What Happens in Drug Addiction Therapy
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Addiction treatment must help the individual stop using drugs, maintain a drug-free lifestyle, and achieve productive functioning in the family, at work, and in society.” Addiction is a complex disease that affects brain functions and behaviors. It also presents a wide range of social, family, and economical problems that compound the situation.
Some addicts have co-existing mental health disorders or physical impairments that an effective treatment approach will address. Beginning with detox phase, the important elements of an addiction therapy includes behavioral therapies, individual and group counseling, continuum care that addresses all aspects of an individual’s life including medications and mental health services, and after care or follow-up options of community or family-based recovery support systems.
Behavioral Addiction Therapies
There is a wide range of behavioral therapy programs. They help motivate the addict to engage in treatment, cope with drug cravings, and learn ways to avoid drugs and environmental “triggers” that may cause relapse. They teach the addict ways of changing maladaptive thoughts to more appropriately respond to influences and other people. The therapies can be specially designed to meet the needs of the addict through individual counseling or they can involve the peer support of others during group counseling. Some common therapies are:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – is based on the assumption that thoughts affect behavioral and emotional reactions. By changing maladaptive or negative thoughts to more positive ones, behaviors can also be changed. CBT helps patients to recognize, avoid, and cope with thoughts and situations, “triggers”, through awareness and positive management skills.
- Multidimensional Family Therapy addresses a range of influences on drug abuse patterns for adolescents and involves their families to improve overall functioning.
- Motivational Incentives (Contingency Management) – use positive reinforcements to encourage abstinence from drugs.
Individual and Group Counseling
Drug addiction therapy can be designed to meet the unique needs of the addict through individual counseling. This is helpful in the case of a dual diagnosis or other conditions that require specialized therapy. Group counseling challenges the addict and helps them to gain feedback through the peer support of others.
Addiction After Care and Follow-up
Therapy doesn’t end when the addict leaves the rehab. There are many other therapy programs they can participate in, such as 12-Step programs, to increase their chances of remaining abstinent and improve communications, relationships, and other family dynamics.