Addiction is a disease, and there is no quick fix for recovery. True, lasting recovery might start with a detox, but it takes much more to maintain sobriety for a lifetime. Addiction therapy comes in many varieties and each plays an important role for patients in recovery. Explore the benefits of addiction therapy and the necessity of rehab treatment.
Therapy Addresses the Causes of an Addiction
Addiction doesn’t develop without help from many different angles. It is often a combination of factors and sometimes it is impossible to determine the exact cause. However, addiction therapy can dive deeper into a patient’s past and explore some of the factors that might have led to addiction.
For instance, many individuals are surprised to learn that there is a genetic component to addiction. In therapy, patients might start to see a pattern. It is common for addiction to run in families and many people struggling with addiction have a parent or sibling with similar issues.
Patients might also explore past trauma. It is very common for those struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction to have experienced some form of trauma. Therapy can help identify and recognize some of the causes of addiction. In doing so, patients may feel unburdened, since it becomes clear that addiction is never a choice and always a result of cultural, genetic and societal factors.
Therapy Can Resolve Past Issues
Issues from the past can have a direct impact on a person’s mental health and stability. This, in turn, can make it difficult to recover from an addiction. In addiction therapy, patients and therapists can work to resolve past issues that might otherwise inhibit recovery.
Sometimes, these issues are related to trauma. In other cases, they might stem from neglect in childhood, an eating disorder or low self-esteem. Through extensive talk therapy, patients can start overcoming these issues and creating some form of resolution. This is critical because if the issues reappear it could lead to relapse.
Group Therapy Strengthens Social Ties and Communication Skills
A lot of addiction therapy is one-on-one. However, most patients in any kind of inpatient or outpatient rehab can expect to also participate in group therapy. These group sessions are a wonderful opportunity to learn more about addiction, feel less isolated, and practice communication skills.
Addiction is isolating, and many people struggling with addiction feel like no one understands them. In recovery, it becomes clear that many other people have the same struggles and issues. Group therapy can be an opportunity to share past experiences, offer advice or commiserate with those with whom you have a lot in common.
Group therapy also strengthens peer relationships. Some patients don’t feel comfortable or relaxed when communicating with a therapist but it becomes natural and easy with a peer who is also in therapy. Developing social bonds and communicating with peers is a great way to upgrade life skills and work toward a better reintroduction to society.
Family Therapy Helps Create a Strong Support System
If at all possible, family should be involved in the recovery process. Family therapy is an effective way of building a support system that can last for a lifetime of recovery.
In family therapy, one of the main topics is addiction education. It is beneficial for family members to learn more about what addiction is, what can trigger relapse and why certain people develop addiction while others do not.
Family members can also benefit from learning about relapse prevention. Discussing the difference between helping and enabling is crucial. Perhaps most importantly, family members can learn about how to be involved and support their loved ones. Rebuilding family relationships can go a long way to improving the lives of families that were damaged by addiction.
Addiction Therapy Can be Instrumental in Preventing Relapse
Arguably the biggest threat to a person in addiction recovery is relapsing. One out of every two people that goes through some form of detox or treatment will eventually relapse. Extensive addiction therapy could be the difference between relapse and a lifetime of sobriety.
Addiction therapy is so helpful for relapse prevention because it addresses triggers and identifies custom coping mechanisms. For instance, many relapses happen because patients can’t recognize HALT, an acronym that stands for hungry, angry, tired and lonely. Patients can develop their own coping mechanisms and learn how to stand strong in the face of cravings and temptations, thereby preventing a relapse.
Holistic Therapy Contributes to Better Overall Health and Happiness
Talk therapy is a major part of addiction treatment, but there are also a number of holistic therapies that can be helpful. After all, addiction is not an exclusively physical disease. True recovery involves an increase in overall mental, spiritual and emotional health.
Holistic treatments could include things like aromatherapy or yoga. These therapeutic activities can reduce stress and encourage relaxation. This is critical to those who are in recovery from addiction.
Even something as simple as spending time in nature can play a role in recovery. Vitamin D from the sunshine can boost mood and even light exercise can stimulate the manufacture of endorphins. Health and recovery are about more than just sobriety. It is also about feeling happy and leading a fulfilling, satisfying life.
Behavioral Therapy Can Target Mental Health
There is a strong link between mental illness and addiction. As many as half of those individuals who struggle with addiction also struggle with mental illness. That’s why addiction therapy may include behavioral techniques. Strategies like dialectical behavioral therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy can make a big difference.
Cognitive behavioral therapy can change negative thinking. After all, an all or nothing mentality can rapidly lead to relapse. Dialectical behavioral therapy can build confidence and address mental health issues. Both of these behavioral therapies can give patients the psychological tools they need in recovery.
There is no denying the importance of addiction therapy. Individual therapy, group therapy, family therapy and holistic therapy combine to create a comprehensive and effective strategy for lasting recovery.