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Why Therapy is Essential in Addiction Treatment

Treatment for drug addiction is not unlike treating a chronic illness. It must include the transformation of deeply embedded habits, thoughts, and beliefs. One of the primary ways to do this is to work one on one with a mental health professional. In this way you and a professional can explore the unique ways that the illness of addiction is affecting your life. 

Furthermore, you and a therapist can work together in creating a recovery plan. The two of you can work on coping tools to replace turning to drugs or alcohol when emotional stress is high. Using drugs to cope with intense emotions is the case for many people who struggle with addiction. Therefore, one of the goals in therapy is to find new and healthy coping mechanisms. 

In addition to learning new ways to handle stress, a therapist can help you manage any underlying mental illness. For instance, depression and addiction often go hand in hand. A therapist can work with you on ways to manage depression, provide tools to help the depression lift, and finally support you in believing in your psychological health. 

Depression is one form of mental illness that can accompany addiction. Others may include anxiety, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Frequently, a newly recovering addict may not be aware there is a mental illness existing beneath their addiction. A therapist can facilitate exploration in uncovering whether this could be a possibility. If this is the case, it is important that both the addiction and the mental illness are treated simultaneously. 

It is essential to keep in mind that although therapy is a significant part of your addiction treatment, it should not be the only way of managing your addiction. You may also want to admit yourself to a residential treatment center. Assuming that there are no mental illnesses co-existing with your addiction, once you enter a residential treatment center, you may find that the primary method of treatment is a combination of medication, behavioral therapy, and support groups. While you are attending a residential treatment center, you will find a therapist can help you address any possible underlying issues (abuse, domestic violence, trauma, or loss) that might have prompted the use of drugs or alcohol.

In addition to the type of therapy you’ll experience at a residential treatment center, behavioral therapy is a treatment method that your therapist may utilize. This form of therapy examines any attitudes, beliefs, and thought patterns you might have that contribute to a dysfunctional lifestyle. For instance, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy that addresses unhealthy thought patterns that lead to making poor choices. CBT also provides healthier coping mechanisms to help manage challenging emotions, triggering life circumstances and stress, replacing any old methods of coping that may have furthered dysfunction and stress. CBT can also enhance the effectiveness of the recovery treatment and support your willingness to stay in treatment.

As you continue to see your therapist and spend time with a sober living community, you may find that the old and destructive internal patterns shift. As patterns change it is possible you might struggle with other challenges of recovering from addiction. For this reason, a therapist can guide you through the process, aid you when you’re struggling and continue to hold a vision of you healthy, happy and sober. 


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