Methods of Therapy in Addiction Treatment
by. Cassidy Webb
For those who are struggling with alcohol or drug addiction, getting sober on their own can prove to be extremely difficult and sometimes impossible. Although there is much aftercare required to maintain long term sobriety, the benefits from obtaining drug or alcohol treatment in a rehabilitation facility can increase the chances of a person staying sober.
The disease of addiction can be extremely isolating. Participation in group therapy gives people an opportunity to participate in treatment with others who are trying to get sober as well. It can be beneficial for individuals in treatment to see that they are not alone and that other people struggle with the same things that they do. This gives clients an opportunity to build relationships with other people and learn how to accept emotional support from their peers because it can be extremely difficult to recover from addiction alone. The main goal of group therapy is to allow participants to utilize the experiences of one another to grow, heal, and recover together.
Trauma Informed therapy
Trauma informed care consists of five principles: safety, trustworthiness, peer support, empowerment and nondiscrimination. Therapists should first make the individual feel safe. Many people who suffer from trauma have developed a certain degree of PTSD and may not feel comfortable talking about the things that have happened to them. Once a client feels safe, they can become transparent about their lives and build a trusting relationship with their therapist, where they can safely and honestly discuss the traumatic event. Peer support can then be beneficial through group therapy, allowing each client to recognize that other people know exactly how they feel. Once an individual has been able to openly speak about his or her trauma, the therapist and peers can build on each individuals strengths to empower the client, impressing upon them the fact that his or her voice does matter. This goes hand in hand with nondiscrimination, meaning that no defining factor such as sexual preference, age, religion, or anything else makes their trauma any less significant than another person's trauma. Many people who have experienced trauma cope with their emotions through drugs and alcohol, so trauma therapy can help begin the healing process in drug addiction and alcoholism.
Drug and alcohol abuse can be physically and mentally exhausting. A person's mind and body can be negatively affected by persistent use of these substances. Different forms of holistic therapy can help to heal both the mind and the body simultaneously. Some of these benefits include improved health, heightened self-awareness, and spirituality.
Yoga has been a widely accepted holistic treatment throughout the world. The concept of holding challenging poses while focusing on ones breathing helps ground and center an individual's thoughts. It is common in early recovery for a person to struggle with obsessive thoughts and anxiety. Through yoga and mindfulness, one can slow these thoughts and learn how to relax their mind and body. The benefits of yoga are endless. Many yoga sessions end with a guided meditation, which can further help one practice mindfulness and relaxation techniques. Music and art therapy is also a great way for individuals in recovery to express their emotions without using words. It may be difficult for a person to immediately talk about things in therapy, so art therapy can provide an alternate method of expressing emotions.
Dual Diagnosis Therapy
Approximately 45% of people who struggle with addiction are also diagnosed with a mental health disorder. A few common co-occurring disorders include alcoholism and antisocial personality disorder, opioid use disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and meth addiction and depression. Treatment of dual-diagnosis clients usually involves a medical detox so that one can safely be detoxed from mood or mind altering substances, an evaluation and diagnosis where they are prescribed the proper medication to treat their co-occuring disorder, and the development of a treatment plan. These treatment plans usually involve individual therapy, group therapy, family therapy, and an aftercare plan that outlines further care for an individual once they have completed their suggested course of treatment. Through dual-diagnosis therapy, an individual is given insight on their co-occurring disorders and appropriate methods of coping with addiction and mental health.
Recovery from drugs and alcohol doesn’t end with the completion of addiction treatment. It is an ongoing process. Treatment and therapy can provide individuals with the tools needed for success in maintaining long term sobriety, but it is important that the individual applies these tools in their everyday lives. A person in recovery should be equipped with emotional coping skills and a sober support system upon discharge from a treatment facility. Emotional coping methods such as deep breathing, meditation, and grounding techniques will help the individual cope with everyday stressors and life events. A sober support system should be a group of other sober individuals who hold each other accountable and provide emotional support when it is needed. Combining the healing that takes place in therapy with an appropriate aftercare plan is essential in maintaining a life of sobriety from mood and mind altering substances.
Cassidy Webb is a 24 year old avid writer from South Florida. She works for a digital marketing company that advocates spreading awareness on the disease of addiction. Her passion in life is to help others by sharing her experience, strength, and hope.