Traditional Treatment Modalities
Research-based traditional therapies are defined as therapies that have been shown through research to be effective for treating addiction. Often called “talk” therapy, these treatment modalities include:
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps individuals identify the self-destructive thought and behavior patterns that often come with addiction. CBT therapy also teaches healthier ways of thinking and behaving.
Motivational Interviewing (MI)
Not everyone who enters treatment feels ready for change. Motivational interviewing is a positive, collaborative therapeutic intervention that helps individuals find their own reasons for wanting to quit using. It directs clients to a mindset where they’re ready to commit to changes that will improve their ability to live according to their values.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
Dialectical behavioral therapy helps individuals learn to regulate their emotions. Heavy, intense emotions can lead to self-destructive behaviors. Developing a tolerance for distress and learning to fully experience emotions and control the resulting reactions can help reduce reliance on drugs or alcohol to suppress or control emotions.
A history of trauma is a common underlying cause of addiction. Trauma-informed treatment modalities are designed to help trauma survivors achieve feelings of safety from trauma. Seeking Safety is a therapy that focuses on the present. This therapy helps individuals develop coping techniques and skills for handling the range of emotions and behaviors that result from trauma.
According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, addiction is a family disease that affects all aspects of family functioning. Family members develop unhealthy coping skills as they experience the stress and chaos that comes from living with an someone struggling with an addiction. Family therapy helps to restore function to the family system and repair damaged relationships. Family members learn how to best support their loved one in recovery, and the addicted individual learns how the addiction affects family members and the family as a unit.
Complementary Treatment Modalities
Complementary therapies are those that have been shown through research to be effective for treating addiction when used along with traditional treatment therapies. Complementary therapies are an integral part of a high quality, holistic treatment program. Commonly used complementary therapies used in addiction treatment include:
Art or Music Therapy
Art and music therapy help individuals work through difficult emotions, express and synthesize their experiences and develop a higher level of self-awareness. They promote the use of creativity, which can help with emotional regulation, stress relief and healthy self-expression.
Massage or Acupuncture
Both massage and acupuncture help improve body awareness and promote optimal physical functioning. They help relieve stress, improve immune system function and increase feelings of physical and mental well-being.
Spending time in nature has distinctive therapeutic benefits, including stress relief, greater self-awareness, improved problem-solving skills and better communication skills. Nature therapy can include horticultural therapy, which involves working with plants, or adventure therapy, which involves outdoor adventures like hiking, climbing or camping.
Mindfulness, or living in the present moment, is central to successful recovery. Mindfulness meditation improves the practice of staying mindful of emotions, bodily sensations and states of mind throughout the day. It also reduces stress, promotes self-care and improves self-awareness.
Through a variety of treatment modalities that are chosen based on an individual’s unique needs, issues and preferences, a high-quality treatment program will take a comprehensive approach to treatment that helps improve all areas of an individual’s life. Treatment therapies help people resolve issues, develop essential coping skills, and find purpose and meaning in a life of sobriety. Treatment works, and it can work for you or someone you love.