An In-Depth Look at Evidence-Based Rehab

Jump to a section
Table of contents
Expand list

Choosing the right evidence-based rehab option is an essential starting point for lasting recovery. For many addicts, their first foray into recovery options is their only one. If they relapse or fail the first time, there’s no telling when they may be willing to make the effort to try again.

An addict with a substance abuse issue may try hard to quit but ultimately fail because they chose the wrong substance abuse treatment. With the correct planning and research, this is fully avoidable! Let’s explore below how to make the best-informed decision on choosing evidence-based drug and alcohol rehab.

Getting help is not easy. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health [1] (NSDUH), only 10.4% of the addicted population receive any type of treatment. For those who have plucked up the courage to reach out, it’s vital to choose the right evidence-based substance abuse treatment program to start you off on the right path straight away.

Start by making sure you’re careful and informed about making your choice. Take a look at the requirements of each addiction treatment. Don’t hesitate to take the time you need to collect all of the information required to make an informed decision.

Join Avenues Recovery, leaders in addiction rehabilitation, as we discover below what evidence-based rehab is and why it’s so effective in treating addiction.

What Is Evidence Based Rehab?

Evidence-based rehab is a rehabilitation treatment that uses only therapies and modalities proven to work for addiction recovery, as per current research and methodologies in scientific testing. 

When choosing a treatment option for drugs and alcohol, the first thing to consider is the amount of evidence backing each treatment. Those who pick evidence based rehab centers are much more likely to receive the help that they need. They are more likely to succeed and less likely to relapse.

Evidence based addiction treatment programs must have been tested. Scientists and medical professionals have looked at and evaluated the effectiveness of substance abuse treatment, the treatments must have gone through clinical trials. Evidence-based treatment of addiction is also likely to have been peer-reviewed extensively.

In all of the studies conducted, the treatments yielded positive outcomes. Chronic addicts were consistently able to succeed and get sober. It shows just how effective they are.

It’s important to point out that not all results will lead to complete recoveries. Some addicts won’t succeed despite the success of the evidence-based practice. In these situations, it’s vital not to give up. Regardless of how successful a type of treatment may be, it may just not be right for you. You may have to try out several different effective treatments to find one that works best for your needs and lifestyle.

Back to top

What Type of Treatments Does the Evidence Support?

There have been many studies focusing on various aspects of addiction treatment [2].

Additionally, there are many evidence-based approaches to addiction that support:

  • Medically supervised withdrawal. There’s around-the-clock supervision for each patient’s medical condition. This ensures that they don’t struggle with severe withdrawals that could end up fatal.
  • Medication to help with withdrawal symptoms. This treatment is also known as medication-assisted treatment. It includes drugs like anticonvulsants, benzodiazepines, and naltrexone, among many others.
  • Support groups, like the 12-step programs.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy, or any treatment that involves behavioral health.


There are no national standards, yet. Due to this reason, patients need to speak with the specialists at each recovery center to determine what each treatment facility offers. Compare notes to find out which addiction treatment programs may work best for you. Not all treatment facilities may follow evidence-based approaches.

The Different Levels of Evidence-Based Drug and Alcohol Treatment

When choosing an evidence-based addiction treatment, you must consider all the data. Not all data and evidence are equal, some are more objective than others. Some may be more of a personal bias. With that said, there are different levels of evidence. Understanding the differences between the various levels can help you to make a more informed decision.

The different levels of evidence include:

  • Level 1- evidence derived from true experimental designs. This includes clinical trials with some form of randomization.
  • Level 2- includes evidence that comes from quasi-experimental designs. These trials do not have any randomization in them at all.
  • Level 3- usually recommendations made by professionals in the addiction community. They have seen the effectiveness of these evidence-based alcohol treatments, although the treatments may not be scientifically tested.
  • Level 4– includes evidence that comes from qualitative literature reviews. Addiction treatments are recommended in respectable publications in the addiction industry.
  • Level 5- includes evidence that involves personal experiences of drug addicts.

Level 1 evidence has the highest value. When seeking addiction treatment for substance abuse, it’s best to look for treatments with a lot of level 1 evidence. While treatment options with much level 5 evidence may still be effective, it’s important to assign a lesser value to these treatment plans. These approaches to drug addiction will yield more positive outcomes.

If you’re unsure of the amount of evidence present in each type of treatment, speak to a specialist. Avenues Recovery can provide you with the answers and a clear overall picture. We’re happy to walk you through the pros and cons of each evidence based practice.

Back to top

Reasons to Stay Away from Anecdotal Evidence and Treatments that Are Not Evidence Based

Every substance abuser has heard of a miracle method for dealing with a drug or alcohol addiction. The miracle might involve the use of herbs, or specific therapies. While others may boast of a way that works for them, avoid anecdotal evidence without any scientific backing. These treatments are not evidence-based.

Miracles that are backed up by anecdotal evidence may be a waste of time. They may not only be ineffective but could even be dangerous to your situation or medical condition. It may also be a colossal waste of your time and money.

A Look at Evidence-Based Therapies

One of the most important components of dealing with drug or alcohol abuse is to enroll in therapies. Counseling and therapies deal with psychological withdrawal symptoms, as well as help to build better habits and teach alcoholics how to identify triggers. These evidence-based approaches to drug and alcohol addiction work on improving the patient’s mental health.

Evidence-based therapies are essential to recovery. With that said, not all therapies are the same. Some considerably more evidence backing them up than others.

The most popular and also effective therapies used to treat alcohol and substance addiction include:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) - This psychotherapeutic approach will retrain the brain and how it responds to addictive substances. It’s an ideal treatment approach for drug users with a substance abuse disorder as well. This treatment is effective in treating alcohol use disorder. It is one of the most recommended therapies of all time.
  • Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET) - This counseling approach increases an alcoholic’s inner motivation to quit. If you believe in yourself, you are more likely to succeed. You have all the power over your addiction. In this type of therapy, patients are encouraged to view themselves positively. They develop techniques that help them believe in their own ability to quit.
  • The Matrix Model - This type of treatment is a bit different. It uses education and encouragement to encourage drug users and alcoholics to seek and stay in recovery.


Choosing the right type of therapy is one of the first steps on the road to recovery. The right therapy will put you in the right state of mind to deal successfully with an addiction.

A Look at Evidence-Based Support Group




There’s no need to get sober alone. With so many people in the same situation, it’s easy to get support from others and share the struggle together.

Evidence-based approaches show that support groups can be very effective in dealing with alcohol and drug addiction. In particular, the following two types of support groups can yield excellent results:

  • 12-Step Facilitation Therapy and 12-Step Programs - Join other addicts and former addicts on their road to recovery. The meetings allow members to offer support to one another, and to discuss the best methods for getting sober and staying clean.
  • The community reinforcement approach - This type of support group provides support to individuals in specific communities. There are a lot of components involved. One of the more distinctive components is providing recovering addicts with voucher schemes as a reward for remaining abstinent.

Knowing whether these support groups are available in your area can make a world of difference. If you’re not sure, don’t hesitate to contact one of our specialists. We can direct you to all the right resources that are in your area. Finding help has never been easier.

Explore Evidence Based Pharmaceutical Agents

Studies have shown that some medicines can help treat alcohol and drug addiction. These medicines mainly deal with withdrawal symptoms. However, they also work in different ways to make it easier for addicts to get sober.

At times, a combination of different medicines is used to treat an alcohol use disorder. It all depends on the patient’s physical, mental, and psychological condition. Some of the most common medications used in most recovery programs include:

  • Acamprosate
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Disulfiram
  • Naltrexone
  • Weak benzodiazepines

Most of these medications come in the form of a pill, although some are in the form of an injection. The doses vary based on each patient’s condition. The medications are also prescribed for both inpatient treatment programs and outpatient treatment programs. Each alcohol rehab will offer different types of medicines.

Gain a Better Understanding of Evidence-Based Alcohol Treatment Options

If you’re struggling with alcohol addiction, we’re here to support you. There’s no need to wait until you’ve hit rock bottom. There are many different types of evidence-based alcohol treatment options available. To hear more about Avenues Recovery’s detox and treatment programs, feel free to reach out.

Our specialists can walk you through the various therapies available, as well as the drug and alcohol withdrawal process. Learn more about medications like Methadone, Suboxone, and Vivitrol. We’ll also work with you to figure out which therapies work best for your situation.

There’s a better life waiting for you ahead!

Back to top




Check your insurance

We received your insurance request!

We will get back to you shortly. While you wait... you may find our resource blog helpful. Take a look below: