Individuals with a Substance Use Disorder (SUD) have an intense focus on or addiction to certain substances including alcohol, tobacco, or illicit drugs. Addiction is a complex, severe, and treatable disease that is characterized by uncontrollable, compulsive substance seeking behavior that causes changes in the brain’s structure and function. Despite harmful consequences that happen to your brain, relationships, and functions of daily life, an individual with a substance use disorder continues to use, even when they know it is causing or will cause problems.The path to addiction often starts with voluntary use of drugs or alcohol for the purpose of feeling good from the intoxication effects of the drug or alcohol, to relieve stress, or to improve performance. However, in time, an individual’s ability to choose to stop is compromised. The act of taking or seeking drugs or alcohol becomes compulsive. This is due to the long-term effects of drug exposure on the brain’s functions. Addiction does affect the reward and motivation centers of the brain, memory, and learning, and control over the behavior.
Can Addiction be Treated?
Yes. However, it’s far from simple. Since this is a severe and chronic disease, it is difficult for someone to simply stop and be cured. Many need long-term support or even repeated care that can help them recover and return to a functional life. Substance abuse treatment helps the individual do the following:
- Understand addiction
- Stop their substance abuse
- Find an individualized recovery program that works for them
- Identify any underlying co-occurring mental health disorders
- Return to a more productive way of living with their family, work, and society
- Learn effective ways to cope with triggers that make them want to use
- Address underlying mental health issues with medication and psychotherapy interventions
Treatments for Substance Abuse
Numerous options have proven successful in treating substance abuse. These are:
- Medical detoxification and withdrawal management
- Inpatient, residential, and outpatient programs offering individual and group therapy
- Individual behavior therapy or counseling
- Assessments and treatments for mental health issues like anxiety or depression
- Medication, to help control drug cravings, relieve symptoms of withdrawal, and to prevent relapses. Medications are also used to help treat underlying mental health disorders as well.
- Effective and Holistic coping skills training
- Therapeutic residential communities including supportive and sober living environments
- Long-term support and recovery program including Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, SMART Recovery etc.
- Ongoing personal recovery and development to help prevent relapse
Medical care and treatment programs can be tailored with options that are crucial to a person’s success in recovery. Many treatments will include mental health and medical services if needed. Many programs also include family therapy and community-based support systems for recovery.
Behavioral Therapies for Substance Abuse Treatment
Behavioral therapies can help a person modify their current attitudes and disruptive behaviors related to their drug use. Therapy can also help a person increase their life coping skills for life stressors and improve overall health. It can also assist in another form of treatment like the use of medication.
There are different approaches to behavioral therapy which can include individual or group counseling or a combination of each. Behavioral therapy approaches include:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): This helps patients recognize, cope, and avoid situations that are mentally distressing and where they are more likely to use drugs.
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT): This is adaptable to substance abuse but primarily focuses on personality disorders. This program can help reduce an individual’s cravings and help them avoid situations that may lead to relapse, along with learning healthy coping skills.
- Multidimensional Family Therapy: This program addresses a range of problems and influences of parents and family members on other family members’ patterns of substance abuse. This therapy is designed to improve the overall function of the family.
- Motivational Interviewing: This program makes the most of an individual’s readiness to change their life and behavior and enter treatment.
- Motivational Incentives or Contingency Management: This program uses positive reinforcement to encourage a person to abstain from drugs.
- Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy: This program helps individuals understand their thoughts. It also helps them develop better habits for a more positive and sensible way to gain emotions more healthily. It works by the idea that reasoning can come from within and that external situations aren’t what makes one unhappy or happy.
- Matrix Model: This is a combination of different techniques and was initially used for stimulant addictions. Therapists will focus on rewarding any good behavior and teach their patients to believe in themselves. This includes more self-esteem, self-worth, and increased dignity.
Therapy and substance abuse can be treated. If you want to learn more about addiction and its effect on a person, please contact us for information. You can find places for treatment and other information you need to make an informed decision in moving forward in your life. Remember, you aren’t alone.