Drug addiction is a problem that affects individuals and communities worldwide. Regardless of the abused substance, dependence always leads to physical and mental health issues, social isolation, and financial difficulties.
Due to its complexity, treating drug addiction requires careful consideration, especially when it comes to relapse and the possibility of addiction substitution.
That’s why effective treatment requires tailored interventions that address the underlying causes of addiction and support the individual throughout the journey toward recovery.
Fortunately, modern medicine has devised several ways of dealing with drug dependence. From talking therapies to relapse prevention strategies, this post will explore the many facets of drug addiction therapies.
Effective Drug Addiction Therapies Based on Studies
The development in psychology has contributed a lot to the advancement of drug addiction treatment. Talking therapies derived from behavioral therapy have shown promise in decreasing substance dependence.
Additionally, talking therapies are linked to improving other aspects of life and increasing the likelihood of continuous recovery.
Listed below are the preeminent types of evidence-based drug addiction therapies.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy, also known as CBT, is a type of therapy that focuses on identifying your negative thought patterns and behaviors.
Its development is rooted in the idea that cognitive distortions or mental filters fuel our destructive habits, and evaluating them can lead to overcoming them.
In CBT, you’re counseled to know your negative thoughts and restructure or replace them with positive ones. Your therapist will serve as a guide to help you identify these negative thoughts.
The methods of pinpointing these thoughts include a guided discovery by asking questions, thought recording via journaling and roleplaying.
These techniques of deconstructing and contemplating your thoughts have been employed for centuries. In fact, Aaron Beck, the father of CBT, credits its foundation to the Stoicism philosophy of the Ancient Greeks.
Aside from its efficacy against drug addiction, CBT is also utilized in other mental disorders . As such, it can help ascertain the underlying problems you’re coping with through substance use.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy
Dialectical Behavior Therapy, or DBT, is a more specific method within CBT’s scope. It emphasizes understanding and regulating emotions and coping with distress.
Behavioral therapists often suggest coping mechanisms like focusing on the present moment, trying to improve it, and distracting yourself from negative emotions.
The standard therapy sessions are done on a weekly basis. They involve individual and group sessions, as well as therapist consultation meetings.
While it has the same purpose as CBT, DBT is utilized on persons who feel emotion fiercely. As a result, people with Bipolar Disorders find DBT exceptionally effective.
Motivational Interviewing, or MI, is another form of behavioral therapy that can vastly improve your well-being.
Unlike CBT and DBT which target negative thoughts and behaviors and reshape them into positive ones, MI targets ambivalent behaviors and increasing motivation for change.
Ambivalent behaviors are the conflicting behaviors substance abusers have towards their substance use.
For example, an individual suffering from addiction knows that drugs are causing him detriment, but he can’t stop because he doesn’t have the means to, or so he believes.
MI is rooted in the idea that you’ll overcome your addiction by bolstering your motivation.
In MI, the therapists don’t give you motivation. Instead, it comes from you and is emphasized through therapy. This method gives you the idea that the decision to change your habits comes from within, and following through would be easier.
Most cases of addiction can’t be solved by therapies alone. The reason behind that is the underlying factors that contribute to substance abuse disorders.
People might suffer from severe mental disorders that make them dependent on drugs. Physical health also plays a part. For instance, individuals experiencing chronic pain can become addicted to their medication.
Additionally, genetics plays a huge role in an individual’s susceptibility to addiction. That’s why interventional medicines are used in conjunction with therapies.
Treatments for Opioid Addiction
One of the most commonly abused prescription medicines is Opioids. This class of drugs is generally derived from opium extracted from poppy plants.
Drugs synthesized to simulate opium-based medications are also considered opioids.
The effect of opioids includes pain relief, euphoria, and sedation. Due to these reasons, it’s become a prevalent gateway drug for people who suffer from chronic pain.
The medications listed below are designed to help cope with opioid dependence.
Methadone is an opioid agonist that combats Opioid Use Disorder (OUD). Taken orally, it has a long-lasting effect that enables once-a-day administration.
It works by binding itself to the opioid receptors in the brain, making you crave less. Likewise, it makes you less reactive to opioids and curbs withdrawal symptoms.
With proper medication, Methadone is an exceptionally effective drug. However, it’s also a Schedule II drug that can be misused.
Buprenorphine is another drug that could help with OUD and withdrawal symptoms.
Unlike Methadone, Buprenorphine only activates receptors partially. That means that it generates a limited stimulating effect.
Because of that, it doesn’t make the withdrawal symptoms disappear as much as Methadone. However, it can make the symptoms bearable.
Lastly, due to its partial effect, the abuse of Buprenorphine is infrequent but not unheard of.
In contrast to the two mentioned above, Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist. It binds to the opioid receptors but doesn’t produce any stimulating effect. Instead, it blocks all the effects of opioids.
Consequently, Naltrexone doesn’t relieve withdrawal symptoms. As such, you shouldn’t use it abruptly. If you’re planning to use Naltrexone, consult your doctor and give it one to two weeks after your last intake of opioids.
Treatments for Alcohol Addiction
Due to its legality, alcohol ranks high among the most abused substances. It’s estimated that one in every ten Americans aged twelve and above suffer from Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) in 2020.
Despite its legality, hundreds of people die annually from overconsumption of alcohol. Because of its prevalence, medications are developed for chronic alcoholism. These are the following:
Disulfiram treats alcoholism by making the body alcohol-aversive. It prevents the body from turning the alcohol byproduct acetaldehyde into acetic acid.
Under Disulfiram, ingesting alcohol becomes an unpleasant experience. Disulfiram-alcohol reaction effects include nausea, vertigo, weakness, and thirst.
Because opioid receptors play a vital role in alcohol reinforcement and dependence, using an antagonist like Naltrexone can help.
Moreover, since it’s not a habit-forming drug, it has no risk of dependence.
Once an individual has abstained from the consumption of alcohol, Acamprosate is employed to help reduce the craving for alcohol again.
Although its mechanism isn’t fully ascertained, it’s thought to stabilize the brain of people withdrawing from alcohol use.
Group and Individual Counseling
Unlike therapy which emphasizes individual development, counseling focuses on specific issues. Nevertheless, it does wonders for people suffering from substance abuse disorders.
The advantage of counseling is observed when you’re looking for input in dealing with addiction instead of introspecting.
Let’s take group counseling as an example. In such a setting, you’ll be able to listen to other people’s stories and recovery journeys. You can relate to them and try the methods that they deem effective. This peer support and sense of community can help those recovering re-enter society.
In individual counseling, this sense of community isn’t as observable. However, individual counseling is preferable for introverted persons seeking professional advice. They can have a safe space to explore and express themselves.
Each of these methods has its advantages. For instance, people with social anxieties can benefit from being in a non-judgemental group that deeply relates to their struggle. That’s why integrating the two methods can be beneficial.
Family Therapy and Support
The role of the family in treating addiction is crucial. Family involvement can help improve treatment outcomes and reduce the risk of relapse.
Moreover, family therapy can assist in addressing family dynamics and communication patterns that may contribute to addiction.
Lastly, it equips family members with an understanding of addiction and tools that they can use to support their suffering loved one’s recovery.
Support systems for families such as Al-Anon and Nar-Anon provide a safe space for family members to share their experiences.
Relapse Prevention Strategies
Since addiction is chronic, relapsing is always a probability. In some cases, relapsing can make the dependence worse.
To help stick to your recovery goal, it’s essential to create a personalized prevention strategy. One aspect of your strategy is identifying triggers and developing coping mechanisms.
Additionally, proper medical intervention is vital. Consulting your doctor or therapist whenever you’re falling back into addiction will allow them to advise you.
Having a support network is also integral to your strategy. One of the downsides of relapse is people tend to keep it to themselves. Involve your family and friends. Tell them what you’re going through.
Lastly, always remember not to feel shame and blame yourself whenever you’re feeling a relapse. It’s part of the process.
Tailoring Drug Addiction Therapies to Individual Needs
Choosing a drug addiction therapy depends on a range of factors. These factors include the severity of addiction, personal preferences, and availability of treatment.
To pick the right therapy, you should consult a healthcare professional to develop a personalized treatment plan. They will evaluate you holistically to give you a proper diagnosis. As such, spare no detail and don’t lie to them.
Furthermore, as you undergo treatment, you’ll be assessed by the professionals you’re working with. These assessments can be used to adjust your plan to ensure long-term recovery.
Effective treatment requires a range of personalized interventions that address the underlying causes of drug addiction. The diversity of drug addiction therapies ensures that each treatment plan supports you in your journey toward recovery.
Undergoing evidence-based therapies in conjunction with medication and counseling helps put you on the right path. Seek help from healthcare professionals to assist you explore various therapy options and relapse prevention strategies.
Overcoming drug addiction may not be easy but with the proper intervention, it can be done. Develop a treatment plan, keep your mental fortitude, and surround yourself with people who support you and you’re going to triumph against it.
What is addiction therapy?
Addiction therapy is a form of treatment that helps individuals overcome substance abuse or behavioral addiction by addressing the underlying psychological and emotional factors contributing to the addiction. It aims to promote healthy coping strategies, develop life skills, and foster long-term recovery.
What are the different types of addiction therapy?
Various types of addiction therapy include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), motivational interviewing (MI), contingency management, 12-step facilitation therapy, family therapy, and group therapy.
How does addiction therapy work?
Addiction therapy works by helping individuals understand the underlying causes of their addiction, identify triggers, develop coping mechanisms, improve decision-making skills, and build a support network to maintain sobriety.
How effective is addiction therapy?
The effectiveness of addiction therapy depends on factors such as the individual’s commitment to recovery, the severity of addiction, and the quality of the therapeutic relationship. Research indicates that various therapy approaches can be effective in helping individuals achieve and maintain sobriety when combined with other treatment modalities.
How long does addiction therapy typically last?
The duration of addiction therapy varies depending on the individual’s needs, the severity of addiction, and progress in recovery. Therapy can range from short-term interventions lasting a few weeks to long-term therapy that may last several months or more.
Is addiction therapy covered by insurance?
Many insurance plans cover addiction therapy to varying extents. Contact your insurance provider to discuss coverage, limitations, and any requirements.
Can addiction therapy be provided in different settings?
Yes, addiction therapy can be provided in various settings, including inpatient/residential treatment centers, outpatient clinics, and private practices. The appropriate setting depends on the individual’s needs and the severity of the addiction.
Can addiction therapy help with co-occurring mental health disorders?
Yes, addiction therapy can help address co-occurring mental health disorders, such as anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which often contribute to or exacerbate addiction. Integrated treatment approaches that address both addiction and mental health issues are essential for comprehensive recovery.
What happens after completing addiction therapy?
After completing addiction therapy, ongoing support is crucial for maintaining sobriety. This may include attending support group meetings, participating in outpatient therapy, or engaging in other aftercare services to help prevent relapse.
How do I find the right addiction therapist for myself or a loved one?
Research different types of therapy approaches, consult with healthcare professionals, and contact therapists to discuss your needs and preferences. Consider factors such as the therapist’s experience, credentials, treatment philosophy, and the quality of the therapeutic relationship when making your decision.