If you have been researching addiction treatment programs in Maryland or anywhere else, you will no doubt have encountered the term evidence-based treatment. But what does that mean, exactly? In this blog, Maryland Addiction Recovery Center (MARC) answers the most common questions about evidence-based treatment for substance use disorders.

What is Evidence-Based Treatment, Exactly?

Evidence-based treatment is not the exclusive domain of substance abuse treatment, but that’s where we will focus here. As for the definition–evidence-based treatment is just what it sounds like. Treatment, which is based upon scientific evidence. Namely, evidence that shows a particular type of care is effective.

The fact is that addiction wasn’t very well understood at all for most of human history. It wasn’t until the latter half of the twentieth century that medical science really began to take a closer look to try and better comprehend what was happening when a person became addicted and how they could be helped.

Practical and Effective Care for Addiction

A drug and alcohol treatment program in Maryland that offers evidence-based care, such as MARC, delivers addiction care based on clinical research. The days of blindly treating alcoholism and drug dependence are over. A modern program like MARC provides comprehensive recovery planning and aftercare support.

This is an integral part of the evidence-based addiction treatment model. Because one of the things the evidence has shown us is that substance use disorders are a chronic condition. Simply stabilizing someone and then sending them home doesn’t work.

Like any chronic condition, managing addiction requires permanent lifestyle changes, and integrating those into your life is a lot easier when you have a plan and the support you need

The Principles of Evidence-Based Addiction Treatment

Below are some of the core characteristics which help defined evidence-based addiction treatment.

Scientifically Validated Techniques

Evidence-based addiction treatment utilizes methods that have been scientifically tested and proven to be effective in treating substance use disorders. This could include medication-assisted treatment (MAT), cognitive-behavioral therapy, and motivational interviewing, for example.

Individualized Treatment Approaches

Evidence-based treatment recognizes that each person’s experience with addiction is unique, and so the most effective treatment plan will look different for different people. Individualized treatment plans are based on the client’s specific set of challenges.

Reliance on Data and Outcomes

Evidence-based treatment relies on data to both measure progress and change treatment plans as needed. It also includes aftercare planning and long-term follow-up to track individual outcomes.

Holistic Approach to Addiction Care

Evidence-based treatment often involves a holistic approach, since addiction is a condition that affects not only the body but the mind and spirit as well. The most effective treatment addresses each of these facets.

Continuous Learning and Evolution

Evidence-based treatment methods are continually improved upon and updated as new research and evidence become available. This ensures that the treatment clients receive is based on the most up-to-date research.

Where Did Evidence-Based Treatment Come From?

The field of drug and alcohol treatment hasn’t always been quite so steeped in the principles of evidence-based care. Before the 1970s, most substance abuse treatment was based in hospitals and psychiatric hospitals. Even into the 1980s, standalone addiction treatment centers weren’t very common.

In a hospital setting, the focus was on stabilization. Each patient’s needs would be assessed first. If a person came in due to addiction to alcohol, benzodiazepines or another drug that causes physical withdrawal symptoms, a medical detox protocol would be followed. The most addiction treatment a patient could expect beyond that was usually limited to moderated group discussions or group therapy and 12-step meetings.

Many people certainly managed to get sober this way and establish lives in recovery, but very little research was being done to track outcomes after treatment, much less to determine how effective different treatments were. That began to change in the 1980s and 90s. As more and more dedicated substance abuse treatment centers came online, more attention was being paid to what happened to patients after treatment.

How Drug Treatment in Maryland and the U.S. Has Evolved

The follow-through and the gathering of data to determine which forms of treatment were most effective marked the beginning of the first serious integration of evidence-based treatment into the drug and alcohol treatment center model.

It isn’t that addiction treatment centers in Maryland and the rest of the United States weren’t helping people before this. They certainly were. Thousands of people were benefiting from substance use disorder treatment every year. The push toward a wholly-integrated evidence-based model for addiction was motivated by a desire to better serve people with substance use disorders.

Getting sober and staying that way can be incredibly challenging. The directors and clinicians at Maryland drug rehabs and other facilities wanted to ensure they were giving their clients every possible advantage to succeed in recovery. The result was more and more drug treatment programs that rely upon proven methods of care and utilized and evidence-based care model.

Evidence-Based Addiction Treatment in Maryland

Treatment for substance use disorders has developed at a tremendous pace over just the last few decades. In just 30-40 years we’ve gone from hospital-based programs to a 28-day inpatient model to the modern extended-care treatment, which is producing the best results today.

During that same period, we have learned a great deal more about addiction and what methods, approaches, and treatments best equip someone for lasting recovery. At Maryland Addiction Recovery Center (MARC), we stay informed on the latest developments in addiction and behavioral science to ensure our clients receive the best substance use disorder care available.

If you or someone you love is challenged by a substance use disorder, we want to help.

Please give us a call today at (866) 929-2159