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9 Effective Therapies & Treatment Modalities that Support Addiction Recovery

Addiction will often require counseling and therapy. The layers of therapy help addicts to understand why they became addicted. Therapy gives you the tools to avoid relapse and you develop means of coping with situations that would often make you abuse substances. When you work with addiction therapists, they will motivate you and help you develop skills that will make recovery easier. There are many reasons that addiction occurs. The main causes would be genetic and environmental. Your genetic makeup can cause you to be more compulsive or certain behaviors may be inherent. Life events can cause disorders like post-traumatic stress disorder to develop. People that have this kind of trauma are prone to self-medicating to numb their pain. There are a variety of therapies and treatment modalities to help you recover from addiction. This is because addiction is different for everyone. Here are some of the most effective therapies and treatments that are proven to help heal addiction.

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Behavioral Therapy

A study conducted in 2014 found that addiction centers utilized a series of behavioral therapies more than any other type of therapy. Studies have confirmed that there is plenty of evidence to support the efficacy of behavioral therapy when it comes to substance abuse disorders. Behavioral therapies are designed to help you figure out why you started certain behaviors that lead to addiction. You will also develop tools to manage situations that would cause you to relapse. When it comes to substance addiction, you’re likely to keep using due to certain factors. This includes eliminating emotional or physical pain, dependency on the euphoric effects or for calming yourself down. Despite the consequences due to substance use, you are inclined to use because of the reinforcement of pleasure or relief it gives you. An addiction therapist will help you change your behaviors through the following:

  • Education and planning – you’ll be educated on your behavior, giving you a better understanding of reward and consequence. The therapist will create a plan with you to change risky behaviors.
  • Relaxation tools – It’s important to find inner calm as you navigate through your addiction recovery. This is introduced with behavioral therapy to reduce stress through challenging moments.
  • Functional analysis – In order to eliminate the unwanted behavior, therapists will ask you to look back to why you began in the first place. By knowing what is reinforcing the behavior, you can modify your motivation prior to triggers.
  • Exposure – You will have to expose yourself to the substance you’re addicted to without using. The more often this is done, the less impulse you’ll have to use.

1. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) works to reduce behaviors connected to substance abuse. One of the main practices of CBT is to anticipate situations that might put you at risk of using again. There are strategies that help you cope during high risk situations such as avoiding and self-control. You’ll learn what your underlying reasons were for using in the first place. This helps you and the therapist fix the problem at their core. You are then able to recognize triggers and develop the tools to handle situations as they come up. Research has found that patients who develop skills through CBT will effectively be able to use them in real life scenarios. Cognitive behavioral therapy for addiction is popular and used in many types of addiction. CBT effectively treats alcohol, smoking, marijuana, methamphetamine, and cocaine addiction.

2. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

If you’re struggling to regulate your feelings, dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is helpful. If you think you could self-harm yourself or have suicidal thoughts, this therapy gives you the tools to accept those thoughts. As you accept how you’re feeling and the behaviors you’re inhibiting, you are able to overcome them. The techniques in DBT involve relaxation techniques like mindfulness meditation, yoga, and breathing techniques. You will learn ways to relax your muscles and eventually manage self-destructive thoughts and urges so they don’t take over your life. Dialectical behavior therapy has been used to treat co-occurring disorders and helps you to become aware of your thoughts and feelings. The main goal is to reduce the desire to self-harm through wellness modalities. Research has found that DBT effectively reduces substance abuse. Addicts are less likely to dropout from rehab and recovery programs. There is less depression, anger, and social functioning is improved.

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3. The Matrix Model

The Matrix model has been used as a treatment for stimulant addiction like cocaine and methamphetamines. The Matrix model is a therapy designed to reduce relapse risk. Within the model, family therapy, education and support groups are heavily promoted. Worksheets and manuals are often given to patients. The therapy approach is more like being taught or coached. Your therapist will focus on helping you to see your self-worth, especially if you tend to avoid confrontation. The Matrix model involves drug testing The therapist is a teacher and coach, developing a positive relationship with the patient and promoting behavioral change. The therapist promotes dignity and self-worth in the patient who avoids confrontational communication. However, the Matrix model does involve drug testing. The International Journal of Medical Research and Health Sciences found the 12 session Matrix model to be highly effective in treating substance abuse disorders.

4. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR)

Eye movement sensitization and reprocessing therapy (EDMR) is designed to reduce stress that occurs from traumatic memories. Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, leading to addiction can be alleviated through EMDR. It helps to process the memory once again, making it less painful in the present. External eye movements while thinking of past trauma is the means of EDMR. It works because it teaches the brain to associate the negative memory with less disturbing emotions. Studies have found that this treatment can relieve symptoms of trauma with three sessions lasting 90 minutes each. It is primarily a trauma treatment to help reduce symptoms of PTSD. EMDR can help within addiction therapy if someone is using substances to numb their pain from a past trauma.

5. Motivational Therapy

Motivational therapy is a widely used therapy in drug rehabilitation clinics. They help you to find the motivation to start treatment and successfully recover. Incentives for abstaining from substance abuse is used with the combination of behavioral therapies. Motivational interviewing is designed to reduce your doubts about stopping substance abuse. It is a modern method specifically developed for addiction. You will be encouraged to make positive changes. Studies have shown that motivational therapy is effective for those addicted to alcohol, nicotine, and marijuana. It begins with an assessment and followed up to two to four sessions with a counselor. You will begin learning motivational statements and discuss how to deal with situations that can cause relapse. Change will be monitored, strategies will be reconfirmed and you’ll receive additional support to keep you motivated.

6. Contingency Management (CM)

Contingency management involves the approach of motivational incentives. Positive behavior is reinforced with rewards. Other types of therapy will be used to increase chances of staying clean throughout counseling. It is useful for alcohol, cocaine, marijuana, nicotine, some prescription drugs, and methamphetamines. The belief is that behaviors that are rewarded are more prone to continue. Bad behaviors that are punished are less likely to continue. Ignored behaviors that receive no punishment or reward will also be reduced and eventually eliminated. This type of conditioning can change behaviors which has been shown to be highly effective in substance addiction.

7. Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT)

This method of treatment involves community reinforcement a well as vouchers. It would be used in outpatient rehabilitation treatment. This is treatment for long-term recovery and lasts for 24 weeks. Patients will go to one-on-one counseling once or twice a week. Skills will be learned to reduce substance abuse risk. You also learn how to heal relationships, find hobbies and build a support system. CRAFT includes counseling for family members so they can best support you. Therapy sessions called family behavior therapy will help all family members. This reduces risks of the addict relapsing and helps them to maintain a normal life throughout recovery. Through opening up and setting individual behavioral goals, a support system is built around the addict. It helps the family to become better communicators and forms functional relationships.

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8. The Twelve Step Approach

The twelve step approach which includes Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and other stems is a staple of long term recovery. There has been contradictions between efficacies of the 12-step program as it’s dependant on every individual. A 2007 survey said that 33% of members stayed sober for over 10 years. This sounds good but 31% said they were only able to stay sober for under a year. It can be a good way to maintain sobriety when used with other modalities and treatments. One of the main things an addict will require is support. The twelve step program does offer that. Your success will involve your willingness to participate. To go to meetings regularly and engage in talking about your feelings and experiences.

9. Wellness and Nutrition

Substance abuse will cause your mind and body to deteriorate. By the time you’re in treatment, you are likely to be malnourished. Addiction usually causes you to lose your appetite so you’re deficient in nutrients and vitamins. Cocaine addicts are prone to being low in omega-3 fatty acids. Alcohol causes you to excrete nutrients. For those addicted to opiate, they will have deficiencies with B6, calcium, vitamin D and iron. When you’re going through recovery, it’s important to eat right. If you attend inpatient addiction treatment, you’ll notice that they feed you food rich in nutrients. This will help you to physically feel better, sooner. It is also to teach you how to care for your body. Exercise, yoga, and meditation can be powerful tools to help you feel mentally better. Studies state that they are a novel treatment to help with addiction recovery. When you raise your heartrate through exercise, you cause the body to release endorphins which will make you feel better.

Multiple Treatments for Multiple Causes of Addiction

Addiction causes side effects physically and mentally. The physical side effects would be cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Mental side effects can include depression or anxiety among many other things. Each drug will also come with its own set of side effects that will need to be treated. The treatment you receive will focus on the genetic and environmental aspects, along with the side effects. While detox will get the substance out of your system safely, therapy treats the mental causes of addiction. Detox is designed to safely get rid of cravings physical withdrawal symptoms. Detox takes between one to three weeks. Therapy will often need to be administered for months or even years.

Purpose of Addiction Therapy

Counseling and therapy for addiction is meant to address the causes of the disease. Once you’re aware of the underlying reasons you started abusing substances, you can then work to prevent relapses. In the past 30 years, there has been a lot of alcohol and drug addiction development. Evidence-based behavioral therapy has improved and become a helpful way to help addicts recover. The variety of addiction therapy has been proven to be effective when it comes to co-occurring disorders and substance abuse disorders. Therapy for addiction can be found in a few different settings. Inpatient/outpatient rehabilitation programs, support groups, half way house sober communities, and therapy sessions in a clinic setting.

The Diversity of Therapy for Addiction

There are many types of therapy to help the many types of reasons for addiction. No person is quite the same when it comes to their reasons for abusing substances. This is why a variety of different therapeutic approaches are necessary. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) created an outline for addiction treatment principals. It’s based on 40 years of information they’ve collected. They are designed to help addicts succeed. The principals include ending/moderating drug use, reducing the possibility of a relapse and promoting the addict to rebuild their lives again.