What Are the Best Therapies for Treating Addiction?

What Are the Best Therapies for Treating Addiction - Fight Addiction Now

Scientifically Backed Methods for Successfully Treating Addiction

Searching for effective therapy for drug and alcohol addictions can be daunting. When you begin the search for yourself or a loved one, look for a program that features evidence-based addiction treatment practices. These types of behavioral therapies are based on scientific evidence and have the highest success rates for addiction recovery.

Behavioral Therapies for Addiction

Let’s take a look at the most common behavioral therapies that should be strongly considered for a successful recovery:

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

EMDR has been shown in studies to combat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is a common disorder found in those facing addiction. Many people who have struggled with addictions also have a history of trauma and abuse, which can make EMDR an even more effective option.

EMDR treatment includes desensitization of past traumatic events and the changing of associations for current emotional triggers. The desensitizing process takes the form of talk therapy along with a series of therapist-led eye movements. After the completion of eight phases, patients typically report significant improvement in their thought processing and subsequent behaviors.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Negative thought patterns are commonplace in those struggling with addiction, which is why CBT is a prime treatment option. This type of therapy is shown to be effective in treating addiction, eating disorders and depression.

CBT is conversationally based with a therapist or in a group setting. In conjunction with a therapist, the client will explore his or her thought processes, identify destructive behaviors and then gradually work to create healthier strategies for living. This requires therapy session work, but the patient must also commit to following new strategies in day-to-day life outside of the therapist’s office.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

DBT was created to combat suicidal thoughts. The method has since been found to effectively treat borderline personality disorder and other serious psychological disorders. Suicidal patients are notoriously difficult to treat due to their passive, often defensive, behaviors in therapy.

The DBT model includes group therapies, activities based on the above-mentioned CBT practices, but it also offers immediate phone consultations with therapists. Patients keep their therapist on speed dial, calling them as situations are unfolding in their lives. This is a useful tool for those struggling with addiction when a patient is tempted to fall back into old habits.

The therapy addresses issues in order of their impact on the client’s life, according to American Addiction Centers. Issues involving suicidal tendencies are first priority, followed by therapist-guided activities to reach personal goals.

Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET)

So far, this type of behavioral therapy has been successful in treating alcohol, marijuana and nicotine addictions. MET is based on CBT methodology, but typically moves at a faster pace.

Traditional CBT therapy is a slower, step-by-step process, whereas MET can incite internally motivated change within the first two sessions. With regular sessions, the therapist monitors change and helps the patient set incremental goals in his or her life.

Effective Therapies Used in Conjunction with Evidence-Based Practices

In addition to behavioral therapies, many patients credit supportive therapies as being helpful during and after rehab participation. When used in combination with behavioral therapies, these supportive therapies create well-rounded and enjoyable treatment plans.

Learn about various supplemental therapies by browsing through the items below:

Wilderness Adventure Therapy (WAT)

You don’t need a national park near you utilize this method! WAT can be experienced in rural or urban settings. The idea is just to get patients outside, moving and learning new skills. This is a very active form of therapy, intended to engage all of the senses.

Acupuncture Therapy for Addiction

Eastern medicine has found a way into all aspects of the West, including addiction treatment. Those who have undergone acupuncture therapy have reported physical and emotional pain relief, as well as help with withdrawal symptoms.

No one knows exactly how this method works, but thousands of years’ worth of success makes it a viable option. And don’t worry: Clients say it doesn’t hurt.

Equine-Assisted Therapy

Equine-assisted therapy is exactly what it sounds like. It allows patients to interact with horses on a regular basis, build trust with them and then be rewarded with a nonjudgmental equine friend. It is a wonderful learning experience with the potential to become a full-time hobby or possible career.

Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT)

This method is based on Gary Craig’s EFT Handbook (1993), employing alternative medicine practices that don’t require patients to leave their homes. The practice involves verbalizing a personal affirmation statement while tapping one’s finger in a specific pattern over the body.

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease featured a 2016 study that showed significant decreases in anxiety after patients performed this ritual.

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)

MBCT is a system that includes group meditation and breathing exercises led by a therapist trained in the technique. It has been shown to reduce depression, anxiety and also help with some physical conditions. In addition to meditative practices, the therapist guides patients through techniques to improve positive thinking.

Art Therapy for Addiction

This type of therapy is a wonderful option for both creative and noncreative people. Painting, drawing, sculpting and dancing are just some of the activities that qualify as art therapy.

The idea behind this method is not to create a masterpiece, but to express feelings. This is a group-based therapy, but the method offers a popular nonverbal opportunity to express emotions that may not come easily through the spoken word.

Biofeedback/Neurofeedback for Addiction

Science fiction always finds its way into real life. This method involves sensors placed on a patient’s body. The sensors then track bodily functions such as:

  • Breathing
  • Heart rate
  • Temperature
  • Blood pressure
  • Sweating
  • Muscle contractions

The therapist then sets the patient up to hear pulsing sounds, images or a series of light patterns that follow heart rate. Ultimately, the combination helps the patient visualize his or her stress level and create effective relaxation methods.

Psychodrama Therapy in Addiction Treatment

This is an opportunity for patients to become actors, but also express a lifetime of pent-up emotions. Psychodrama is simply acting out details or emotions about one’s past.

The therapist will set the scene and encourage patients to act out the emotions involved. Psychodrama can feature just the patient and therapist present, but it can also be effective in a group setting.

The Best Therapies for Treating Addiction Depend on the Person

All of these therapies have proved to be successful to varying degrees, but it is important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all model for therapy or addiction recovery. The best therapies for addiction treatment are the ones in which individual patients show the most noticeable progress.

It may take some shopping around to find the right type of therapy or combination of therapies that work best. Without a doubt, there is a program out there for every person struggling with addiction.

What experiences have you had with these therapy types? What other options are available that we may have missed? Comment below or in our forum, and then explore the different levels of care available in addiction treatment centers by clicking below.

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