The Helpful Benefits of Therapy for Addiction Treatment

Medically reviewed by Mark Hrymoc MD

Are you struggling to maintain sobriety? If so, you may be interested in exploring the benefits of exploring therapy for addiction treatment.

Addiction is a brain disorder for which a person has overwhelming urges to repeat specific actions, even though doing so leads to negative consequences personally, professionally, academically, or socially. Having an addiction means your brain has been altered by alcohol or drug misuse to the point that it cannot function appropriately. Your brain is convinced it needs substances to survive, which keeps you in the cycle of seeking, misusing, and recovering.

Currently, over 21 million Americans have a substance use disorder. Unfortunately, less than 15% seek treatment. Therapy is one of the most effective forms of therapy for addiction treatment.

What is Therapy for Addiction Treatment?

Psychotherapy or therapy for addiction helps you stop misusing alcohol or drugs. It teaches you how to prevent relapse, focuses on healing the pain that led to substance abuse, and builds self-esteem so you can start living a healthy lifestyle.

When you enter addiction treatment, whether you are 100% motivated to stop misusing alcohol or drugs, you learn about recovery. You also learn more about addiction as a medical disorder and why you can’t “just quit.” More knowledge about addiction helps you make the best decisions for your health.

A licensed mental health and substance abuse specialist will provide multiple therapies as part of your treatment plan. Individual, group, and family therapies consist of skills training to teach you how to make positive changes in all areas of your life.

 What Are the Types of Therapies for Addiction Treatment?

In a quality recovery treatment program, you will experience multiple types of therapies since there are numerous reasons for having a substance use disorder. Below are common types:

Behavioral Therapies

How you behave is often a result of your thoughts, feelings, and mood. Behavioral therapy aims to help you recognize negative thought patterns and replace them with positive ones to avoid repeating unhealthy behaviors.

Examples of behavioral therapies include the following:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
  • Psychodynamic Therapy (PT)
  • Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET)

Theories on behavioral therapies are that all behaviors are learned and can be unlearned or replaced with other behaviors. Research on the brain supports this theory because the brain has neuroplasticity, which is the nervous system’s ability to change and adapt due to experiences. With addiction, your brain has been trained to drink alcohol or use drugs in search of a pleasurable feeling. In recovery, your brain is trained to find pleasure in healthy activities.

Medication Therapies

Medication is an important therapy for many people. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved medications for alcohol and opioid use disorders. If the substance you are addicted to is something other than alcohol or opioids, Psychiatrists can treat your symptoms individually with effective medicines.

Common medications for alcohol use disorder include acamprosate, disulfiram, and naltrexone. Buprenorphine, naltrexone, and methadone aid with opioid use disorder. The FDA has also approved naloxone to prevent a fatal opioid overdose.

Medication therapies aim to curb cravings and ease withdrawal symptoms so you will stay in therapy for addiction treatment and be able to focus on how to maintain abstinence. Medication therapies can be given in an inpatient and outpatient level of care.

For those with mental health issues, medication is often beneficial for stabilization. For example, someone with anxiety disorders may need medicine to help ease anxiety and avoid panic attacks.

Family Therapies/ Couples Therapy

Your loved ones can benefit from therapy, also. Family members need to learn how to support you in your recovery. Some have addictions of their own and need help. Family therapies include cognitive behavioral, psychoeducation, supportive, systemic, strategic, and structural. Also, narrative and transgenerational therapies.

Treatment Resistant Therapies

Not everyone responds well to traditional therapies. Some have tried various medications combined with various behavioral and alternative therapies, yet they still do not see significant improvements. If this sounds familiar, talk to a psychiatrist about ketamine-assisted therapy, a combination of low-dose ketamine and psychotherapy.

Trauma-focused Therapies

Experiencing trauma affects everyone differently. Some can cope and move forward, while others find it more challenging. Trauma-focused therapies are necessary to aid someone in dealing with trauma so that it doesn’t interfere with emotional development. Types of trauma therapies include:

  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Trauma resilience model (TRM)
  • Trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT)
  • Peer Support Group Therapies

Giving and receiving feedback and support from peers has many benefits for recovery. You learn you are not alone, have a safe space to share, build sober friendships, stay accountable, and stay motivated in recovery. Therapeutic peer support groups are led by a licensed treatment professional and differ from peer-led support groups such as the 12 Step facilitation groups. Both types are valuable parts of a treatment plan.

What Are Alternative Therapies for Addiction Treatment?

Alternative, holistic, or complementary therapies are essential to healing because they help heal the whole body rather than just one part. It aims to eliminate any cause for relapse.

Examples of alternative therapy for addiction treatment:

  • Equine therapy
  • Music and art therapy
  • Meditation and yoga therapy
  • Nutrition and fitness therapy
  • Emotional freedom techniques
  • Art therapy
  • Adventure therapy
  • Biofeedback

Where Can I get Therapy for Addiction Treatment?

When searching for a place to get therapy for addiction treatment, look for one that offers multiple levels of care. For example, the Mental Health Center provides therapy based on the intensity of your symptoms.

The more services a center offers, the easier it will be to transition from one level of care to another. Also, they can give you a long-term treatment plan that ensures you receive support without interruption. At a minimum, they should provide the following services:

  • Detox, including medication-assistance treatment
  • Psychiatric medication management for dual diagnoses
  • Psychotherapy by licensed treatment professionals
  • Support groups
  • Telehealth or online services

Many resources are available for someone wanting to stop using substances and enter recovery. Most are open 24/7, so you do not have to wait to talk to a staff member. This means you can start your journey today.