You may hear drug and alcohol treatment centers discuss evidence-based treatment programs or therapies.
What does that mean?
Evidence-based approaches are those backed by scientific evidence of their reliability and effectiveness. In addiction treatment, such approaches may include things like talk therapy but also the use of medications that help to stop cravings. When you visit a drug and treatment counselor, you’ll likely use one or more evidence-based tools as the heart of your treatment. You’ll supplement this care with additional treatments that may help to encourage healing and wellbeing.
Pharmacotherapies – Medications to Treat Drug Addiction
Men and women with opioid, tobacco, or alcohol addiction may need help stopping use completely. Because of the brain chemistry changes that these drugs create, it becomes very difficult for a person to just stop using that substance on their own. Medications can help to make the process easier. Doctors and therapists must strike a unique balance here. The goal is to help a person overcome addiction without developing another addiction in the process.
Opioid addiction commonly requires some type of medication-based support as a person detoxes from the drug. Because these medications can work to support the brain’s function without the opioid drug, they can help you to gain clarity and improve overall health in a less painful and worrisome manner.
For opioid addiction, for example, many people will use methadone. It is a type of synthetic, long-acting drug that can help to stop the painful withdrawal symptoms common in opioid addiction. It works by blocking the effects of illicit forms of opioids. When a person uses methadone and tries to get high from opioids, it does not work. Over time, this allows a person to break that habit.
Pharmacotherapies should not be used alone. To be most effective, they should be used alongside other evidence-based therapies, including counseling, as noted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
When you work with your therapist here at Valley Recovery Center, we’ll focus on behavioral therapies, which are evidence-based treatments designed to help you abstain from drugs. They can also work to help you to build life skills and coping methods, allowing you to avoid many of the situations where drug and alcohol use are common. Here are a few examples of these types of therapies:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Commonly used with addictions to cocaine, marijuana, meth, and alcohol, cognitive behavioral therapy is designed to help you learn how to change negative thought processes in real-time, giving you the ability to avoid drug and alcohol use when you are facing a negative situation.
Motivational Enhancement Therapy: In this type of therapy, often used to help those facing alcohol, nicotine, and marijuana addiction, the goal is to help encourage rapid and motivated change within a person’s thought processes. An initial assessment is done and, from there, counselors work to build a person’s motivation towards non-use, while also building a plan for change.
12-Step Program: Quite commonly used for opiates, stimulants, and alcohol addictions, the 12-step program works to help people to work through 12 unique steps in which a person works to abstain from use. It focuses on three big aspects: acceptance, surrender, and active involvement in ongoing support.
Contingency Management Interventions: In this type of intervention, the goal is to help develop contingency management principles that allow a person to receive some type of tangible reward when they abstain from drug use. It is commonly used with people struggling with alcohol, nicotine, opioids, and stimulant addictions.
With behavioral therapies like these, it becomes very important for a therapist to understand what a person’s needs are in selecting the right type of care. For example, those who often resort to drug use to cope with daily living stressors will need to learn to monitor for triggers. They need to be able to change their thought patterns in those moments to avoid use, which is what cognitive-behavioral therapy teaches. Others, including those who lack motivation, may benefit from the use of a 12-step program because it can help to provide ongoing steps towards recovery.
At Valley Recovery Center, you will gain access to a range of evidence-based therapies, each designed to meet your unique needs. This, coupled with individual counseling, group counseling, and holistic therapies may help you to avoid using drugs and alcohol for years to come.