How does therapy work

How Does Therapy Work for Substance Use?

We understand that therapy and counseling often come with a negative stigma. Despite that, time and time again, therapy and counseling have proven that they are for everyone and that they really do help. When it comes to substance use disorder, the methods are a little different but the core value is still the same: to help you work through a problem. 

So how does therapy work? To explain, let’s dive into what therapy is first.

What is Therapy?

You know the old saying “Knowledge is power?” Therapy builds off that by helping you understand how you mind and body react to certain triggers and how to overcome those reactions. It is a scientifically proven process that helps you understand how your mind works. 

In other words, therapy helps you navigate your feelings, build better behaviors, and relate to your thoughts differently so you can live the life you want. Therapists who use clinically-proven techniques like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) work with you to set goals, track progress, and measure results. They teach you skills to build emotional resilience so you can eventually leave therapy and manage on your own. 

What Is Addiction Therapy?

As mentioned above, addiction therapy follows the same principles as regular therapy in that it helps you look inward to understand and solve a problem. Therapy and counseling are commonly used to help treat addictions so individuals can better handle triggers that cause the need for their substance of choice. 

These triggers can be people, places, objects, food, work, or any sort of emotion. Because they are so wide ranged, therapy is essential to help narrow down your triggers and find a way to avoid them or ignore them. 

Behavioral therapy is one of the most commonly utilized treatments used during substance rehabilitation. We go into different types of therapy, including behavioral therapy, in a past blog. For more information on them, click here or keep reading. 

How Does Therapy Work?

All types of therapy work by changing the way you approach certain problems, handle stress, and think through negative and positive triggers. When it comes to addiction, let’s break down how behavioral therapy works

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is designed to help patients recognize, avoid, and cope with the situations they’re in that will likely lead to drug use or relapse. This type of therapy emphasizes positive reinforcement when the patient does something that helps them remain drug free. 

The reward system is meant to stimulate your brain’s natural reward circuit so you can re-associate feeling good with healthy habits instead of drug use. It’s essentially training your brain to respond positively to being drug free, instead of relying on drugs to feel good. 

On the opposite spectrum, behavioral therapy does not believe in punishment. If relapse does occur, the individual may get certain freedoms or privileges taken away to protect them from relapsing further. The therapist will continue to work with the patient to reinforce good behavior and slowly wean them off their addiction. 

Motivational Interviewing 

One of the hardest obstacles for the effectiveness of therapy is overcoming any motivational barriers that are blocking you from getting everything you can out of it. 

Motivational Interviewing is one approach based on targeting any hesitancy toward changing your behaviors in relation to drug use. This is one method to help overcome substance use and may help you and your doctor better understand what type of therapy will best help you. 

Contingency Management

When you’re trying to overcome an addiction, we understand that relapses may happen. That’s why most substance abuse clinics, such as ourselves, have contingency management built into our program. All this means is that you’re allowed to make honest mistakes from time to time and that we’re ready and able to help you if those mistakes do happen. 

Contingency management (CM) approaches are grounded in operant learning theory and involve the administration of a non-drug reinforcer (e.g., vouchers for goods) following demonstration of abstinence from substances. In other words, it’s just like behavioral therapy: it incentivizes and rewards good behaviors. 

Does Substance Abuse Therapy Work? 

Does substance abuse therapy work? Yes, when done correctly. For some, therapy may be all they need to overcome their addiction. However, others may need a little more help for the therapy to really stick. That’s perfectly understandable too — drug addiction is a powerful force and not many individuals are successfully able to get clean without some help. 

In fact, there is only a 10% recovery rate for those who don’t seek any outside help. Thankfully, that number increases to 25% when users take Suboxone (a drug designed to help reduce withdrawals and cravings), and 50% when combined with both Suboxone and therapy. 

At Direct2Recovery, we believe in offering you the highest possible chance at getting your life back. We use the combined method and give you access to the care you need from medical professionals in our outpatient clinic. 

Get the help you or your loved ones deserve so they can take back their life from addiction. Contact us today and let Direct2Recovery help you heal.

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