A Guide to Different Types of Therapy

A Guide to Different Types of Therapy

Yoga can help an individual cope with stress and experience positive changes

By utilizing multiple forms of therapy, drug addiction treatment can help people change their lives and leave compulsive substance abuse behind for good. Three therapy methods that are common in the treatment of addiction include psychotherapy, drug therapy and alternative therapy.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the most effective forms of addiction treatment combine psychotherapy and drug therapy. The use of alternative therapy in addiction treatment is a relatively new concept compared to the more traditional combination of counseling and medication. Alternative therapy has not been as thoroughly researched as these older methods, but even so, alternative therapy has proven effective for many patients. Alternative therapy can prevent relapse by promoting overall wellness and relieving stress and anxiety.

Psychotherapy Empowers Patients for Positive Change

Even after detox when the individual is no longer physically addicted to her substance of choice, she is still at a high risk for relapse due to emotional and psychological factors. According to WebMD, these psychological factors can create “ongoing, nearly irresistible urges to use drugs.” Stress, trauma, environmental cues and negative relationships are all factors that can lead to relapse.

Psychotherapy is essential during the vulnerable time after detox because it can help individuals understand and manage their emotions. Participating in psychotherapy also helps rehab patients gain an understanding of their condition and equips them with the tools they need to change their behavior in positive ways. Furthermore, psychotherapy can help individuals manage their mental illness if mental illness is an issue. Psychotherapy can be done either one-on-one with a counselor or in a group counseling session. In the treatment of addiction, group therapy is often encouraged. However, individual therapy can be valuable as well.

Drug Therapy Helps With Withdrawal and Mental Illness

Drug therapy simply refers to the use of medication in the treatment of illness. In the case of addiction, drugs can be used to treat unpleasant withdrawal symptoms that occur during the beginning of recovery. According to NIDA, drugs such as buprenorphine or naltrexone may be given to patients with opioid addiction. These drugs help ease physical drug cravings.

Mental health conditions and addiction problems are often closely related. Individuals who suffer from mental health disorders in addition to substance abuse can receive the most effective treatment in a program that addresses both issues. These types of programs are referred to as integrated treatment. For many of these individuals, drug therapy is essential for their mental health. These individuals may take prescription medications such as mood stabilizers, antidepressants and antianxiety medications.

Alternative Therapy Relieves Stress and Anxiety

Alternative therapies, also known as holistic therapies, are capable of relieving stress and anxiety, which can help a recovering individual avoid relapse. Stress and anxiety common triggers for drug use, and if an individual can experience a peaceful inner life due to practicing meditation yoga or other holistic therapies, then these therapies can become an important tool within the course of addiction treatment. Several holistic therapies that are commonly used in addiction treatment are described below.

  • Meditation – According to Healthline, meditation is a healthy stress management technique that can replace addiction. Meditation usually involves spending quiet moments focusing on positive thoughts or mantras. Some forms of meditation involve breathing techniques that help clear the mind and promote overall wellness.
  • Equine therapy – By working with horses on a daily basis, an individual can experience personal growth. Horses require a lot of care, and providing for horses can help a person develop a strong sense of responsibility. Patients learn from equine therapy by viewing their experience with horses as a metaphor for how they are rebuilding their life after addiction. Furthermore, equine therapy provides an enjoyable and beneficial activity that can fill long hours of addiction recovery. Many rehab patients develop a lifelong love of horses.
  • Yoga – Yoga is a discipline that combines breath control, meditation and physical poses. Practicing yoga can help a person develop bodily awareness and self-compassion according to Yoga Abode. These traits can help an individual cope with stress and experience positive changes that can help him leave behind self-harming behaviors such as addiction.
  • Acupuncture – Rehab patients may use acupuncture to relieve physical pain, to help with withdrawal symptoms, to soothe emotional pain or simply to help themselves relax. Acupuncture is the practice of inserting needles to fixed points on the body in order to help other areas of the body. Many research studies demonstrate the value of acupuncture in addiction treatment. The Fix notes a 2006 study by Dr. Elizabeth Stuyt that concluded that patients who receive acupuncture are more likely to complete their addiction treatment programs. Furthermore, acupuncture reduced insomnia and helped patients manage their anger and aggression.

There are many types of alternative therapies that can be used to supplement addiction treatment. However, other forms of therapy, such as medical care and psychotherapy, are also essential in order to create a well-rounded treatment program that helps patients achieve long-term recovery.

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