Happy family


What Types of Therapies Are Used to Treat Addiction?

addiction therapy in connecticut

Drug addiction, formally called a substance use disorder, is a chronic and complex disease. It is characterized by compulsive drug use and drug-seeking behaviors, which leave a lasting effect on an individual’s body and brain. Not every addiction is the same. Each person has distinct experiences with drugs and alcohol, both in their use and their recovery. Each person has different reasons and triggers for using. For this reason, each individual requires a distinct treatment plan.

Treatment for substance addiction is typically composed of various, evidence-based therapies. Clinicians will work together to determine which addiction therapies are going to be most effective in meeting each person’s individual needs. These needs will be defined by the individual’s symptoms, triggers, as well as the effect that addiction has had on their life. For example, addiction can affect a person’s mental health, ability to socialize, and capacity to control impulses or make rational decisions. 

Some programs will have their own philosophies and approaches to addiction treatment, but in general, you can expect that a combination of modalities will be offered throughout the recovery process. These may be offered in group sessions or individual sessions. They may teach skills for recovery and sober living, or help users get to the root of their drug problem. Often, addiction therapies are inspired by an individual’s experiences in recovery.

When researching treatment programs, it is important to ask the prospective program about their view of (and approach to) treating addiction. Which addiction therapies do they offer and believe in? What is their perspective on addiction as a disease? Do they offer medication-assisted treatment, holistic addiction therapies, or evidence-based therapies for addiction? Be sure that the program’s philosophy and offerings align with your own personal values and requirements.

To help you understand the different modalities out there, we’ve compiled a guide of the common types of therapies used to treat addiction below.

Behavioral Addiction Therapies

Behavioral therapy is the most commonly used form of addiction treatment, according to government sources. Behavioral therapies for addiction are designed to help users modify their attitudes and behaviors related to drug abuse. These therapies also help to teach individuals healthy life skills, overcome the causes of their addiction, and persist with other forms of treatment. Behavioral therapies are often found in inpatient/long-term treatment centers and dual diagnosis treatment facilities.

There are several, specific modalities under the branch of behavioral therapy, which include:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT is a type of treatment used to help drug users recognize and change their negative behaviors, and further prevent relapse. This involves figuring out what triggers the person to use drugs, and showing them positive ways to cope with cravings, temptations, and stressors. 
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT): DBT is a type of addiction therapy designed to help clients reduce cravings, avoid actions or situations that lead to substance use, and learn healthy coping mechanisms.
  • Motivational Interviewing: Motivational interviewing is used to help people in recovery develop a motivation to change their problematic behaviors and course of life.
  • Contingency Management (CM): CM therapies are used to encourage or positively reinforce sobriety. Individuals in recovery are given rewards as motivation for desirable behaviors, like maintaining abstinence. 
  • 12-Step Facilitation: The 12-step facilitation model is designed to promote abstinence by engaging people in support groups and meetings throughout the recovery process. In 12-step meetings, people can connect with others in recovery and develop a sober network.

Medication-Assisted Therapy

Medication-assisted treatment is often offered at the beginning of a rehab or treatment plan. Also called detoxification, this type of treatment helps users manage difficult withdrawal symptoms during the early stages of abstinence, thereby preventing relapse. Sometimes, medication-assisted treatment is used to treat co-occurring disorders (like anxiety), as well.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that medications can be an important part of drug treatment, especially in combination with behavioral therapies. However, they explain that “detoxification alone does not address the psychological, social, and behavioral problems associated with addiction and therefore does not typically produce lasting behavioral changes necessary for recovery.” For this reason, medication-assisted treatment is recommended only if it is going to be followed by longer-term addiction treatment, in which other therapies are enacted.

Group Counseling

Group therapy is another approach that is used across different drug treatment centers. Whereas many therapies are individualized, involving one-on-one sessions with a counselor and patient, group therapy brings together a group of people in one session. It encourages a peer discussion among a number of people in recovery, allowing them to share experiences, relate to one another, and build connections. The power of a group can reinforce socialization and promote a stronger desire to live drug-free.

Trauma-Informed Therapy

Trauma is a common part of a person’s story when they enter drug treatment. In fact, people who have experienced trauma are three times more likely to abuse alcohol and four times more likely to inject drugs than the general population. The numbers are even more significant among women. For this reason, trauma-informed therapy is a common component of women’s addiction treatment.

Trauma-informed therapy essentially means that addiction treatment is approached with the effects of trauma in mind. Clinicians are trained in trauma and the impact of traumatic events on a person’s mental health. Strategies are enacted to help individuals uncover and overcome the trauma that has steered their life, and to regain trust in others. Trauma-informed therapy is typically offered in a comfortable, serene, and stable environment where clients feel more at ease.

Family-based therapy

Family therapy is typically utilized in an adolescent or young adult treatment setting, and is seen as a valuable component of any youth’s treatment plan. Simply put, family therapy means involving family members in their loved one’s recovery process. This involvement (e.g. from a parent or sibling) can strengthen and extend treatment benefits, helping clients:

  • Become more engaged in their rehab program 
  • Build and restore relationships with family members
  • Recognize the support and love they have from their family
  • Feel motivated and feel accountable to maintain their recovery

Holistic Addiction Therapies

Holistic addiction treatment is designed to treat a person in mind, body, and soul. It embraces natural, positive methods of healing. There are many holistic therapies that can be used to inspire those in recovery. For example, meditation and mindfulness have proven to help those in recovery re-gain self-control, reduce impulsive decision-making, and cope with/accept their feelings and experiences. You can learn about how Turnbridge uses mindfulness and meditation in our treatment programs here.

Other holistic therapies for addiction include:

  • Yoga and exercise
  • Nature or wilderness therapy
  • Art therapy
  • Music therapy

At Turnbridge, we utilize a range of behavioral and holistic addiction therapies. Our clients come from many walks of life, and have different experiences and struggles. Many of our clients are battling drug addiction as well as mental health disorders, eating disorders, or burdens of trauma. For this reason, we offer many types of therapy to meet their individual needs. This includes a range of evidence-based modalities like CBT and 12-step facilitation, combined with empowering exercises like yoga, meditation, hiking, music, and more. Turnbridge is an inpatient, long-term treatment program for youth. We are here to help users not only overcome drug addiction, but to develop a healthy life beyond it.To learn about the addiction therapy programs at Turnbridge, please do not hesitate to call 877-581-1793 today. You may also learn more about our programs for young men and young women online.