Why Therapy Is Essential in Treating Addiction
- Kate Pindera
- 21 Jun 2021
Addressing substance use disorder goes beyond overcoming your urges or physical dependence on alcohol or illicit drugs. Despite the benefits of medically guided detox, it is not the end all be all for addiction treatment. You’re still vulnerable to your personal addiction triggers and have a significant risk of falling into relapse.
Here’s where behavioural therapies—such as individual counselling, partner therapy, family therapy, and group counselling—come in. In this article, we’ll delve deeper into how different types of addiction therapy can lead individuals struggling with addiction and their loved ones to a life of healing and sobriety.
Keep on reading to learn more.
6 Benefits of Addiction Therapy
Just as addiction is not a product of a single cause, there is also no single treatment that is guaranteed to work for everyone. It’s a complex and chronic disease where the addict continues to abuse substances compulsively despite knowing its devastating consequences. It is medically recognized as a brain disorder because it interferes with the brain’s natural stress, reward, and self-control responses. These kinds of interferences trap individuals in the cycle of addiction, making it possible for them to quit on their own.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse’s Principles of Effective Treatment highlights the importance of attending to the patient’s multiple needs and taking a holistic approach to their addiction treatment. Behavioural therapy is an integral part of any addiction treatment program. It comes in many forms and can be customized depending on the unique issues and circumstances of a patient. It’s a game-changing solution for individuals struggling with substance use.
Here are several reasons why:
1. Addresses the Root Cause of Addiction
Addiction therapy helps the patient to identify the real reason behind their addiction. Why are they using alcohol or drugs? What emotions or trauma are they trying to suppress or forget? What habits, thoughts, behaviours, or environments trigger their cravings?
In cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), your therapist or addiction counsellor will guide you through a self-discovery process where you get to know and understand yourself at a much deeper level. It allows you to pinpoint negative thoughts that automatically trigger self-destructive behaviours and replace them with positive ones in order to address the root cause of addiction.
2. Encourages Motivation to Change
In motivational interviewing therapy, recovering patients are encouraged to overcome their uncertainties and fears in finally walking away from their addiction by seeking treatment.
Usually, those struggling with addiction lack the motivation to change because:
- They refuse to honestly acknowledge the fact that they have a substance use disorder that requires medical help.
- They’re not willing to give up the euphoria or the numbing effect they get from drugs or alcohol.
- And lastly, they are scared of going through the challenging process of withdrawal once they stop abusing substances.
It’s one of many addiction therapy techniques that is proven effective in motivating those who voluntarily sought treatment and those mandated by the court.
Addiction therapy educates patients on how to get over cravings and work through difficult situations without turning to drugs or alcohol. In addition, it also helps them develop healthy, positive coping mechanisms that they can use when faced with potentially triggering situations. These may include practicing mindfulness and meditation, learning practical life skills, and participating in personalized fitness activities.
4. Serves as a Solid Support System
Whether it’s individual or group therapy, the people you interact with during addiction counselling sessions—including your therapist and other participants—become part of a sound and reliable support system. They provide a safe venue for processing thoughts and emotions where someone intently listens without judging and who may even share the same internal struggles they’re experiencing. They may also be a generous source of kindness and encouragement during trying times.
5. Helps Manage Concurrent Disorders
Co-occurring disorders involve the diagnosis of addiction on top of another psychological disorder, which may include:
- Borderline Personality Disorder
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Eating Disorder
- Intermittent Explosive Disorder
Substance use and mental health disorders have a strong connection to each other given their overlapping risk factors, how they both alter specific brain pathways, and the propensity to self-medicate and abuse substances in order to mask painful symptoms of the condition. Addiction therapy, like cognitive behavioural therapy and dialectical behavioural therapy, is often a critical part of an integrated approach to address both diseases.
6. Leads to Improved Relationships with Loved Ones
More often than not, addiction negatively impacts an addict’s relationship with the people they care about the most, including their significant other, parents, siblings, children, friends, or colleagues.
Partner therapy and family therapy are specifically designed to address these issues. These forms of addiction therapy can be instrumental in helping the addict overcome guilt and seek forgiveness, which can pave the way for reconciliation with their loved ones. On the other hand, addiction therapy is also beneficial for family members and partners of addicts to know that their grief and pain are also valid and that they, too, deserve sufficient emotional support.
Through therapy, both parties develop healthy communication skills and learn how to discuss their differences without hurting each other. Successful addiction therapy involving family members can result in emotional recovery, lowered risk of relapse, and strengthened support networks.
Addiction Therapy by Freedom From Addiction
Freedom From Addiction believes in developing evidence-based and personalized treatment approaches for substance abuse according to each client’s individualized needs and experiences. We offer a wide range of addiction therapy programs that are available for both outpatient and residential patients.
Whether you are starting your first day on our addiction recovery program or a recovering addict who simply wants to receive continuing care as you ease your way back out into the world, Freedom From Addiction has got you covered.
For more information about our addiction therapy programs, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. A member of our team will get back to you shortly. Contact us today!
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