Can addiction be treated successfully?
Yes. Addiction is a treatable disease. Research in the science of addiction and the treatment of substance use disorders has led to the development of evidence-based interventions that help people stop abusing drugs and resume productive lives.
Relapse Prevention Treatment
Relapse Prevention is a cognitive-behavioral therapy. Cognitive-behavioral strategies are based on the theory that learning processes play a critical role in the development of maladaptive behavioral patterns. Individuals learn to identify and correct problematic behaviors. Relapse prevention encompasses several cognitive-behavioral strategies that facilitate abstinence as well as provide help for people who experience a relapse.
The relapse prevention approach to the treatment of cocaine addiction consists of a collection of strategies intended to enhance self-control. Specific techniques include exploring the positive and negative consequences of continued use. And self-monitoring to recognize drug cravings early on and to identify high-risk situations for use. Developing strategies for coping with and avoiding high-risk situations and the desire to use. A central element of this treatment is anticipating the problems patients are likely to meet. And helping them develop effective coping strategies.
Research indicates that the skills individuals learn through relapse prevention therapy remain after the completion of treatment. In one study, most people receiving this cognitive-behavioral approach maintained the gains they made in treatment throughout the year following treatment.
Individualized Drug Counseling
Individualized Drug Counseling focuses directly on reducing or stopping the addict’s illicit drug use. It also addresses related areas of impaired functioning such as employment status, illegal activity, family/social relationsÑas well as the content and structure of the patient’s recovery program. Through its emphasis on short-term behavioral goals, individualized drug counseling helps the patient develop coping strategies and tools for abstaining from drug use and then maintaining abstinence. The addiction counselor encourages 12-step participation and makes referrals for needed supplemental medical, psychiatric, employment, and other services. We encourage individuals to attend sessions one or two times per week.
In a study that compared opiate addicts receiving only methadone to those receiving methadone coupled with counseling, individuals who received only methadone showed minimal improvement in reducing opiate use. The addition of counseling produced significantly more improvement. The addition of onsite medical/psychiatric, employment, and family services further improved outcomes.
In another study with cocaine addicts, individualized drug counseling, together with group drug counseling, was quite effective in reducing cocaine use. Thus, it appears that this approach has great utility with both heroin and cocaine addicts in outpatient treatment.
Supportive-Expressive Psychotherapy is a time-limited, focused psychotherapy.
The therapy has two main components:
- Supportive techniques to help patients feel comfortable in discussing their personal experiences.
- Expressive techniques to help patients identify and work through interpersonal relationship issues.
Special attention is paid to the role of drugs in relation to problem feelings and behaviors, and how problems may be solved without recourse to drugs.
The efficacy of individual supportive-expressive psychotherapy has been tested with patients in methadone maintenance treatment who had psychiatric problems. In a comparison with patients receiving only drug counseling, both groups fared similarly with regard to opiate use. But, the supportive-expressive psychotherapy group had lower cocaine use and required less methadone. Also, the patients who received supportive-expressive psychotherapy maintained many of the gains they had made. In an earlier study, supportive-expressive psychotherapy, when added to drug counseling, improved outcomes for opiate addicts in methadone treatment with moderately severe psychiatric problems.
Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET)
Motivational Enhancement Therapy is a client-centered counseling approach for initiating behavior change by helping clients to resolve ambivalence about engaging in treatment and stopping drug use. Because, this approach employs strategies to evoke rapid and internally motivated change in the client. This therapy consists of an initial assessment battery session, followed by two to four individual treatment sessions with a therapist. The first treatment session focuses on providing feedback generated from the initial assessment battery. this is to stimulate discussion regarding personal substance use and to elicit self-motivational statements.
In subsequent sessions, the therapist monitors change and reviews cessation strategies being used. Then, continues to encourage commitment to change or sustained abstinence. This approach has been used successfully with alcoholics and with marijuana-dependent individuals. Although MET may be used as a stand-alone treatment, it is more often employed in conjunction with other forms of therapy.
D’Amore Healthcare is a dual diagnosis, substance abuse addiction treatment center in Orange County, CA. We provide information and treatment for people dealing with the life-shattering cycle of substance abuse and addiction. If someone needs immediate help, call 24-hours a day at 714.375.1110 or contact us online.
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