Through assessment and evaluation by addictions counselors, physician addictionologists, and others, a diagnosis is made of the degree and type of abuse or chemical dependency. Depending on the diagnosis and subsequent reassessments, treatment recommendations could include support group involvement, counseling, or outpatient or inpatient treatment with aftercare. For a chemical dependency diagnosis, good 12 step based treatment, counseling, and aftercare are often recommended, which in turn lead to ongoing involvement in 12 step recovery groups.
Chemical dependency cannot be cured, but it can be controlled. The "medicine" that has by far the best track record with people who have crossed the line from abuse to chemical dependency is adherence to the principals of 12 step groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. These are nonprofessional self help groups with a well defined method to maintain long term sobriety. The most successful professional treatment programs for chemically dependent people are 12 step based.
Long term recovery rates for chemical dependency range from 25% to over 80%, depending on the depth of his or her "bottom", the consequences surrounding that bottom, the type of treatment, and the type of long term support. The good news is, the group with the greatest chance of maintaining long term sobriety are health care professions who incur the potential loss of license for the first few years of recovery, who complete a solid 12 step based treatment program, and who become involved with long term 12 step activities such as regular meeting attendance and "working the steps." That group has shown 80-90% success rates based on 5 year follow-up studies. Of course, the tragedy is that only about 3% of addicts and alcoholics take that first step that can be so success in treating their fatal disease.