Therapies for Addiction Treatment
Substance use treatment is designed to address problems that people have with their drug or alcohol use and associated issues. Therapy is an important component of addiction treatment.1
This page will discuss therapy for substance use and how to find treatment.
Therapy for Substance Use Disorders
There are several types of addiction therapy, each of which has its own purposes and goals, works in different ways, and may be provided in various settings.2,3 These behavioral approaches are designed to promote behavioral changes that support abstinence, help patients build and maintain better interpersonal relationships, improve problem-solving skills, and more.3
Individual, Family & Group Therapy
Substance use disorder (SUD) therapy is typically performed in individual, group, or family settings.3 Patients may participate in a combination of these formats, depending on the specific focus and their unique circumstances.
Individual drug addiction therapy means patients meet one-on-one with their therapist. During these sessions, it’s common to discuss challenges, goals, experiences, and emotions, and work on issues relevant to substance use, such as past problems or stress at home or work. The therapist will listen and help patients develop different perspectives or strategies to help them cope in healthier and more effective ways.2
Group therapy for substance use disorder is when a patient and several others in treatment meet with a therapist. Like individual therapy, patients will learn coping skills and other strategies that can promote abstinence and prevent relapse. Group therapy may also allow patients to better learn and practice interpersonal skills, as well as gain insight from others who’ve been through similar experiences.4
Family therapy for addiction can be an important way to help people stay motivated in treatment, work through relationship issues, and support recovery.3 When it is appropriate, therapy sessions involving a therapist and several family members can help repair relationships that have been impacted by substance use, help people develop healthier communication skills, provide a way for family members to talk about their feelings and experiences, and improve family functioning.5
Many therapeutic approaches may be used in the above-mentioned settings, such as motivational interviewing (MI), cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), family behavior therapy, or dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). Below, we will discuss these common therapeutic approaches used in addiction treatment.
Motivational Interviewing (MI)
Motivational interviewing is a brief form of therapy that is designed to increase a person’s motivation to change.3 MI may be provided during intake or at the beginning of treatment as a way of: 3
- Encouraging people to enter or stick with treatment.
- Finding their internal motivation and reasons for wanting to change.
- Helping people stay engaged throughout the addiction treatment process.
During an MI session, a therapist will use different techniques, such as targeted, open-ended questions and reflective listening, designed to help patients see for themselves the changes the changes they need to make in their lives.6 They will also discuss coping strategies for risky situations, review the patient’s progress, and provide ongoing encouragement.3
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT is designed to help people identify unhelpful or negative thoughts and learn to recognize consequent behaviors that stem from those thoughts, including substance use.2
Together, the patient and therapist will work on developing more realistic, healthy beliefs to replace maladaptive ones, discuss and practice new skills, and learn ways to make behavioral changes that can support abstinence and recovery.3 CBT can also help patients learn to self-monitor so that they can identify things that trigger cravings and avoid high-risk situations.3
Family Behavior Therapy
Family behavior therapy views the family as a single unit made up of people who each fulfill vital roles. When something like addiction causes dramatic shifts within the family system, family members often adapt in unhealthy ways. For example, one family member may take on too much responsibility, some family members enable their loved one’s addiction, and some may try to isolate themselves completely.7
Family therapy can help the family make positive changes to not only support the person in recovery but allows everyone to heal from the trauma of addiction.7
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
DBT is a type of behavioral therapy that was originally developed to treat people who were chronically suicidal and was then adapted for those with borderline personality disorder (BPD) and substance use disorders (SUDs). The basic underlying principle of DBT is the synthesis of opposites—acceptance and change.8
The goal of DBT is to teach people ways to accept things as they are at the moment, while also working to change the things that they can actively influence, such as the way they interact with others or what they choose to do to alleviate stress.2,8
Anger management involves helping people learn more constructive and healthier ways of dealing with anger.9 Unresolved anger issues coupled with substance use can increase the risk of consequences, such as:9
- Damage to relationships.
- Involvement with the criminal justice system.
Learning how to cope with intense emotions like anger can therefore be an important part of the recovery process.9
Many approaches to anger management may involve different addiction treatment therapies, like CBT, with the essential focus of helping people learn to:9
- Manage their anger.
- Stop violence or the threat of violence.
- Develop self-control skills.
- Learn how to receive support from others.
Holistic & Complementary Therapies
Holistic or alternative therapies, such as yoga, mindfulness, and meditation, can be beneficial ways to support evidence-based treatment approaches by helping patients develop insight, acceptance skills, and self-awareness, and can also alleviate stress and help people cope with urges and emotions associated with cravings.10
Yoga classes can teach people how to connect with their bodies through mindful movement and breathwork, while meditation and mindfulness can help people in similar ways. Yoga and mindfulness can teach patients to:10
- Pay attention to the present moment.
- Improve stress resilience.
- Deter unhealthy patterns of thought, behavior, and emotion associated with addiction.
Does Insurance Cover Therapy During Treatment?
Yes, insurance is required by law to cover addiction treatment, and behavioral therapy is considered an essential part of most addiction plans.3,11
The extent of your coverage can depend on your specific plan, so it’s advisable to inquire about these details with your insurance carrier. You can also verify your insurance coverage at Laguna by using the confidential .
Therapy and Addiction Treatment at Laguna
Addiction is treatable through evidence-based addiction therapy. Laguna Treatment Center, our Orange County rehab, utilizes therapeutic methods in conjunction with other interventions (e.g., medical detox, medications for substance use disorder, peer support) that can help you or your loved one get sober and remain in long-term recovery.
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