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

MAT combines medications with counseling and behavioral therapies to treat substance use disorder.

Medications, such as methadone, buprenorphine, or naltrexone, are used to manage withdrawal symptoms. They are also used to reduce cravings and restore normal brain function.

MAT has consistently demonstrated higher success rates. It has been particularly effective in opioid use disorder. Here, it improves treatment retention, thus reducing illicit substance use and preventing overdoses.

12-Step Facilitation

It is based on the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA). 12-Step facilitation is an evidence-based treatment approach. It guides people through the 12-step recovery process.

The 12-steps emphasize:

  • Acceptance
  • Surrender
  • Support from a higher power
  • Fellowship

Studies have shown the positive impact of 12-Step facilitation on treatment outcomes. These include increased abstinence, improved functioning, and enhanced social support.

An Overview of 12-Step Programs for Recovery

Family Therapy

Family therapy involves the participation of family members in the treatment process. It helps to address the impact of substance use disorder on family dynamics. 

It focuses on:

  • Improving communication
  • Enhancing problem-solving skills
  • Providing support for both the individual with substance use disorder and their family

What is Family Therapy?

Important Note About Best Treatment for Substance Use Disorder

It is important to note that the success of these evidence-based treatments may vary. 


Success depends on several factors like:

  • Individual characteristics
  • The severity of substance use disorder
  • Presence of co-occurring mental health conditions
  • Treatment adherence
best treatment for substance use disorder

Best Treatment for Substance Use Disorder: The Role of Alternative Therapies

Holistic approaches are useful in enhancing the effectiveness of substance use disorder treatment. Examples include mindfulness practices or alternative therapies.

These approaches recognize the interconnectedness of:

  • Physical
  • Mental
  • Emotional
  • Spiritual well-being

They aim to address the whole person rather than only focusing on the symptoms of addiction.

Mindfulness Practices

Mindfulness practices include mindfulness meditation, breathing exercises, and body awareness. They’ve gained recognition in the field of substance use disorder treatment.

Mindfulness practices help people develop a greater understanding of their cravings and triggers. They also help them understand their habitual patterns of thinking and behavior.

They do so by cultivating present-moment awareness and non-judgmental acceptance. This increased self-awareness can support relapse prevention and improve emotional regulation. It can also enhance well-being.

Stress Reduction and Coping Skills

Holistic approaches often incorporate stress reduction techniques and coping skills. These often prove beneficial in substance use disorder treatment. Techniques like yoga, meditation, and deep breathing exercises can help people manage stress.

They can also help them reduce anxiety and develop healthier coping mechanisms. Holistic therapies promote relaxation and provide people with effective tools for managing emotional and situational stressors.

Emotional Regulation and Self-Compassion

Substance use disorder is often accompanied by difficulties in emotional regulation and self-compassion.

Holistic approaches, like mindfulness practices, emphasize:

  • Self-compassion
  • Non-judgment
  • Acceptance of one’s experiences

This can be particularly helpful in reducing feelings of shame, guilt, and self-blame. Holistic approaches contribute to improved emotional well-being. They also contribute to increased resilience in the face of challenges.

Addressing Underlying Trauma and Co-occurring Disorders

Holistic approaches recognize that substance use disorder may be interconnected with underlying trauma. They also recognize that it may be connected to co-occurring mental health disorders.

Mindfulness-based therapies and alternative approaches, like eye movement desensitization, are useful here. They can help patients process and heal from past traumatic experiences.

Promoting Well-being

Holistic approaches prioritize well-being. They do this by incorporating lifestyle factors, such as exercise, nutrition, and sleep hygiene, into the treatment plan.

Engaging in regular physical activity and adopting a nutritious diet can improve health. Ensuring adequate sleep can also contribute to improved physical and mental health.

Research on the Best Treatment for Substance Use Disorder

Research on the effectiveness of holistic approaches in treatment is still ongoing. But, preliminary evidence suggests that they can enhance treatment outcomes. 


These approaches can provide people with additional tools and resources to support their recovery journey.

best treatment for substance use disorder

Potential Barriers or Challenges in Assessing the Best Treatment for Substance Use Disorder

Accessing the best treatment for substance use disorder can be hindered by various barriers and challenges. Overcoming these barriers is crucial. This is because it ensures people can receive the necessary care and support for their recovery.

Here are potential barriers and challenges in accessing the best treatment for substance use disorder:

Stigma and Shame

Stigma and shame often surround substance use disorder. These can prevent people from seeking help and accessing treatment. To overcome this barrier, efforts are needed to reduce stigma.

This can be done through:

  • Education
  • Public awareness campaigns
  • Community engagement

It’s important to promote a non-judgmental and compassionate environment that emphasizes the medical nature of addiction. This can encourage people to seek treatment without fear of stigma.

Limited Treatment Availability and Resources

Insufficient treatment availability and resources can impede access to the best treatment. This includes:

  • A shortage of treatment facilities
  • Long waitlists
  • Limited financial coverage

To overcome this challenge, it’s necessary to increase investment in treatment infrastructure. It’s also necessary to expand treatment capacity and improve insurance coverage. Collaborations between government agencies and healthcare providers can help address these gaps.

Best Treatment for Substance Use Disorder: Geographical Barriers

Living in remote or underserved areas can limit access to specialized SUD treatment. Telemedicine and telehealth services can help overcome geographical barriers.

They do this by providing remote access to the assessment. They also provide remote access to counseling and ongoing support. 


Expanding telehealth infrastructure can also enhance treatment accessibility for people in remote areas.

Lack of Integrated Care

Fragmented healthcare systems can be a barrier to comprehensive treatment. This is especially true when there is no integration between SUD treatment and mental health or primary care services.

Implementing integrated care models can improve access and outcomes. Here, many providers work together to address both the disorder and co-occurring conditions. Collaboration and information sharing can enhance the coordination of care.

Cost and Insurance Coverage

SUD treatment can also be expensive. This may serve as a significant barrier for some people. Advocacy efforts are necessary to promote comprehensive insurance coverage for addiction treatment.

This includes:

  • Medication-assisted treatment
  • Counseling
  • Rehabilitation services

Best Treatment for Substance Use Disorder: How Can J. Flowers Help?

Are you currently in search of the best treatment for substance use disorder? If you are, then you should know that J. Flowers Health Institute provides the best treatment for substance use disorder.

At J. Flowers Health Institute, we offer several holistic, evidence-based therapies. These include CBT, MAT, and so much more. All our treatments are individualized. This means that they’ll get tailored to meet your specific needs and circumstances.

Our Treatment Environment

We offer the best treatment for substance use disorder in a serene, quiet environment. You’ll be able to focus on getting better without any distractions whatsoever.

Contact J. Flowers Health Today.

End your search for the best treatment for substance use disorder today. Reach out to us, and let us set you on the path to an addiction-free life.