The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has been collecting data for the last 40 years on addiction treatment. With this data, they have outlined several principles to help improve the odds of success in addiction treatment. These principles can help end substance use, lower the risk of relapse, and help individuals rebuild their lives.
Some of these principles include notions like:
- Addiction is a multifaceted issue that can be effectively treated.
- Treatment should be based on the individual rather than their drug of choice.
- Treatment can be successful even if a person is forced to go.
- Medication management is an important aspect of addiction treatment. Medication should be used to treat mental health issues and to help withdraw from certain substances.
- Counseling and behavioral therapies are highly utilized and the best treatment for substance abuse.
Many professionals agree that counseling and behavioral therapies are vital to treating substance use. With so many options for therapy, how they differ, and what is best for your individual needs can be overwhelming. The NIDA believes that no one treatment works for each individual.
There are three main types of therapy; individual, group, and family therapy. Each type of therapy has a variety of techniques that are incorporated into addiction treatment. It is important to know about different types of therapies and the techniques used when trying to find the best treatment for substance abuse.
Why Is Individual Therapy Important in Addiction Treatment?
Individual therapy is a one-on-one approach to treating substance abuse.
An individual (referred to as the client) meets with their assigned substance abuse counselor. The counselor is highly trained in addiction treatment and can include a psychologist, therapist, or psychiatrist.
Individual therapy offers many benefits, including:
- Confidentiality is at its highest in this setting.
- The client is able to build a bond with the therapist, which allows the feeling of safety to be able to open up fully.
- The substance abuse counselor can focus on and understand the client and their needs.
- The level of treatment can be more intense and comprehensive in individual therapy than in group therapy.
- The pace of therapy can be adjusted to the needs of the client. It can be sped up if the client can handle a more intense session and can be slowed down for those who need more time to work through issues.
- Individual therapy allows clients to develop self-awareness by discussing their issues and receiving feedback from the therapist.
- Depending on the treatment environment, inpatient, or outpatient, the client can schedule individual therapy around their schedule.
- Individual therapy helps clients develop healthy communication skills.
A few disadvantages of individual therapy include:
- Individual therapy is generally more expensive than group therapy.
- Some clients need to identify with other individuals with similar problems. This need can be addressed in group therapy.
- Clients in individual therapy need to be self-motivated and are at the center of attention. If the client is not committed to their recovery journey, they may struggle to be held accountable for their work toward sobriety.
One of the most significant benefits of individual therapy is the variety of techniques incorporated into therapy sessions.
Behavioral therapy is precisely that therapy to change behaviors. In behavioral therapy, the focus is on obtaining goals based on the client’s present life. The client and substance abuse counselor work together to examine unhealthy behaviors and identify the situations that trigger these behaviors.
Substance use creates a feeling of euphoria, calming the body, and eliminating pain. These feelings reinforce substance use and the behaviors that accompany addiction. Even though addiction has negative effects on an individual’s life, the benefits of the substance outweigh the risks in their eyes.
Substance abuse counselors use specific interventions to address unhealthy behaviors, including:
- Education and planning: The counselor provide education on the behaviors and consequences of substance abuse. And will help develop a plan to change unwanted behaviors.
- Assertiveness training: The client will learn to express themself honestly and respectfully.
- Relaxation training: Clients learn to find calm and peace without the use of harmful substances.
- Functional analysis: Substance abuse counselors help clients understand why they behave the way they do. By understanding what reinforces the behaviors, the client can learn to modify motivation before relapse occurs.
- Exposure: The client must be able to control themselves if exposed to their substance of choice. Practicing this skill in a controlled environment increases the likelihood that impulses to use will fade away.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) uses behavioral therapies as a base for it’s views. Still, the focus is on feelings and thoughts that are equally as important as behaviors. The idea behind CBT is that negative thinking leads to unwanted feelings and behaviors. And vice versa, negative behaviors lead to unwanted thoughts and feelings.
CBT can help treat co-occurring disorders such as:
- Bipolar Disorder
- Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Eating Disorders
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Cognitive-behavioral therapy proves that many harmful emotions and actions are not logical or rational. Many feelings and behaviors develop due to past experiences or environmental factors. When clients understand why they feel the way they do and the impact it has on behaviors, they can begin to overcome their addiction.
Group therapy is defined as a therapist treating more than one client at the same time. The size of the group can vary depending on the type of group therapy. For example, couples counseling, a form of group therapy, consists typically of two clients. While substance abuse groups may have 10 to 12 clients per session. Research on the recommended group size shows that groups between 6 and 12 are ideal. Some group meetings can be quite large, with a higher number of clients.
There are many advantages and strengths of group therapy, including:
- Group therapy reminds individuals that they are not alone, and other people have the same struggles and problems.
- Group therapy allows clients to give and receive support from other individuals in the group. Life-long bonds are built while in group therapy.
- Group therapy allows for many different points of view.
- Group therapy helps build healthy communication and socialization skills.
- Clients develop self-awareness by listening to others with similar issues.
- Sharing experiences with others is therapeutic.
- Clients who have been successful in their recovery can be examples for those struggling with recovery.
Several disadvantages include:
- The client is not the focus of attention. Group therapy may not be intense enough for some, while others who may be shy are left unhelped.
- The level of confidentiality is less secure than individual therapy.
- Group therapy may allow for some to not really get better but to ride the success of others.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is a form of cognitive-behavioral therapy. The main goals of DBT are to teach people to live in the moment, healthily cope with stress, control emotions, and improve relationships. Dialectical behavioral therapy makes three basic assumptions.
- All things are interconnected.
- Change is constant and inevitable
- Opposites can be mixed to form a closer guess of the truth.
Dialectical behavioral therapy is an evidence-based therapy approach. Clients can participate in DBT in three different therapeutic settings:
- A group setting where clients are taught behavior skills while role-playing new interactions with people.
- Individual therapy where a therapist helps clients focus on past traumas and present stressors.
- Phone coaching provides treatment intervention between therapy sessions.
Using the above treatment settings, DBT leads clients through 4 skill-building modules. These modules are based on the notion that opposing ideas can be brought together to find balance.
- Mindfulness – being aware and engaged in present situations
- Distress tolerance – accepting some level of stress without using extreme measures to resolve the situation
- Interpersonal effectiveness – ability to communicate clearly while building listening skills
- Emotional regulation – identifying issues that trigger unhealthy thoughts and feelings and using healthy coping skills to minimize the issues
Why is Family Therapy Important?
The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence states that addiction is a family disease. This is because addiction affects each member of the family. Addiction puts a family under a lot of stress, disrupts routines, and causes scary experiences.
As a result, members of the family develop unhealthy coping skills. The family unit becomes fragile and dysfunctional. As families adapt to keep some form of peace in the household, they unknowingly contribute to the addiction.
Children are the most affected by addiction. When there is an addiction problem within the household, it disrupts the healthy development of children. It can lead to physical, mental, and behavioral issues. Children often times have trouble in school and are more likely to develop a learning disability, skip school, or even be expelled. Children with parents who abuse drugs or alcohol are four times more likely to battle addiction.
Family therapy can have a positive impact on rebuilding the family unit. Educating the family on why loved ones behave in their manner is the first step to healing a broken family. When a family is involved in their loved one’s recovery journey, it increases the chances of success.
Other benefits of family therapy include:
- Keeping loved ones motivated in their recovery
- Enables family members to express their feelings and ask questions about the addiction
- Offers a high level of support during and after treatment
- Eases feelings of fear, anger, and resentment over the addiction
- The family builds healthy coping skills
- Improves communication
Additional Therapies Available at Behavioral Health Centers
Our specialized substance abuse counselors at Behavioral Health Centers in Florida are trained in the treatment of addiction and mental health disorders.
We offer a range of therapy modalities that include:
- Neuro Behavioral Therapy
- EMDR/Trauma Therapy
- Process Group Therapy
- Gender-Specific Therapies
Holistic therapies include:
- Chiropractic Therapy
- Nutritional Therapy
- Exercise/Fitness Therapy
- Massage Therapy
- Art Therapy
- Music Therapy
- Life Skills Therapy
Finding the Right Substance Abuse Counselor in Florida
Substance abuse counselors play a very significant role in the recovery process. Their involvement in the treatment process is instrumental and can make or break a client’s success. Substance abuse counselors in Florida are responsible for supporting the client through the entire treatment process. Clients work with their substance abuse counselor to create an individualized treatment plan, a relapse prevention plan, and after-care treatment.
Substance abuse counselors help clients explore the causes behind the addiction, process their feelings and behaviors, and identify triggers to create a long term life plan. Clients should feel comfortable with their substance abuse counselor to expose the deep-rooted issues that led to addiction. If the client does not feel comfortable, it could hinder their recovery journey.
An effective substance abuse counselor is a good listener and exudes compassion. The first few sessions will be spent building trust and determining if the client is comfortable enough to expose their inner demons. It is essential to be honest if there is no connection between the client and the substance abuse counselor. The counselor will not be offended and will often refer a client to another substance abuse counselor.
Addiction Therapy and Substance Abuse Counselors in Florida
Behavioral Health Centers offers state of the art comprehensive addiction treatment with some of the best substance abuse counselors in Florida. Whether you are seeking treatment for yourself or have questions about treatment for a loved one, our caring professionals are waiting to answer your call. Contact us today to start your recovery journey in sunny South Florida!
Insurance May Cover the Cost of Your Treatment
Navigating insurance coverage for substance abuse and behavioral health services can be dificult. Our goal is to ensure that you – or your loved one – receive the highest level of care with the lowest out-of-pocket cost possible. In many cases, our patients are fully covered for behavioral health services through their insurance provider!