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Mental health services: Substance abuse

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Substance abuse treatment

For alcohol addiction

There are several options for treating alcohol addiction:

  • your health care provider (for counseling, treatment, referral or other local resources)
  • Center for Substance Abuse Treatment: samhsa.gov, 1-800-662-4357 (to learn about local treatment programs or to talk with someone about drinking problems)
  • Alcoholics Anonymous: support group, aa.org or your local phone book (to find a chapter close to you)
  • Hazelden: hazelden.org or 1-800-257-7810 (24-hour helpline)
  • "Rethinking Drinking" by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism: rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov.

Source: Allina Health Patient Education, Alcohol, mh-ahc-13735
Reviewed by: Allina Health Patient Education
First Published: 11/15/2012
Last Reviewed: 11/15/2012

For cocaine addiction

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There is currently no medicine to treat cocaine addiction. The best available treatment is behavioral therapy. The user may have therapy as an outpatient or while staying at a health care facility. As part of therapy, the user may have:

  • contingency management (The user gets rewards for staying in treatment and remaining cocaine-free. Earning points for drug-free urine tests, the user can exchange the points for items that encourage healthy living.)
  • cognitive-behavioral therapy (The user learns coping skills to help break the cycle. This type of therapy teaches the user to recognize the situations in which he or she is most likely to use cocaine, how to avoid those situations, and how to cope with the problems that go with drug abuse.)

Residential programs help the user get back into society, work-related rehabilitation and other supportive services.


Source: Allina Patient Education, Cocaine, mh-ahc-13193 (6/04)
Reviewed by: Allina Patient Education
First Published: 06/01/2004
Last Reviewed: 06/01/2004

Treatment for heroin addiction

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Related link

There are several options for treating heroin addiction. Options include the following.

  • Methadone, a lab-created opiate, is a medicine that blocks the effects of heroin and eliminates withdrawal symptoms for 24 to 36 hours. Another medicine, LAAM (levo-alpha-acetyl-methadol) blocks the effects of heroin for up to 72 hours. Other medicines (naloxone, naltexone and buprenorphine) are also used to treat heroin addiction.
  • Contingency management uses a voucher-based system to give the user rewards for staying in treatment and remaining heroin-free. Earning points for drug-free urine tests, the user can exchange the points for items that encourage healthy living.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps the user learn coping skills to help break the cycle. This type of therapy teaches the user to recognize the situations in which he or she is most likely to use heroin, how to avoid those situations, and how to cope with the problems that go with drug abuse.

Source: Allina Patient Education, Heroin, mh-ahc-13222 (7/04)
Reviewed by: Allina Patient Education
First Published: 07/01/2004
Last Reviewed: 07/01/2004

Treatment for marijuana addiction

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About 60 percent of 12- to 17-year-olds who entered drug treatment in 2000 identified marijuana as their drug of choice.

There are no medicines available to treat marijuana addiction.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps the user learn coping skills to help break the cycle. This type of therapy teaches the user to recognize the situations in which he or she is most likely to use marijuana, how to avoid those situations, and how to cope with the problems that go with drug abuse.


Source: Allina Patient Education, Marijuana, mh-ahc-13223 (7/04)
Reviewed by: Allina Patient Education
First Published: 07/01/2004
Last Reviewed: 07/01/2004

Treatment for methamphetamine addiction

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There is currently no medicine to treat methamphetamine addiction.

The best available treatment is cognitive-behavioral therapy to help the user learn coping skills to help break the cycle. This type of therapy teaches the user to recognize the situations when he or she is most likely to use methamphetamines, how to avoid those situations, and how to cope with the problems related to drug abuse. Drug abuse recovery support groups may also be helpful.


Source: Allina Patient Education, Methamphetamine, mh-ahc-13195 (6/04)
Reviewed by: Allina Patient Education
First Published: 06/01/2004
Last Reviewed: 06/01/2004