What is Addiction Therapy?
There are many benefits of addiction therapy for people who have a substance abuse disorder. People who are addicted to substances often have a distorted sense of what is going on. This is often due to the social problems of substance abuse as well as the psychological effects of the drugs. Denial is usually very strong in people with substance abuse disorders.
When someone is ready to get help, or if an intervention is being staged, it’s important to plan which clinic to send them to, how you will get them there, and what they need while they are there. We, at fields, are here to help you with an intervention and help you find a rehab clinic that has the therapies you want and need.
What is Addiction Therapy?
Addiction therapy helps people suffering from substance use disorder understand why they turned to drugs and alcohol. In therapy, they can figure out the root causes and start moving toward sobriety.
Types of Addiction Therapy
Individual therapy is the best-known therapy. It is completely confidential and your therapist cannot share any information that you share with him or her. Unless you are an immediate danger to yourself or others. Because you would be the only client in the room the therapist can tailor the therapy to you specifically. Depending on your needs and your therapist’s specialty you might start to find patterns that recur in your life. Some of these might be choosing bad partners for emotional as well as physical relationships.
You might also come across traumatic experiences that you were told were normal, or were dismissed by others. Individual therapy can help you make sense of these feelings and new information. Individual therapy in an addiction rehabilitation clinic is practiced by professionals who specialize in helping people with substance abuse. Substance abuse psychologists as well as other personnel who specialize in substance abuse treatment are key in helping people start their road to recovery.
One of the strengths of group therapy is that patients are exposed to the thoughts, opinions, and experiences of those who are in the same situation they are in. Often hearing about others’ experiences helps people come to understand their situation better. It can also help them determine what options they might have had that they either didn’t consider or didn’t know about at the time. This can help them make better decisions in the future. During group therapy, several people in the group might help an individual problem solve and offer them advice.
Group therapy as a part of addiction therapy can help patients feel less isolated. Part of the struggle of addiction is that many people feel isolated. The effect of substances and substance addiction can cause the individual to give up social activities in order to be alone with their drugs. During group therapy, patients are encouraged but not required to talk. Many clients might feel more comfortable watching and listening for a little while before bringing up their own thoughts and opinions.
In some types of family therapy, the person with the addiction is the main focus of attention. Other family therapists explore the emotional and practical relationships that form the family unit. The unit often consists of members of the patient’s household who are genetically or emotionally attached to each other. During treatment, a good deal of time might involve untangling unconscious ties between members of the family unit. One of the purposes is working through dysfunctional actions, thoughts, and messages sent to other members of the family unit verbally or through other means.
The children of people who suffer from addiction disorders might do well in school at an early age. However, the effect of the parent’s addiction can affect the way that their children choose life partners and who they choose. The patterns of behavior the person seeks in their marriages and other partnerships tend to display traits they saw and were a part of in their dysfunctional home life. Divorce and remarriage rarely fix the problem as the person is still attracted to those same dysfunctional traits.
There are several different types of talk therapy such as:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
- Psychodynamic therapies
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT can be practiced as individual therapy and group therapy. Unlike some other types of therapy, this method is designed to be used for only a short period of time. The lessons clients learn during their CBT treatment are long-lasting.
Instead of focusing on earlier trauma or only addiction, CBT helps patients identify unhelpful thought patterns and behaviors. The patient moves from identifying these patterns to learning to use healthier thought patterns and behaviors. Like most therapies, if not all of, the patient’s success depends on the patient’s participation and motivation. This can often be strengthened by the above-mentioned motivational interviewing.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
DBT is a different form of CBT. The creator of DBT, Dr. Marsha M. Linehan, noticed that CBT did not work well for people who suffer from borderline personality disorder. Borderline personality disorder often occurs in the same people as substance use disorder.
There are four main strategies to DBT:
- Interpersonal effectiveness
- Distress tolerance
- Emotional regulation
DBT can especially help people suffering from disorders such as:
- Antisocial personality disorder
- Narcissistic personality disorder
- Histrionic personality disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD) related to abuse as a child
- Major depression
- Eating disorders
- Suicidal and self-harming adolescents
These uses are all very extreme examples of people who can benefit from DBT.
The goal of DBT is to try to keep the patient moving forward. If the patient moves backwards and old habits start reappearing, the DBT specialist helps the client find the determination to keep moving forward as well as recognizing their successes.
Many people who come into addiction therapy do not think they are completely ready for help with their addiction disorder. Motivational interviewing helps the clients strengthen their desire to change and help them realize the benefits of a road to recovery. Motivational interviewing is not a therapist telling the person to change. Instead, it is a partnership between a substance abuse psychologist or other mental health professionals who specialize in addiction.
Just like you wouldn’t see a dermatologist for a heart problem, you wouldn’t go to a clinic for rehab that does not specialize in addiction rehab. Many drug and alcohol rehabilitation clinics treat co-occurring disorders. Co-occurring disorders are two or more mental health disorders that occur in the same person at the same time. To be co-occurring one of the mental health disorders has to be an addiction disorder.
Motivational therapy helps by working out the conflict that the patient experiences between their views of what the problem is and what a good solution might be. It can also help if the client feels like their self-determination, or ability to make their own choices is denied to them. Motivational interviewing helps the client retain the will and determination they had during and after an intervention and strengthens their determination to start their road to recovery.
This treatment can be short-term, a year or less, or longer-term for the client to get the maximum benefit from the treatment. There are several steps to psychodynamic therapy.
Working to acknowledge emotions.
This could be difficult for many people. Often, people who are addicted to substances have a complicated emotional bond with others and sometimes complicated feelings about the substance abuse itself. For some patients, part of that complicated set of emotions might come from psychological pain caused by a pre-existing mental health disorder. Sometimes people with mental health issues besides addiction might have started to abuse substances to try to ease some of the psychological pain. This can be extremely problematic as addictions often form and the person with the pre-existing condition might start to view the substances as the only way to feel better.
This often backfires as the substance abuse disorder causes more pain instead of taking it away. Sometimes people with chronic physical pain develop substance abuse disorders when they misuse their pain relief medication. This can be done by crushing it up and snorting it, chewing it, or adding other things like alcohol to try to increase the drug’s effectiveness. This often results in an addiction disorder which can make the pain harder to treat as it is unwise at the best to give someone who has an addiction disorder an addictive substance.
Sometimes other mental health problems can be caused by substance abuse such as:
- Substance-induced anxiety
- Substance-induced dementia
- Substance-induced psychotic disorder
- Hallucinogen persisting perceptual disorder
- Substance-induced sexual dysfunction
- Substance-induced delirium
- Substance-induced persisting dementia
- Substance-induced persisting amnestic disorder
- Substance-induced sleep disorder
Part of the problem of treating co-occurring disorders is that because some mental health problems occur before the substance abuse starts it might be difficult to figure out what caused what and how to go through with treatment based partly on what the underlying problem is.
Understanding avoidance patterns.
Patients often use avoidance behavior to deal with some of the distressing things in their life. This might include trauma. Patients learn to recognize these avoidance behaviors and develop healthier patterns. Part of this is possible when the patient acknowledges their emotions instead of turning to substances.
This helps build a better understanding of past experiences and how it affects the client’s life today. Sometimes people take actions based on their past and experiences they have had that might not apply in the current situation.
Focusing on relationships.
The patient and the therapist work to assess how the patient connects with others and how those connection patterns affect the patient’s life today.
Unlike some other therapies, the client leads the session. Part of what makes DBT successful is that the therapist and client work together to find what might be sensitive issues for the client. One of the ways that sensitive issues are detected is that the therapist listens for topics that the client tends to shy away from or avoid during the sessions.
It can be important to choose a trauma-informed program for some people. This is especially true if a person has experienced trauma in their lifetime. Some things involved in trauma-informed care might be obvious, like not violating trust. Others do not seem as important but can make a big difference. These might include:
- Having to retell their story repeatedly
- Procedures that might require the patient to undress
- The patient having no choice in their treatment plan
- Failing to guarantee emotional safety
- Not having the chance to give feedback about treatment
- Being treated like a number
- No choice in treatment
- Being seen as their label (addict, depressed, etc.)
- Not being seen or heard
- Non-collaborative treatment
- Coercive measures such as forcing a patient to do something or being verbally rough with a patient
Addiction Intervention Can Help
There are many different types of addiction therapy. We at Addiction Intervention are here to help you intervene in your loved one’s path of addiction and help start them on their road to recovery. At this point, it isn’t just about your loved one feeling better. Substance abuse can be deadly. We want to help you stage the intervention, find the right clinic to better ensure success, and help your loved one lead a happier, healthier, life. Contact us today.