Therapy is Essential for Treating Addiction

Why is addiction therapy important and where does it start? 

Therapy is an essential part of treating addiction. Most people who suffer from addiction will begin therapy when they enter the treatment process. It is hard for those who suffer from addiction to stop on their own. This is why most people will start their recovery process by entering a treatment center. Addiction is a mental, emotional, behavioral, and physical disease. If addiction could stop without help, most would agree that they would stop. In different levels of treatment, clients are introduced to different therapy techniques to help resolve their addiction. 

How does treatment work? 

Treatment for substance use disorder has different levels and different types. Assessments are done when someone is seeking addiction therapy to determine what level of care in treatment a person is in need of. These assessments are done to determine severity of addiction, length of addiction, social supports, mental health history, etc. If someone is physically addicted to a substance before they are even beginning with addiction therapy, they may need to enter a detox. Detoxification is a medically managed setting that helps to medically stabilize someone’s withdrawal symptoms from drugs and alcohol. One a person is medically stable they will move onto an inpatient or residential program. Addiction therapy begins in residential treatment while clients are monitored 24/7 and work in group and individual therapy. After inpatient treatment, clients move onto outpatient treatment where they may live at sober living or home and attend group therapy and individual therapy a couple times a week. Addiction therapy takes place during these different levels of treatment and also as different therapy approaches as well. 

What are different approaches to addiction therapy? 

There are many different therapeutic techniques and approaches toward individual and group therapy with those who are suffering from addiction. These are evidence-based practices that licensed professionals use based on their own approach as well as the best approach for each individual client. The following therapy approaches are used to treat people with addiction: 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy- Cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT is an approach that aims to change thinking patterns in individuals and focus on moving forward with their life. CBT does not focus on the past but on problem solving skills, realistic thinking, developing self-confidence and challenging ambivalence. Many people who have substance use disorder struggle with negative thinking and CBT is used to help challenge that negative thinking. 

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy- Rational emotive behavior therapy or REBT is a type of therapy that is similar to CBT. Like CBT, REBT focuses on negative or self-defeating behaviors or self-talk. The main difference is that REBT focuses on a person’s belief system and tries to help a person replace these faulty beliefs and use a new belief system based on logic. REBT helps clients to take responsibility for their actions. It helps clients to set more realistic expectations of themselves and others around them. 

Motivational Interviewing- Motivational interviewing or MI is a method that is used to help clients identify motivations and values that could help their focus in therapy. MI does not focus on the past but instead helps clients to look at what desires they have and focus on them as a tool in therapy. MI encourages clients to look at their positive traits and their ability to make positive choices for themselves. 

Person-Centered Therapy- Person-centered therapy is a technique that focuses on the individual and not the substance that is being abused. Therapists help clients to remove the guilt and shame caused by the substance and move toward self-acceptance which can lead to positive change. Therapists help to show empathy and acceptance so the client can begin to see themselves through another person’s eyes and begin to practice self-acceptance and self-love. 

Why do I need addiction therapy? 

Often people who struggle with substance use disorder will find themselves making excuses as to why they don’t need addiction therapy. One common excuse is that they can go to 12 step groups and get the same help. While 12 step groups are great for developing a sense of community, support network, and learning more about the disease of addiction, 12 step groups are not therapy groups. Therapy is provided by licensed professionals who have spent years getting an education and practicing different techniques so they can best serve those who suffer the most. Receiving addiction therapy is not only a beneficial aspect of recovery but in most cases a life-changing and necessary part of the recovery process.