Types of Therapies for Substance Abuse

Each year, as many as 21 million people in the United States require help for substance use disorders, but only about 3 million people actually get help, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Alcohol and drug addiction therapy help clients get to the root causes of substance use disorder. There are various types of treatment that can make a difference for people battling alcohol or drug abuse.

Substance abuse treatment facilities offer several different options to help treat addiction, withdrawal symptoms, and mental health conditions.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

This is one of the most common behavioral therapies that substance abuse treatment providers turn to. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) focuses on how certain thought patterns can lead to negative actions. Using CBT, therapists strive to help someone with an addiction learn how to identify and modify those negative thoughts.

Strategies that CBT relies on include:

  • Learning to distinguish distorted thinking
  • Learning to modify distorted thinking
  • Learning to recognize the motivations of others
  • Developing greater confidence in your abilities
  • Learning to calm your mind
  • Facing your fears

Unlike many other forms of mental health treatment, CBT helps you manage your current experiences without digging into your past.

You and a mental health professional will find what works best for your own situation. CBT also focuses on helping you become your own therapist by offering all of the tools and skills you need as you continue the treatment program.

Contingency Management

Another option for people seeking treatment for alcohol and drug addiction is contingency management (CM). CM is particularly helpful in treating certain substance use disorders, including opioid addiction, alcohol use disorder, and stimulant addiction, and it can also reinforce existing sobriety mechanisms.

CM focuses on rewarding you for positive behaviors, such as attending support groups. By providing small rewards immediately after you complete a positive action or meet a goal, this therapy encourages you to repeat your desired results. Some forms of CM also enforce consequences for not meeting the goal.

CM for alcohol and drug addiction treatment also works in a cumulative way, with more sober time meaning better rewards. It is an excellent treatment option that helps prevent people from dropping out of treatment and relapsing.

Motivational Enhancement Therapy

Motivational enhancement therapy (MET) offers a patient-centered approach to behavioral therapy. It focuses on increasing your motivation to change your behaviors. People with an alcohol or drug addiction may not start addiction treatment with enough motivation to finish it successfully. Unfortunately, starting treatment and dropping out can result in relapse.

MET helps people overcome any resistance or ambivalence they have toward changing their behavioral patterns. It can help them become aware of the problem and learn to overcome self-defeating thoughts. Instead of telling clients what the problem is and how to change it, a therapist who offers MET as part of alcohol and drug addiction therapy encourages self-motivation.

In order to do this, a therapist first creates a welcoming environment where clients can express themselves. The therapist also helps clients see the difference between the state of being they desire and the one they are currently in. Identifying the disconnect allows them to see what may be leading them to engage in drug abuse.

MET does not require the therapist to confront resistance or argue. Instead, therapists who provide MET are trained to listen to avoid defensiveness on the client’s part. This is crucial for addiction treatment because defensiveness can lead clients to close themselves off to outside assistance.

MET also supports self-efficiency in ongoing treatment. By helping you see that you can help yourself, you can gain confidence in your skills as you battle alcohol or drug addiction.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a method therapists use to treat substance use disorder in people who have trouble living in the present moment. It can help you develop healthier coping skills, learn how to regulate your emotions, and improve relationships.

DBT can work in group therapy as well as individual therapy sessions for anyone undergoing mental health or addiction treatment. It is also an excellent option for people who have co-occurring conditions.

The development of core mindfulness is an important part of DBT for alcohol and drug abuse. This is what allows you to learn to live in the moment and not dwell on past experiences.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

For people battling mental disorders like PTSD as well as alcohol or drug addiction, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) can be crucial.

Sometimes, alcohol and drug addiction arise as ways to cope with unresolved trauma. The right drug addiction treatment program will offer EMDR to help clients understand and process that trauma in healthy ways.

EMDR allows you to briefly focus on the trauma while experiencing bilateral stimulation, or stimulation in both sides of your brain. Bilateral stimulation can be accomplished by moving your eyes back and forth, listening to beeps in each ear, tapping your body with your hands, or holding devices that gently buzz in an alternating pattern.

Bilateral stimulation has been shown to help reduce the vividness and emotional distress connected to trauma memories.

Trauma-Focused Therapy

Trauma-focused therapy focuses on emphasizing coping skills, offering education on mental health, and teaching grounding techniques to help clients deal with anxiety triggers and PTSD.

Holistic Therapy Options

For people who want more holistic alcohol and drug addiction treatment options, there are a number of different types that substance abuse treatment facilities offer.

Many inpatient treatment centers offer yoga therapy, art therapy, exercise therapy, dance and music therapy, and even experiential therapy, which often includes animals in the therapy sessions. Most of the time, holistic therapy options are part of a wider selection of treatments.

Begin Your Path to Sobriety

Recovery requires ongoing mental health treatment to ensure that you build up your confidence and get the tools you need to help yourself. If you battle alcohol addiction or drug abuse, we can help you find a treatment program tailored to your unique needs and put you on the path to success.

If you want to find substance abuse treatment providers to help you manage withdrawal symptoms and learn coping strategies, you can turn to us at Quit Alcohol. We can help you choose the right inpatient or outpatient treatment programs and support groups. Contact us today to get started.