When a loved one enters an addiction treatment program, he or she must follow different phases of treatment based on the situation and his or her current health. Each individual follows a five-phase step-down model of treatment that focuses on individual needs and goals. The National Institutes on Health explains that a step-down approach to the recovery process recognizes that your loved one will face several challenges, including fragile physical and emotional health. During the first phase of treatment, your loved one goes through a drug assessment program.

Initial Assessments

The National Institute on Drug Abuse says that an effective addiction treatment program recognizes the differences between individuals and strives to create a personalized treatment plan based on the needs of the specific person. During the first phase of a five-phase step-down treatment model, a loved one enters a program and goes through an initial assessment process.

Medical doctors and therapists evaluate each individual’s physical health, psychological well-being and social health before creating a treatment program. The initial assessment looks for any complications or concerns that impact the treatment process and require attention before starting further plans. Concerns that may arise during a drug assessment include:

  • Physical ailments or illnesses
  • Injuries that cause an individual pain or discomfort
  • Co-occurring disorders, such as depression or anxiety disorders
  • Isolation due to substance abuse or lack of a strong social network
  • Fragile emotions, particularly in relation to traumatic experiences
  • Vitamin or mineral deficiencies associated with substance abuse

Each individual has different health concerns, experiences and situations. Creating an effective treatment plan requires an appropriate approach based on accurate information. In some cases, a treatment plan starts with improving an individual’s physical health while offering educational information about the risks associated with substance abuse. In other situations, a treatment plan focuses on individual counseling for traumatic experiences.

Creating a Personalized Treatment Program

The National Institutes on Health suggest that a highly structured treatment model that changes and adapts based on an individual’s current goals and needs allows the person to reach specific goals. After completing an initial assessment and evaluating an individual’s current health, professionals develop a personalized treatment program.

Personalized treatment plans focus on the specific concerns that arise during a drug assessment. The National Institutes on Health say that an initial treatment plan focuses on the immediate concerns. In particular, it focuses on helping a loved one achieve abstinence from the substance and improve current health so that he or she has the ability to focus on further treatment programs.

Following the Plan

When your loved one starts treatment, he or she follows the initial plan that doctors and therapists recommend during the drug assessment process. Over time, professionals adjust the treatment program to reflect any changes to his or her physical and emotional state of mind. Adjustments take place periodically throughout the treatment program so that a loved one continues making progress.

The first phase of treatment sets the foundation so that your loved one has the tools to build a healthy lifestyle. It allows the individual to focus on recovery goals without distractions from physical or emotional health.

Going through a treatment program offers a chance to start fresh and regain personal well-being. The intake process includes a complete assessment so that a personalized treatment program helps a loved one accomplish specific goals and improve the current situation.


  1. 5 Stages of Treatment, The National Institutes on Health, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64208/,
  2. Principles of Effective Treatment, The National Institute on Drug Abuse, December 2012, http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/principles-effective-treatment,
  3. Phases of Treatment, The National Institutes on Health, 2005, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64172/