Most addiction treatments are designed to do more than simply reduce or remove alcohol or drug use - they focus on getting addicted people to change their lifestyle and even their core life values as a way of preventing return of the problems.

During detoxification, or detox, healthcare practitioners physically stabilize an addicted person and get alcohol or other drugs out of his or her system, a necessary prerequisite to treatment.

Most addicted people must work hard to protect their recovery. They need to participate in therapy or support groups and to call upon others - friends or family members - for support. Twelve-step programs can be an essential source of ongoing assistance for people working to maintain long-term recovery.

Scientists have learned which addiction treatments are most effective. Addiction specialists, mental health experts, government agencies and insurance companies now strongly encourage treatment counselors and doctors to provide care that is grounded in the best scientific knowledge.

Here are some basics to get you started when it's time to pick someone to guide you through the process of addiction recovery. Decide whether you wish to attempt recovery without the framework of a treatment program. Understand the difference between counseling and therapy, choose between inpatient and outpatient care, learn the difference in care provided by doctors and other professionals.

If you're unclear about the seriousness of your drug or alcohol problem, or about what type of help you need, here's a guide that may help you find an approach that works for you.

Although decisions about where to send an adolescent for drug or alcohol treatment often must be made quickly because a family is in crisis, families should do as much homework as they can to find the right treatment program. Drug Strategies, a nonprofit institute, has developed a set of nine criteria that can help parents to find and evaluate treatment programs for their teens.

Families can find it challenging to find addiction treatment that is available, affordable, effective and well suited to their teen. Learn how to get information from prospective treatment providers on seven key points that can have a significant impact on treatment success.

The sooner a person with an addiction gets help, the better. Treatment may be mandated, as through a court program, or a family may be able to persuade a relative to get treatment by following a new, gentle approach called CRAFT.