Addiction can be a very isolating illness that sees people withdraw into a world those close to them can’t reach. Overcoming substance abuse in an alcohol or drug addiction treatment center is an enormous challenge but that is also why it is considered a major accomplishment not only by those achieving recovery but also their loved ones.
When a person’s life has become dominated by substance use, they may lose the art of “normal” communication. Where before they may have enjoyed close – and transparent – relationships with friends and family, addiction drives individuals to become secretive and often combative when challenged, which can drive a further wedge between them and the people seeking to help them.
Ultimately, it is not only the person with an addiction who needs healing but also those whose lives have also been impacted. Partners, children, and parents of addicts each have their own struggle to deal with, although their scars may not be as obvious as those of the person abusing substances.
The Importance of Communication in Drug and Alcohol Abuse Treatment
Therapy and counseling is an invaluable component of drug or alcohol abuse treatment for individuals dealing with substance abuse and often represents their first opportunity to unburden themselves of what they’re feeling. Therapy also provides an impartial and non-judgmental platform that brings families together that have been torn apart by addictive behaviors.
However, there are different types of counseling available in rehab and here we take a look at what’s on offer:
Individual & Group Therapy
Often the first step of a rehabilitation program is assessment and evaluation. Aside from the medical checks such as blood pressure, heart rate, etc., therapists use discussion techniques to help patients identify the root causes of substance abuse. Due to the fact that addiction illness is characterized by an involuntary “need” or compulsion to use substances, many people are unable to identify where it stemmed from. Individual therapy is invaluable in enabling patients to unravel their illness and set it within the context of how it has affected their lives.
Group counseling is equally beneficial in a rehab setting as it introduces patients to others working to overcome their illness. Participants are able to detail and share their experiences, offering motivation and support to fellow rehab patients and forming relationships that often last a lifetime. Group therapy offers a slightly more challenging environment than one-to-one sessions because of this interaction with other patients. However, this is one of the unique benefits of group therapy that make it an important component of programs at drug and alcohol treatment centers.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT is an evidence-based therapy that is designed to teach patients how to recognize the moods, thought processes and circumstances that stimulate drug or alcohol cravings. A CBT therapist will assist patients in avoiding these triggers for substance abuse by altering these negative thoughts and feelings with healthier attitudes and actions more consistent with sobriety. The skills learned in CBT sessions often last a lifetime, which is why it is commonly viewed as a powerful method by drug abuse or alcoholism treatment centers.
Contingency Management Therapy
Contingency management therapy is designed to help patients maintain sobriety by providing positive incentives and setting goals. Each individual in rehab is motivated by something personal to them. Therapists can work with patients to set goals that resonate with the individual, making it more likely they achieve them. Vouchers for goods and services or privileges in a residential rehab center are among the most commonly used incentives in contingency management therapy.
The traditional approach to addiction therapy used to involve confrontation whereas now, the approach is designed to help patients understand their illness. Now that we recognize addiction is not a lifestyle choice, the modern approach seeks to tap into a person’s natural motivation for change. Motivational interviewing sets out to identify the factors that drive a person’s reasons for remaining sober. For some, family or careers are the aspects of their life they are most motivated to change for, whereas others may have quite different reasons. Motivational interviewing uses a case-by-case approach that delivers personalized therapy for the individual concerned.
Couples and Family Therapy
As mentioned above, the damage done by addiction is usually wider than just one individual. That person is invariably involved in family or close personal relationships who are very likely to have been caught in the crossfire of addictive behavior. Research shows that people are more likely to maintain sobriety if they have the full support of loved ones, which is why couples and family therapy is an important component in rehabilitation. Various counseling methods are used to bring about discussion and open communication between all parties so that a path to recovery can be identified and executed.
Once a person has completed a rehab program, they still have some work to do. Returning home after staying at a residential drug and alcohol treatment center can be daunting for some people as they will have to rely on themselves to maintain sobriety. That said, the majority of rehab centers offer some form of maintenance therapy to counsel recovering addicts in the early days after rehab and support them in a personal maintenance strategy. Maintenance therapy is particularly useful in addiction treatment as the illness is considered to be a relapsing disorder requiring continual efforts to maintain sobriety.
Effective Addiction Treatment Should Meet the Needs of the Individual
Due to the fact that addiction is an intensely personal illness, each individual has their own unique set of experiences. Depending on the substance abused, individuals can also display symptoms of other physical, emotional or mental disorders which also need to be addressed as part of a rehabilitation program. Ultimately, it is important that counseling and therapy sessions as part of rehab have a strong resonance with individuals in drug abuse or alcoholism treatment centers for a program to be effective. When seeking a drug abuse or alcoholism treatment program, it is always advisable to take a look at the range of therapies offered so as to find the most appropriate route to healing for the person concerned.