No one experiments with drugs or alcohol with the goal of becoming addicted, but the fact is that addiction is a problem that only continues to grow in today’s society. One of the things that makes addiction so difficult to prevent is that addiction does not just have one cause. Everything from your genetics, to a history of trauma or abuse, to certain mental health conditions can all make someone more susceptible to developing an addiction to drugs or alcohol.
Fortunately, no matter what led to a person’s addiction, there are many different treatment options available to help you achieve and maintain sobriety. One of the most common and most effective ways to treat addiction is psychotherapy.
Why is Therapy Used for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Treatment?
Whether it is called psychotherapy, counseling, or simply therapy, these treatments all have the same goal: to help people to address the underlying reasons they have an addiction in order to help them get sober and avoid relapse. One of the biggest reasons that therapy is so important in addiction treatment is that many people struggle with mental health issues. An estimated fifty percent of all people with an addiction have at least one diagnosable mental health condition. But even people without a mental health condition still benefit from psychotherapy for substance use disorders. Addiction changes the way that your brain works, making it difficult for you to avoid relapsing. Psychotherapy can help you to learn how to avoid your drug use triggers, as well as ways to help your brain relearn how to enjoy everyday activities.
There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all addiction treatment plan, which is why addiction treatment facilities usually offer a number of different psychotherapies. These services can be utilized at inpatient rehab, outpatient rehab, sober living facilities, private medical practices, and aftercare support groups. By having a range of options available, you are able to work with a care provider to decide which option is going to best address your individual needs. The most commonly offered types of psychotherapy for substance use disorders include:
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy – Cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, works to help patients to identify the things that trigger or encourage their drug or alcohol use. Then, patients are given a range of coping mechanisms to either help them avoid these situations, or to deal with them in a healthier way when unavoidable. CBT has been shown in numerous research projects to be a very effective addiction management tool, and to decrease a person’s risk of relapse after rehab.
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy – Dialectical behavior therapy, or DBT is an effective treatment option for people who have a hard time regulating their emotions, and have a history of self-harm or suicidal thoughts. This type of therapy focuses on teaching people how to accept and deal with negative or uncomfortable thoughts, emotions, or behaviors. DBT is often used as a way to treat co-occurring addiction disorders, such as mood or personality disorders, as well as eating disorders. DBT also teaches patients relaxation techniques to become more self-aware, and as a way to control negative thoughts or urges. Overtime, DBT has been shown to decrease the frequency and severity of self-harming thoughts and actions.
- Motivational Therapies – Another type of psychotherapy for substance use disorder is motivational therapy. This type of therapy focuses on helping to motivate patients to follow their addiction treatment plan. They often offer incentives for staying sober, and are usually used along with a type of behavioral therapy. The most common motivational therapies are motivational enhancement therapy, or MET, contingency management, or CM, and community reinforcement. The goal of all motivational therapies is to encourage patients to encourage positive behaviors to happen naturally, rather than forcing them.
- Family Therapy – Family therapy is offered to help patients whose addiction has affected their relationship with a spouse, children, parents, or other loved ones. Family therapy does not just help to heal any damage that has resulted from addiction, it also helps to teach better communication methods and encourage bonding. Family therapy also helps to teach the family unit as a whole how to support your recovery and keep you accountable for avoiding drugs or alcohol in the future.
- 12-Step Therapy – We do not routinely recommend 12-step therapy but will certainly work with you if you find this philosophy helpful. We are predominantly a harm-reduction program and abstinence is not necessarily a requirement for treatment.
The typical patient will be scheduled for weekly psychotherapy for the first 3 months or so of treatment. This may include medical visits, 50 minute psychotherapy sessions or both. This is meant to serve as a general framework and each patient’s treatment plan is individualized.
While all of the different types of psychotherapy for substance use disorder may seem overwhelming, you aren’t alone in having to choose which is right for you. Contact WAVE Treatment Centers to learn more about how psychotherapy can be utilized to increase your chances of getting sober – and being able to stay sober from substance use disorder for the long term.