“People do not choose addiction, but rather, much to their surprise, find themselves trapped in it. The addict suffers from delusions that he is making the choice to drink or use drugs, but he is not. He has lost the ability to face his pain without the addiction. Addiction is about pain. People suffering from addiction are not trying to destroy themselves; they are trying to survive yet another day.”
~Richard Taite & Constance Scharff, PhD Ending Addiction for Good: the Groundbreaking Holistic Evidence-based Way to Transform Your Life. If you feel that you might have a substance use disorder, take our brief self quiz.
In Part 1, we defined and listed the goals of evidence-based addiction treatment. Now, we will talk about different kinds of evidence-based behavioral therapy.
Just as there are numerous possible causal factors in the development of a substance abuse disorder, there are many philosophies as to the proper therapeutic model for addiction recovery. San Diego treatment facilities that offer the best chances for a positive outcome use an evidence-based approach grounded in hard science, reviewable data, and measurable/provable success.
Behavioral therapy is about changing the thought processes of the person in recovery, so that they are able to change their actions. Some ways that this change is made possible, is by the following approaches to therapy –
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy – In this approach, patients focus on developing new coping skills so that they are able to anticipate potential problems and enhance their self-control when stresses, triggers, or temptations arise. It is most effective when treating alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, or methamphetamine abuse and is used in intensive outpatient treatment and partial hospitalization programs.
- Contingency Management – This approach gives patients tangible rewards as a means of reinforcing positive behaviors, especially continued abstinence. It is most effective when treating alcohol, stimulants, opioids, or marijuana abuse.
- Community Reinforcement – Typically used in an intensive outpatient therapy program, this approach uses a familial, social, vocational, and recreational activities and incentives to reinforce a non-drug-using lifestyle. This is most effective when treating the abuse of opioids, cocaine, or alcohol.
- Motivational Enhancement – This strategy, also used in intensive outpatient therapy in addition to Community Reinforcement, seeks to increase the motivation for a rapid change in an individual who is otherwise ambivalent about stopping their drug use. It is most effective with individuals who have minor or moderate problems with alcohol or marijuana.
- The Matrix Model – This treatment strategy is primarily used for substance abusers of stimulants such as methamphetamines or cocaine. The most critical element of this approach is a positive, encouraging relationship between the therapist – acting as both coach and teacher – and the patient.
- 12-Step Facilitation Therapy – Engaging the recovering substance abuser is the idea behind this treatment strategy. By regularly attending 12-Step fellowship meetings, the recovering substance abuser can gain acceptance, learn the value of surrendering their will to the recovery process, and the personal therapeutic value of service to other struggling addicts/alcoholics. This approach is effective with all forms of addiction.
- Family Behavior Therapy – This approach is one of the most important components of any successful recovery, regardless of the drug used, because it addresses both the substance abuse problem as a disease and the effects on the family including enabling and excessive care taking. In addition, employment problems, child abuse, poor communication, and other types of family conflict can be resolved.
- Family Education Group – The patient in recovery and at least one family member – spouse, partner, parent, etc. – attend group sessions weekly and are taught new behavioral strategies and skills designed to improve the overall home environment. Both parties are actively engaged in creating their own separate yet complementary treatment goals.
In the final installment, we will talk about the role of pharmacotherapy in a successful evidence-based addiction recovery plan.
As you can see from this general outline, research has shown that there are different therapy approaches best suited for specific drugs of abuse. Their efficacy is maximized when other co-occurring mental disorders, such as depression, anxiety, chronic pain, trauma and bipolar disorder are also treated, when appropriate medications are prescribed, and when the recovery plan focuses upon the whole person – physically, mentally, emotionally, nutritionally, and spiritually.
This is the philosophy used by the knowledgeable professional staff at Lasting Recovery – the best drug and alcohol rehab San Diego has to offer. If you or someone you care about is suffering because of a substance abuse disorder, contact us today and speak to an intake specialist.