Effective Behavioral Therapies For Treating Drug Addiction

For someone suffering from drug addiction, it isn't enough to get sober. The problem isn't just the drug; it's also the behaviors that lead to taking the drug. In order to overcome an addiction, studies have shown that behavioral therapy can be one of the most effective treatments because it addresses the behaviors that lead to the problem. Here are four behavioral therapy methods that have proven to be effective in treating drug addiction.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, is a classification of mental health therapy developed in the '60s. The goal with CBT is to change the patterns of thought that lead to problematic behavior by identifying the thoughts, images, or beliefs that are related. CBT is also typically undertaken in a short amount of time, between five to ten months. Studies have shown that CBT is an effective treatment for drug addiction on its own and in combination with other forms of treatment.

Motivational Enhancement Therapy

Another behavioral therapy that has been effective in treating drug abuse is motivational enhancement therapy, or MET. This goal of this treatment is to evoke a rapid change in behavior by jumpstarting the patient from ambivalence into internal motivation to change. This is done through an initial assessment session and plan building. Subsequent sessions may focus on self-motivation and coping strategies as well as reviewing behavior and monitoring change. While studies have shown MET to be an effective addiction treatment, its efficacy is contingent on the type of drug used by participants.

Contingency Management Principles

Contingency management principles, or CM, involves giving participants tangible rewards in order to reinforce positive, addiction-changing behavior. This might include a voucher-based system in which opioid or stimulant abusers receive a voucher with a monetary value for every drug-free urine sample they provide. The value of the voucher increases as more drug tests are passed. CM might also include price incentives, but the reward is an entrance into a drawing for a cash prize rather than a voucher. Though less frequently utilized than some better known behavioral therapies, studies have shown CM to be very effective as a treatment for addiction.

The Matrix Model

For stimulant addictions like methamphetamines and cocaine, studies have shown the Matrix Model of behavioral therapy to be very effective. In this model, abusers are lead through an intensive outpatient treatment program by a therapist who acts as a coach or teacher. The therapist's goal is to foster positivity, self-esteem, and dignity in the participant using a highly structured program. Led by the therapist, patients are educated about addiction, relapse, and self-help.

For more information, contact an addiction therapy service.

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