Behavioral therapy is used in treating drug addiction. It is a goal-orientated treatment process that focuses on the client’s life. This type of substance abuse treatment examines behaviors that are unhealthy and undesirable. Drug treatment therapy helps to identify situations that will prevent relapses.
For issues with alcohol and drug use, this behavior will continue because the substance creates a feeling of extreme pleasure and calm. These feelings reinforce a person to continue with their drug or alcohol use. The person will see more benefit than consequences of substance use. A behavioral therapist will address this type of unwanted behavior.
There is one specific type of behavior therapy known as contingency management. This is helpful in the treatment of marijuana, nicotine, alcohol, and opioid abuse. It is a reward based treatment process. The client is given a reward for fulfilling the desired behavior such as abstaining from substance use. This reward helps to reinforce positive behavior for the client.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
gives equal importance to both feelings and thoughts. Negative thinking can lead to unwanted behavior. In the same standpoint, unwanted behavior can lead to negative thoughts. CBT shows that behaviors, thoughts, and feelings are all interconnected. A behavioral therapist will try to understand the client’s thoughts and feelings that have led to substance abuse. The therapist will also try to find the cognitive patterns that caused this behavior. A client’s flawed cognitive thoughts can create behavior that seems rational at the time. The “all or nothing” approach to life often causes the problem. A client believes if their life isn’t perfect, it must be falling apart. Negative thoughts and emotions will then be covered up by drug or alcohol use.
Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)
is similar to CBT. They were both formed around the same time. In most cases, the therapist who focuses on CBT will use some practices of REBT. This therapy also focuses on the thoughts of the client. The treatment puts more emphasis on the individual’s life views instead of thoughts. REBT believes it is these unrealistic views that cause psychological problems for the client. It is not the client’s situation that causes the issue, but it is the belief of the situation. For substance abuse, the belief that drugs or alcohol would resolve an issue is what leads to use. The therapist works to identify the faulty beliefs and replaces them with more logical views.
CBT has influenced another therapeutic style known as:
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
This type of treatment is more geared for those with personality disorders or self-harming behavior. It has also been helpful in treating post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety. A combination of stressful environments and emotional issues can create mental health and substance abuse problems. Clients receive more encouragement and acceptance that can help them seek beneficial solutions. This type of treatment works best in group sessions. The therapist will lead the group through four life skill lessons. These group therapy classes focus on mindfulness, distress tolerance, interpersonal relationships, and emotional balance.
Person-centered therapy believes that everyone has good in them and wants to change for the better. This style of therapy assumes that a client can solve their own issues in a positive and supporting environment. The therapist takes a more passive role in the process. It is up to the client to complete the steps for more positive behavior. Motivational interviewing was developed to treat addiction. This type of therapy allows the client to find their own desire to make better life choices than forcing them into it. The client has full autonomy. The therapist will try to build a desire for the client to change their behavior.
There are various types of therapies to treat drug and alcohol abuse. Each situation is unique and there is “no size fits all” for substance abuse treatment. Behavioral therapies mainly focus on changing the thoughts and emotions behind substance abuse. Whether it is on an individual or group level, these behaviors can be modified to create more positive and healthier thoughts. Once that happens, the client can stop relying on drugs and alcohol for a release from negative thoughts and actions. Behavioral therapy is continuously changing to create more effective approaches to help with the problems of substance addiction.