Types of Therapy Used in Addiction Treatment

There are different types of therapy used in addiction treatment. This is because therapy and counseling are designed to help you understand the causes of your substance abuse problems, learn how to recognize the risk factors for future relapse, as well as ensure that you can develop the tools and skills for coping with the stressful situations that might otherwise have led to further drug and alcohol use.

The most common types of therapy options available today include dialectical behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, and cognitive behavioral therapy. However, there are many others that might also be used.

Therapy and Addiction

In many cases, addiction is caused by factors that are environmental and genetic in nature. In particular, your genetic makeup could increase your risk of engaging in behavior that caused you to seek pleasurable sensations. It might also make you more compulsive, which may increase your risk of addiction.

On the other hand, there might have been some events in your life that could have affected your vulnerability to substance abuse and addiction. These events include but are not limited to early exposure to alcohol and drugs, stress, and trauma.

In the same way, substance abuse can lead to mental and physical side effects. Examples of these effects include loneliness, anxiety, depression, increased stress, withdrawal symptoms, and intense cravings for drugs and alcohol.

For this reason, effective treatment is designed to focus on the environmental and genetic causes of your substance use disorder. In the same way, it will help to manage and eventually alleviate the mental and physical side effects of the problem.

Before you get started on the different types of therapy in your addiction recovery, you will first have to go through detoxification. This process is designed to keep you as comfortable and as safe as possible as your body goes through withdrawal.

Depending on the intensity and severity of the problem, detox can help manage your withdrawal symptoms and drug or alcohol cravings in anywhere between 1 and 3 weeks. Even so, you may need months to years of ongoing counseling and therapy to be able to recover from the mental effects of addiction.

Once you have completed the detox process, you will get started on therapy and counseling. These services will treat the psychological effects and aspects of your substance use disorder.

The primary goal of therapy and counseling would be to address all the underlying causes of your addiction so that they do not end up leading to a relapse later on in the future. Even though detoxification is an essential first step to recovery, it will not deal with the different factors that caused you to start abusing drugs and alcohol in the first place.

How It Works

Research conducted for more than 3 decades now has led to significant advances in the progress of evidence-based counseling and therapy options for addiction treatment. These options, on the other hand, have also proved effective at managing substance use disorders and other co-occurring behavioral and mental health disorders like obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and depression - among many others.

Today, these therapy options are available in different settings, including but not limited to support groups, private practices, sober living facilities, outpatient drug rehabs, inpatient drug rehabs, partial hospitalization programs, and intensive outpatient programs.

Whether you are enrolled in a rehab program for 30 days or longer than 90 days, the goal of the therapy options offered would be to prepare you for a life of recovery. However, you may still find that you need to continue seeking treatment several months to years after your formal treatment has ended.

That said, therapy will typically decrease in duration, frequency, and intensity as you learn how to cope with the various causes of your substance abuse and addiction as well as how to handle the stress factors in your life.

In the same way, therapy is not an universal process that will fit everyone. This is why there are so many different approaches, which may be more effective and appropriate for you than they would be for someone else. The effectiveness will largely depend on your addiction, age, and the other factors that caused you to involve yourself with drugs and alcohol.

1. Behavioral Therapies

Many drug rehab centers will use behavioral therapies much more often than any other technique of therapy. This is because behavioral therapies can help you understand the causes of the risk taking behaviors that you have been engaging in. You will also get the opportunity to develop the tools and skills that will help you avoid as well as cope with risky situations in the future.

Some of the common types of behavioral therapies used in the management, treatment, and rehabilitation of substance use disorders and other co-occurring mental and behavioral health disorders include but are not limited to:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy, also known as CBT, which is effective in treating addiction involving alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, and nicotine
  • Dialectical behavior therapy, also known as DBT, which is effective in treating and managing emotional regulation, suicidal and self-harming thoughts and actions, mood disorders, personality disorders, eating disorders, and self-destructive behavior
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, also known as EMDR, that is effective at managing post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic disorders, and other conditions
  • The Matrix Model, which will give you a framework to establish abstinence from addiction involving drugs like stimulants like cocaine and methamphetamine

2. Motivational and Family Therapies

These types of therapy can help you find the motivation to start and continue with addiction treatment. You will be provided with incentives to encourage your sobriety. Examples of these motivational and family therapies include:

  • 12-step facilitation therapy
  • Adolescent community reinforcement approach
  • Assertive continuing care
  • Brief strategic family therapy
  • Community reinforcement
  • Contingency management
  • Family behavior therapy
  • Functional family therapy
  • Motivational enhancement therapy
  • Motivational incentives
  • Multidimensional family therapy
  • Multi-systemic family therapy

3. Alternative and Holistic Therapies

Finally, there are several holistic and alternative therapies that are used in addiction treatment. Examples of these options include:

  • Acupuncture
  • Animal therapy
  • Art therapy
  • Horticultural therapy
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness
  • Music therapy
  • Yoga

If you are struggling with substance abuse and addiction, you should enroll in an addiction treatment program that uses the types of therapy that might be most effective in your particular circumstances and situation.

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