Treatment for addiction has changed and evolved over the years. Research has uncovered more information about addictive substances, how they affect the brain and body, and how underlying issues affect addiction. As scientists and doctors continue to study and try to solve the puzzle of addiction, the treatments we have today will continue to change. There is hope that new, even more effective treatment methods will emerge in the near future. Even though we do not yet have a cure for substance addiction, we have multiple therapies and treatments to help people overcome it.
There are multiple behavioral therapies that are effective in treating substance addiction. These approaches help engage people in addiction treatment, provide incentives for remaining abstinent, and help modify their attitudes and behaviors related to drug abuse. Various therapies help increase their life skills to handle stressful circumstances and environmental cues that may trigger intense cravings and prompt another cycle of compulsive substance use.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) uses strategies based on the theory that in developing maladaptive behavioral patterns like substance abuse, learning processes play a critical role. Individuals in CBT learn to identify and correct problematic behaviors by applying a range of different skills that can be used to stop drug abuse and to address a range of other problems that often co-occur with it.
One key factor of CBT is teaching patients to anticipate possible problems and enhancing patients’ self-control by helping them develop effective coping strategies. Patients are taught to weigh the positive and negative consequences of continued drug use. They learn self-monitoring to recognize cravings early and identify situations that might put one at risk for use. They also learn how to develop strategies for coping with cravings and avoiding those high-risk situations.
According to research, skills learned in CBT remain after treatment is completed. A computer-based CBT system has also been developed as an effective in helping decrease substance use following standard treatment.
Substance use disorders can cause strained or broken relationships with friends, family and significant others. The main goal of IPT is to help patients improve their social functioning and interpersonal relationships. It focuses more on working on current relationships and less on past relationships. IPT has not been used as commonly with substance use disorder treatment as other therapies, but it has been found to be effective for patients with co-occurring mood and substance use disorders. There has also been a recent push to use it more in substance use disorder treatment.
Family behavioral therapy has demonstrated positive results in both adults and adolescents. It is aimed at addressing not only substance use problems but other co-occurring problems as well. FBT combines behavioral contracting with contingency management.
Motivational interviewing is a directive, patient-centered brief intervention to elicit behavior change by helping clients explore and resolve ambivalence. This can be effective as many people with substance use disorder often experience ambivalence.
12-step facilitation therapy is an active engagement strategy designed to increase the likelihood of someone who uses substances becoming affiliated with and actively involved in 12-step self-help groups, thereby promoting abstinence. The efficacy of 12-step programs (and 12-step facilitation) in treating alcohol dependence has been established. The research on its usefulness for other forms of substance use is more preliminary, but the treatment appears promising for helping people with other substance use disorders sustain recovery.
Complementary alternative and integrative medicine (CAIM) modalities are being used more often by patients with substance use disorders (SUDs). There is evidence that these interventions can improve symptoms commonly seen in patients with SUDs, such as stress, anxiety, depression and pain. Mindfulness-based intervention (MBI), such as meditation, has proven effective for SUDs. Other modalities, such as manipulative body practices and healing energy medicine techniques, also show some evidence of effectiveness. These methods center on the concept of restoring balance to energy fields or acupoints on the body, including chakras and meridians.
Currently, there is no cure for SUDs. However, they are treatable and can be effectively managed. Relapse can happen, but it does not mean that treatment has failed. The chronic nature of addiction means that for some people, relapse can be part of the process. It is important to remember that while we hear and read a lot about addiction rates, it is less common to hear and read the many stories of successful recovery. Effective treatment is an essential ingredient in the recipe for recovery. There is another crucial component to consider, and that is aftercare. It begins after a patient completes treatment at a facility. This time can be anxiety-provoking, but with skills learned in treatment and the proper support in place, it is possible to maintain recovery outside of structured treatment environments.
Support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous allow people with substance use disorders to surround themselves with people with similar issues and who understand the rewards and challenges of maintaining recovery firsthand.
Aftercare can also include case management, trained peer support services, financial and housing assistance and alumni outreach programs like the program at Casa Palmera. Aftercare programs are there to provide the support needed to help people successfully maintain their recovery for life.
While there is no cure for substance use disorders, there are multiple therapies to help people start on the journey to recovery, and aftercare is available to help them stay on that path for life. At Casa Palmera, we are dedicated to being the leader in holistic care delivery. That is why we offer the most up-to-date evidence-based therapies and a wide range of complementary modalities. Substance use disorders are a family disease, and we understand the importance of involving our patients’ families in the treatment process as soon as possible. Sometimes people with substance use disorders have co-occurring mood disorders and/or a history of trauma. We treat co-occurring mood disorders and we offer trauma-informed treatment because when we work on these factors there is a better chance of successful recovery. Our staff are highly trained, compassionate and take pride in helping patients heal. Call Casa Palmera at (855) 508-0473.