Types of therapy to treat addiction.

What is addiction?

Addiction is a chronic disease that mainly effects the reward part of the brain. This is the area that allows us to enjoy pleasure. It is considered a disease because long term drug use leads to changes in the brain and this causes the addicts personality to change. It also impacts memory and coordination.

When these brain circuits are not able to function properly, it can lead to many problems in a person’s life, such as impulsivity, anxiety and socially inappropriate behavior. These things can easily steer the user into heavier drug or alcohol abuse, making it harder to overcome.

Addiction is also characterized by the continuos use of a substance, despite knowledge of persistent physical or psychological problems that is likely caused by the substance.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Heath Administration’s (SAMHSA) National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 23.5 million people ages 12 or older needed treatment for an illicit drug or alcohol abuse problem in 2009. These statistics are startling because the number of addicts in this country have only gone up since then.

The road to recovery

It is important to know that there is hope in recovery. That you or your loved one can overcome addiction. There are many rehabilitation options available to those struggling with addiction. Within these rehab services there are addiction therapy options that can enhance your rehab experience. Depending on the severity of the addiction, there are rehab centers that offer a wide variety of addiction therapy options that can be very beneficial towards recovery.

What is addiction therapy?

Addiction therapy refers to programs and services used to complement the rehabilitation process. These evidence-based approaches in drug treatment have been proven to be very effective in providing incentives which helps in remaining abstinent and modifying behaviors related to drug abuse. include behavioral therapy, medications, creative therapy or a combination of all or some.

Based on a research from the mid 70’s and on I have gathered some important principles of effective treatment, to keep mind while making the decision to seek help:

Addiction is a complex but treatable disease that affects brain function and behavior.

No single treatment is right for everyone.
Although people need to have quick access to treatment.

Effective treatment addresses all of the patients needs, not just his or her drug use contrary to beliefs:

Treatment needs to be voluntary to be effective.
Treatment should address other possible mental health needs.
Treatment plans must be revised often and modified to fit the patient’s progress and growth.

The specific type of treatment all depends on how long a person was a drug user and the type of drugs they abused. For example a former ecstasy user, who had been only dependent for a year may only need behavioral therapy along with some holistic activities.

As opposed to a drug user who has been on Heroin for more than 10 years, who may need medications to help deal with withdrawal, along with behavioral therapy and some holistic activities.

No matter what the situation is, you can find a way out through rehab and addiction therapy.

Types of addiction therapy options:

Behavioral therapy-

Behavioral therapy has been proven to be exceptional in drug treatment. The behavioral approach helps people engage in their treatment, by helping them modify their behaviors attributed to drug use. It also teaches people in recovery new skills that helps them cope with the stress and hardships that may lead to relapse.

Within the behavioral therapy categories there is:

Cognitive-behavioral therapy
These behavioral strategies are based on a theory that suggest that the learning process is key, in retraining the mind against maladaptive patterns in behavior that developed through drug use. Former addicts learn how to identify problems in their behavior and apply the skills learned through cognitive therapy, to their everyday life.

Contingency management
This form of therapy uses positive reinforcements and tangible incentives to encourage the new lifestyle changes that the recovering addict has made. Incentive- based interventions have been proven to be effective in drug treatment retention and helping the former addict stay clean.

Community reinforcement approach
It’s an intensive 24 week out-patient therapy program for treating people addicted to cocaine and alcohol. This type of therapy teaches you how have a more positive outlook and view your recovery as more rewarding than former drug use.

Motivational enhancement therapy
This is a new approach in counseling which helps individuals make up their mind towards recovery. This type of therapy aims at motivating the user to make an internal change and to give up the drugs rapidly.

Family behavior therapy
This therapy has been extremely effective in helping families address other issues, that might be leading their loved one to drug abuse. By opening dialogue and allowing time for each member to speak, the family moves forward in resolving lingering issues that are only creating obstacles.

Group therapy
This therapeutic activity encourages recovering addicts to lean and rely on each other for moral support. It provides the individuals going through recovery a community of people who they can relate to. Also known as support groups, they are very goal oriented and have the tendency to be open to only those that are members. Which creates a very familiar and intimate setting, to share your thoughts in.

Medication therapy
There are habits hard to kick and then there’s hard drugs. Many struggling addicts are put on medications that eases the transition from a life of drugs to a sober life. These medications can at times mimic similar effects to the brain just like the former drug of choice. Some examples of medication treatment are methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone which are used to treat opiod addiction, like heroin. While disulfiram, acamprosate, and naltrexone are for treating alcohol dependency.

Creative therapies
This type of therapy is characterized by the use of your creativity. Many rehab centers have been using creative arts therapy so the individual going through recovery, can have an outlet to express themselves. It can include a wide range of activities such as painting, crocheting, pottery and many more.

Yoga
Which is a Hindu and ascetic routine in which simple meditation, while doing body poses can overall benefit your health and relaxation. There is also music therapy, psychodrama which allows you to play out your inner conflicts through role playing.

A life in recovery is of life of plenitude, you can experience freedom from drugs or alcohol if you make a commitment.

Now a commitment doesn’t mean quitting cold turkey but it does mean that if you are able to achieve sobriety, you will protect that sobriety with all your heart and soul. By making sure you stay focused on the goal, by staying away from people that are detrimental to your progress and loving yourself in spite of your setbacks.

I leave you with this:

“Addiction isn't about substance - you aren't addicted to the substance, you are addicted to the alteration of mood that the substance brings”.

Susan Cheever

Author's Bio: 

Options, suggestions, my views on the types of therapy that may help you recover from addiction.