For addiction treatment to be successful, the person must want to quit and must figure out why they abuse drugs or alcohol in the first place. Psychotherapy can help in this process.
By, Hedy Marks MPH
Addiction can take many forms — one person may be addicted to alcohol, another to gambling, and a third to prescription painkillers. While the substance or behavior may vary from person to person, addiction treatment often follows a similar course, requiring social support, lifestyle modifications, and psychotherapy.
The ultimate goal of addiction treatment is to help the person achieve lasting abstinence. The short-term goals are to reduce the addictive behavior, minimize complications of drug addiction, and improve the person’s ability to function in society, free of whatever they were addicted to.
Addiction Treatment: Psychotherapy
Also called talk therapy, therapy, counseling, and psychosocial therapy, psychotherapy is an important aspect of any addiction treatment program, including drug addiction and can help a person learn to control their addictive behavior. While there are many different kinds of psychotherapy, this form of treatment generally involves discussions, either one-on-one between a trained therapist and the patient or in a group led by a therapist.
In therapy, patients discuss the reasons for their addiction and learn problem-solving skills, ways to resist the object of their addiction, and how to replace unconstructive behavior, such as drug use, with rewarding, nondestructive activities. Some forms of psychotherapy also address relationship issues involving the patient and his or her family members and help the patient to function better in society as a whole.
Addiction Treatment: Benefits of Psychotherapy
Psychotherapy can benefit people recovering from addiction in many ways, including:
- Helping the addict to better understand the reason for his or her addiction and the consequences of her actions
- Teaching self-control and coping techniques that can be used in challenging situations
- Helping the person to recognize cravings and learn ways to avoid relapse
- Providing an opportunity for the person and the therapist to discuss relationships and situations that may hinder recovery
- Setting and reaching realistic goals
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