The 4 Strongest Evidence-based Programs for Addiction and Mental Illness Recovery

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Programs with proven results provide peace of mind and clarity to any given treatment center program. Addiction and mental illness both require experts who care about the individual person, and are willing to individualize each component of the program to best suit the client’s needs. By exploring the four strongest evidence-based programs for addiction and mental illness recovery, you can have a better working knowing of what is most effective and what may be a good fit for you. With evidence-based programs, there are 3 primary components that determine what makes the list:

  • Clinical research: If there is a lot of research proving the effectiveness of a treatment program with minimal side effects, it makes the list.
  • Clinician judgment: Therapists use their judgment and experience to determine what they believe should make the list.
  • Client choice: Patients are informed of their choices, and they can refuse certain methods of treatment if they wish.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) has listed the following as the strongest evidence-based programs:


  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Psych Central notes that CBT is a short-term, goal-oriented psychotherapy treatment that takes a hands-on, practical approach to problem-solving. Clients learn how to restructure old, negative thought patterns with new, positive and productive ones. Previous research has shown this to be extremely effective with many drug addictions, alcoholism, and mental illnesses.
  • Motivational enhancement therapy (MET). Based on the stages of change model, this approach aims to evoke rapid and internally motivated change by helping an individual resolve their ambivalence about engaging in treatment and stopping their addiction or working through their mental illness.
  • Community Reinforcement. The NIAAA states this approach aims to achieve abstinence by eliminating positive reinforcement for addictive behavior and enhancing positive reinforcement for sobriety. Several studies have provided evidence towards the achievement of abstinence through building the client’s motivation to quit, helping the client initiate sobriety, analyzing the client’s addictive pattern, and involving significant others in the recovery process.
  • 12-Step Facilitation. This is a structured, individualized approach for introducing clients to the 12-step program. The NIDA claims that 12-step facilitation preps individuals by helping them learn about acceptance, surrender, and active involvement in 12 step meetings.


Whether you have an addiction or mental illness, exploring these evidence-based programs may help you decide if any of these treatment options would work best for you.




If you would like to speak with someone about treatment programs, call us today at 888-425-1455. Avalon Malibu truly cares about your recovery; we believe in individualized treatment plans just to ensure that you are taken care of. Simple Recovery is another one of our treatment centers that also provides services related to employment and integration into the community – call us today to receive a consultation and to learn of how we can best suit your needs.

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