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Other components of treatment involve psychological and social therapies that help the person being treated to understand and manage contributing factors to the addiction. This can be especially helpful for those who have a dual diagnosis, such as addiction that occurs alongside depression or anxiety. In cases of dual diagnosis, all co-occurring issues must be treated simultaneously, so it’s important to have a treatment team that understands all the factors in play. Research from the journal Psychiatric Services has shown that something as simple as the rapport experienced between a counselor and client can contribute to a higher likelihood of continued recovery after treatment. As a result, individual therapy is essential to effective addiction treatment. While most programs incorporate some forms of group therapy, specific gains are often made in individual therapy. Educating clients about the mental and emotional contributors to their addiction can help them recognize the triggers that might reignite the addictive cycle. It is also helpful to enable individuals to process the thought patterns that accompany cravings and the relationships that may encourage relapse, so they can develop coping mechanisms to help them work through, or avoid, certain thoughts or circumstances that might cause them to relapse. This can be accomplished through various forms of therapy.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a type of counseling that helps a person learn to recognize the specific situations that cause addictive behaviors to occur, so the person can then practice strategies to avoid those triggers and behaviors. A research review from The American Journal of Psychiatry cited a number of studies in which the effects of CBT were not only helpful while the therapy was in process, but was also effective, even sometimes growing more effective, after therapy was discontinued. One of these studies found that adding CBT to a slow taper of benzos for people with anxiety disorders was more helpful in reducing benzo use than the slow taper alone. Three months after treatment, 77 percent of those who had received both the slow taper and the therapy remained in recovery.

Family or Couples Counseling and Education

During residential treatment, it’s helpful to get the individual’s family or partner involved in therapy. This can encourage family members to support the person’s new skills and behaviors after treatment is over. In order to get loved ones involved, therapy and education are needed. As discussed in the Treatment Improvement Protocols from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), information about the substance abuse disorder and its implications can support the recovery person’s loved ones. This information includes:
  • What the treatments are and how they work
  • What to expect after the person is released from treatment
  • How to support the results of treatment
  • Post-treatment programs and resources
It’s also important to provide counseling to the individual and loved ones together to help everyone involved learn how to build new patterns that support recovery rather than returning to old behaviors that could lead to relapse. This can help the family learn to recognize and avoid codependent or enabling behaviors, thereby building a healthier way of relating to each other in order to prevent the thoughts and situations that may lead to relapse.