Addiction is a brain disease that affects almost every aspect of a person’s life.  Addiction can affect a person’s ability to work, physical and mental health, family life, and many other areas. BRC Healthcare has facilities that offer addiction therapy services to help people live healthier, more fulfilling lives free from substance abuse.

What is Addiction?

Addiction affects both the mind and body. Addiction is caused by changes in brain chemistry that lead individuals to become addicted to substances with long-lasting effects on the brain’s central nervous system.

With repeated use of addictive substances, these changes can result in compulsive drug-seeking behaviors along with severe withdrawal symptoms when they stop using drugs or alcohol. People who suffer from addiction are unable to control their need for substances even when it causes harm or danger to them and those around them.

Addiction Therapy: Types of Treatment

In many cases, treatment for addiction begins with detoxification. Addiction treatment options consist of a combination of group, individual, and family therapywhat is addiction therapy sessions. These types of therapy focus on teaching those in recovery the skills needed to get and stay sober, as well as how to navigate various situations without turning to drugs or alcohol.

Behavioral therapy is perhaps the most commonly utilized type of therapy for addiction that is frequently used during rehabilitation. A general behavioral therapeutic approach has been adapted into a variety of effective techniques such as schema-focused therapy, narrative therapy, and motivational interviewing. These approaches focus on helping people develop more positive behaviors to replace their drug use.

What Is the Best Type of Therapy for Substance Abuse?

Many different types of therapy are used to treat addiction. There is no perfect therapy for drug abuse. This is mainly because clients vary drastically, and so do their situations. Since each person’s circumstances are often complex and unique, having various substance abuse therapies is most beneficial.

Some proven substance abuse therapies include:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioral therapy is an evidence-based treatment approach for addiction that has garnered increasing scientific interest.

CBT can be used to treat a variety of mental health problems, including addiction. Cognitive behavioral therapy helps people develop the skills they need to identify cognitive distortions. Cognitive distortions are unrealistic negative thoughts that therapists believe are the driving force behind maladaptive behaviors.

By identifying these habits and behaviors, people are able to learn how to respond in healthier ways. Today, cognitive behavioral therapy is often used as a group therapy or individualized counseling strategy for people who have addiction issues.

Contingency Management (CM)

Contingency management is an individual therapy that is used during addiction treatment. It shares some characteristics and is often used in conjunction with cognitive behavioral therapy. Contingency management is effective in treating issues involving substance abuse. For example, it may be used for addictions to substances such as:

  • Alcohol
  • Opioids
  • Marijuana
  • Stimulants

Behavioral therapies like contingency management serve as a way for clients to control their own behavior while managing it through means like support groups or professional counselors. It increases positive behaviors (compliance) by providing incentives and reduces negative behaviors (non-compliant actions). An essential aspect of contingency management is that it gives people something they want in return for the change in behavior that they are trying to achieve.

Motivational Interviewing (MI)

Motivational interviewing is a tool that encourages participants to commit themselves to change. MI is an individual therapy characterized by:

  • Active listening and the exploration of ambivalence
  • Building self-efficacy

MI helps people identify how they can solve their own problems, rather than giving advice or coercing them into action. As motivational interviewing progresses, participants become more invested in seeking solutions. This may be followed by behavior changes over time through a series of steps with the therapist.

Motivational interviewing also helps people recognize the reasons why it may be easier for them to remain in their substance patterns. By doing so, it allows the individual to alleviate internal conflicts between maintaining these behaviors and forming new ones.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

DBT was created to help with some of the aspects that cognitive behavioral therapy doesn’t cover. In many cases, when a person abuses substances, they become anxious and depressed. Or they develop addiction issues to cope with their current mental health symptoms. Either way, this creates a positive feedback loop where the person becomes even more anxious and depressed after abusing substances.

Adding dialectical thought processes into cognitive behavioral therapy helps to reduce cravings while helping people avoid opportunities to relapse. DBT can be especially helpful in treating people with mental health disorders such as borderline personality disorder.

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)

REBT is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy that incorporates rational and cognitive therapy. REBT is often used in conjunction with DBT to treat anxiety, addictions, and other mental health issues. Rational emotive behavior therapy helps patients understand their own thoughts and behaviors. 

This new understanding helps people develop better habits and thinking in more positive and rational ways and gain healthier emotions. The base for REBT is the idea that rational thinking comes from within; external situations do not give one the feeling of happiness or unhappiness.

Matrix Model

The Matrix Model was initially developed to help people with addiction issues involving stimulants. It is now used in various situations, focusing mainly on family therapy and group therapies, drug educations, self-help participation, and relapse prevention. The Matrix Model teaches people to practice good behavior by helping them understand the benefits of self-esteem, self-worth, and dignity.

12-Step Model

12-Step facilitation promotes continued abstinence by social involvement and meetings. Support groups are beneficial for many reasons. These meetings can be found all across the country and are commonly held by 12-Step fellowships, including Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.

How Effective is Addiction Therapy?

The effectiveness of addiction therapy varies depending on the individual patient, their level of engagement in addiction treatment, the therapist and other members of the treatment team, and the type of therapy being provided. For example, research indicates that patients learn skills in cognitive behavioral therapy sessions that tend to last beyond addiction treatment completion.

In other words, what is taught in cognitive behavioral therapy seems to have a positive lasting impact on drug addiction treatment patients.

What is the Most Effective Therapy?

Substance abuse therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy and contingency management have also shown long-term effectiveness in treating many mental health and substance use disorders. One study found that introducing incentive-based therapies led to improved addiction treatment retention.

Medication in Therapy for Substance Abuse Treatment

Medications may be used in different stages in addiction treatment to help with the client’s recovery. Additionally, medications can be used to target specific symptoms that accompany substance use disorders. Medications may be used to help reduce cravings and manage withdrawal from opioids, alcohol, benzodiazepines, and other substances.

Opioid agonist medications such as buprenorphine and methadone, as well as antagonist therapy with naltrexone, may be used to help those with an addiction to opioids. For those in recovery from alcohol use disorders, medications like acamprosate, disulfiram, and naltrexone can be used to decrease alcohol addiction cravings.

Additional medications may be used during detox, withdrawal, or treatment to address co-occurring mental health issues.

What are Co-Occurring Disorders?

Almost half of the people in recovery are diagnosed with co-occurring disorders. Co-occurring disorders, also known as dual diagnosis, refer to clients that are diagnosed with more than one mental health disorder. In most cases, this is addiction and another mental health issue such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Personality disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder

Co-occurring disorders may occur as overlapping risk factors, drug-induced brain changes, or self-medicating.

  • Overlapping risk factors: Common risk factors for substance abuse and mental health conditions may overlap. In these cases, both genetics and environmental factors play a role. For example, exposure to trauma can lead to the development of mental health issues and addiction.
  • Drug-induced brain changes: Long-term addiction can lead to brain changes that prompt the development of mental health disorders. Many studies show that substance use affects parts of the brain that deal with mood, impulsivity, which can lead to developing symptoms of a mental health disorder.
  • Self-medicating: Many people with symptoms of mental health disorders find that substance use can help short-term. This is extremely dangerous since it solidifies the cycle of addiction. Instead of actually tending to the mental health disorder, substance abuse masks the symptoms. This leads to an exacerbation of symptoms as well as the development of a deeply rooted addiction.

Co-occurring disorders require specialized therapy and substance abuse treatment. With specialized addiction therapy and dual diagnosis treatment, recovery is possible.

Alternative Substance Abuse Therapies

Though there are many evidence-based therapies that exist, alternative therapies for addiction can be effective as well. Among these alternative therapies is holistictherapy for drug abuse medicine, which seeks to treat the mind and body.

A holistic approach uses multiple methods of treatment tailored specifically to the individual patient. This may include diet changes, healthy sleeping patterns, and other similar treatments to help symptom relief. The goal is to strengthen the natural healing process so that it can more effectively manage symptoms without drugs and medications.

Alternative addiction therapy programs that promote recovery through overall well being and stress management include:

  • Exercise: Physical activity helps to naturally reduce stress levels while releasing uncomfortable emotions. Exercise has proven to be an effective alternative therapy for drug abuse. Weight loss also helps with self-esteem issues and other characteristics that play a role in addiction.
  • Yoga: Yoga comes in various forms and can impact people in many ways. Just the breathing and relaxation aspect that comes with yoga can be beneficial. This can be attributed to stress reduction, self-awareness, and reduction of tension and stress.
  • Meditation: Recovery is often stressful. Meditation can help bring people into the moment and aid in acceptance. Mindfulness is a useful tool in recovery. Meditation combined with traditional practices is both effective and tension easing.
  • Massage/acupuncture: Massage can help people find states of relaxation without the use of substances. Similar to meditation, massage can help ease some of the tension that comes along with recovery. A massage is also a form of self-care, which leads to an increase in self-esteem. Studies show that massage can help ease some of the symptoms of withdrawal many faces during and after detox.
  • Experiential: This form of therapy refers to adventure, music, art, animal-assisted therapy, and more. Experiential therapy helps people truly experience their emotions which, in turn, helps them understand and potentially reconceptualize their emotions through recovery.

How To Get The Most Effective Addiction Therapy

Addiction treatment can be a very personal experience. In order to find the treatment process that is right for each individual, it is important not to rely on preconceptions and instead focus more on what will work best. This may mean trying several different addiction therapies before finding the one that works most effectively.

It is up to the individual to get the most out of each program they enroll in. This means research and trial are very important when looking for addiction treatments that will prove effective.

It is necessary to understand what addiction really looks like and how addiction works on both a short-term as well as long-term basis. The more one knows about addiction itself, the easier it becomes to find addiction therapy services.

What Can Be Done To Prevent Drug Abuse?

A few tips that can help prevent substance use include:

  1. Addiction education: Understand addiction and how it can develop.
  2. Avoiding temptation: Healthy friendships are crucial. In some cases, you may even need to avoid friends or family members if they urge you to use substances.
  3. Seek help for mental illness: Addiction and mental illness commonly go hand in hand. If you have mental health issues, it is best to reach out for help and consult a professional.
  4. Understand risk factors: If your family member’s history involves mental health issues and addiction, it’s best to be ahead of the game and prevent future issues. The more aware you are, the easier you can prevent and overcome.
  5. Keep a balance in your life: People often turn to substances to cope with stress. Develop goals and stay focused on keeping a healthy lifestyle to avoid addiction.

Find Help With BRC Healthcare

BRC healthcare provides evidence-based traditional therapies in conjunction with alternative therapies to best help each of our clients. We have a strong understanding of addiction and how addiction therapies play a role in recovery. If you or a loved one are dealing with addiction, please do not hesitate to call us today.