Who Needs Addiction Treatment Therapy?

According to NIDA - the National Institute on Drug Abuse - there are certain principles that must be applied through addiction treatment therapy. If these principles are not followed, the rehabilitation program might not prove effective in helping you overcome your substance use disorder and any other co-occurring mental health disorders that you might have.

The goal of these principles is to improve the success rates of addiction treatment therapy. They can, for instance, help you by:

  • Moderating or ending your drug use
  • Reducing and eliminating your risk of relapse
  • Allowing you to restart or rebuild your life

Addiction Treatment Principles

In the context of addiction treatment therapy, NIDA has been developing certain principles that need to be followed. These principles cover such notions as:

  • Behavioral therapies and counseling are used based on the treatment option that would increase your ability to overcome your addiction
  • Medications might be useful in helping you address the physical and psychological aspects of your substance abuse
  • Substance use disorders are multifaceted problems but they can be effectively treated
  • Treatment needs to be directed on you as an individual rather than on your favorite intoxicating and mind altering substances
  • Treatment can prove effective even if you are forced into the rehabilitation program
  • Your eventual voluntary participation in addiction treatment therapy could improve your chances of achieving full recovery

Today, many addiction treatment specialists agree that therapy is one of the essential elements in any rehabilitation program. However, there are many options available. As such, it might be difficult for you to choose the type of treatment that would work best for your particular case.

The best thing that you can do is to learn as much as you can about the different forms of therapy available for dealing with substance use disorders. You can also talk to treatment specialists so that they can advise you on the right form of treatment that you require.

Behavioral Therapy

The goal of behavioral therapy is to turn your life around so that you stop focusing on intoxicating and mind altering substances. Through this style of addiction treatment therapy, you can examine the behaviors that are undesirable and unhealthy. Similarly, you will get the opportunity to identify all the situations that continue supporting your substance abuse and addiction.

The behavior, for instance, could continue due to the pleasurable and euphoric effects of drugs in your system. You might also keep on using drugs because they are effective in calming your body or eliminating your pain.

All these effects could reinforce your continued drug use. Even when you realize that drugs cause negative consequences, you might still keep on using them because you would be placing more value on the benefit of substance abuse than on the risky consequences that you suffer.

During this form of addiction treatment therapy, the behavioral therapist will apply specific interventions. This would be with the goal of addressing the various unwanted behaviors that contribute to your substance use. These interventions include:

    • Assertiveness training
    • Exposure
    • Functional analysis
    • Planning
    • Psychoeducational
    • Relaxation training

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Also known as CBT, cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of addiction treatment therapy that uses behavioral therapies while assigning equal importance to your feelings and thoughts. According to CBT, negative thought patterns contribute to unwanted behaviors and feelings. These behaviors, on the other hand, lead to negative thinking and feelings.

Through this form of therapy, your therapist will try to assess and understand all the systems that lead to your behaviors, feelings, and thoughts. In the process, they would try to learn the sources of reinforcement. By so doing, they can help you understand the feelings and thoughts that contribute to your substance abuse.

Additionally, this type of addiction treatment therapy will deal with all the cognitive distortions that feed your substance related behaviors. These distortions refer to the flawed thoughts that are illogical and irrational but seem rational to a drug addict.

For instance, you might think that your life will continue falling apart unless it is perfect. Since it is impossible to obtain perfection, you may experience negative feelings, depression, and hopelessness. After, you could resort to drugs and alcohol to deal with these feelings - eventually developing a substance use disorder.

Contingency Management

Through contingency management, you can deal with addiction linked to nicotine, marijuana, opioids, stimulants, and alcohol. This approach to addiction treatment therapy will give you tangible and desirable rewards when you accomplish the behavior that you desire. This behavior could be continued abstinence from your favorite substances of abuse. The reward, to this end, could help you rebuild your behavior so that it veers away from drugs and alcohol.

Examples of the rewards that might be provided through contingency management include:

  • Natural contingencies
  • Prize incentives
  • Voucher-based reinforcement

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy

Also known as REBT, rational emotive behavior therapy is a style of addiction treatment therapy that is similar to CBT. It does not emphasize behavior as much as other forms of therapy. However, it will focus on your views and beliefs. This is because it views unrealistic and flawed beliefs as being at the core of the psychological issues linked to your continued substance abuse and addiction.

These irrational beliefs include but are not limited to:

  • Everyone MUST love you and treat you fairly
  • You MUST avoid everything that you find too hard or difficult to deal with
  • You MUST get what you want every time you want it
  • You MUST perform perfectly all the time

To deal with these wrong beliefs, therapists using REBT will apply the ABC model of addiction treatment therapy. This model will teach you that situations do not lead to consequences. Rather, it is your beliefs about situations that will create the negative consequences.

If you are struggling with substance abuse, you might assert that someone offered you drugs - and they contributed to your addiction. Through REBT, however, you will come to realize that the fact that someone offered you a substance - A - caused the belief that the drug would help you resolve a given problem - B - and this later gave rise to your addiction - C.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

DBT, or dialectical behavioral therapy is also influenced by CBT. It is particularly effective if you are struggling with addiction as well as borderline personality disorder and/or chronic behaviors that cause self-harm, such as suicide attempts and self-mutilation.

Scientific research shows that addiction treatment therapy is effective for many different mental health conditions that co-occur with substance use disorder. These conditions include:

  • Mood disorders like bipolar disorder and depression
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Anxiety-related disorders
  • Eating disorders

According to dialectical behavioral therapy, these mental health issues arise from both invalidating environments and emotional vulnerability. To this end, you will receive a balance of acceptable or validation and encouragement so that you turn around your thought patterns.

DBT also builds effectiveness on addiction treatment therapy that involves the use of:

  • Group therapy to improve your focusing and building skills
  • Individual therapy to deal with current stress factors and past sources of trauma
  • Phone coaching so that you have treatment interventions in between sessions
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy can also lead you through four primary modules to rebuild your skills. These modules will highlight your dialectical thoughts based on the assertion that you can find balance even with opposing ideas. These skills include:
  • Distress tolerance: So that you can accept distress to some extent without going to extreme measures while trying to resolve it
  • Emotional regulation: Learning to identity all issues that could trigger unwanted feelings and thoughts, as well as working to reduce them using more positive coping skills
  • Interpersonal effectiveness: Being able to communicate concisely and clearly while improving your listening skills
  • Mindfulness: Being fully engaged with and aware of your present situation

Humanist or Person-Centered Therapy

This type of addiction treatment therapy came up to oppose the psychoanalytic view that people are motivated by aggression, power, sex, or greed. Through the humanist approach to therapy, you will learn that everyone has innate goodness.

Additionally, personal center therapy can help you understand that you can resolve your own problems if you have:

  • A supportive environment
  • Acceptance
  • Unconditional positive regard
  • Understanding from your therapist

To this end, the person-centered therapist would be a passive participant in the sessions. This will allow you to complete the work of ongoing recovery from your substance use disorder on your own.


The other types of addiction treatment therapy that you can apply during your recovery program include:

  • Community Reinforcement Approach (or CRA)
  • Community-Based Treatments
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (or EMDR)
  • Family-Based Treatments
  • Integrative Approach
  • Motivational Interviewing
  • Multidimensional Family Therapy (MDFT)
  • The Matrix Model

Getting Help

If you are struggling with a substance use disorder and/or a co-occurring mental health or medical disorder, it is essential that you receive addiction treatment therapy services after completing your detoxification. Without these services, it might be difficult for you to fully overcome your addiction and all the issues that surround it.











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