Addiction Therapy

Anyone who’s ever struggled with a substance use disorder problem knows how taunting the physical cravings and incessant thoughts about using can be. While a good detox program can get rid of the physical cravings, thoughts about using and getting high can persist long after you stop using. This is the addiction mindset still at work. Addiction therapy is designed to help you develop the type of mindset that can cope with daily life without the need for drugs or alcohol.

The Nuts and Bolts of Addiction

A full-blown drug or alcohol addiction doesn’t happen overnight, at least not for most drugs of abuse. People gravitate towards substance use disorder for different reasons, such as to feel happy, to relieve sadness, peer pressure, to improve their performance, or simply out of curiosity. While occasional use shouldn’t cause a problem, repeated use opens the door for addiction to develop.

The physical dependence that soon develops keeps you using the drug but that’s not where addiction takes root. Addictive substances do a real number on the brain’s chemical system to the point where changes in its physical makeup and chemical network occur. These changes alter how you think, feel, and behave. Your priorities are different so you find yourself doing things you never thought you’d do.

At this point, your mind “needs” the effects of the drug to make it through the day. Psychological dependence has developed. This is where addiction lives.

What Is Addiction Therapy and How Does It Help?

Addiction treatment entails treating the physical and psychological dependencies that fuel addiction. Detox treats the body’s physical dependence on drugs and alcohol. Addiction therapy treats the psychological dependence, which can persist long after substance use disorder stops. It’s the psychological aspect that leaves people in recovery at a constant risk of relapse.

This means you can complete detox and abstain from substance use disorder but still think like an addict. Drug addiction therapy helps addicts replace the mind’s need for the drug with healthy coping behaviors. While each person’s treatment needs differ, some form of therapy is needed to treat the mental components that drive addiction-based behaviors.

How Long Does Addiction Therapy Last?

Not unlike detox treatment, it’s important to remain in addiction therapy for an adequate period of time until you’ve developed a lifestyle that can support continued abstinence from drug or alcohol use. This time frame will vary depending on the type of drug you abused and the severity of your problem. Other issues that affect your recovery progress may also come into play, such as co-occurring mental health issues and medical conditions that develop as a result of addiction.

More than anything else, maintaining continued sobriety is the goal of addiction treatment. Unfortunately, many people who successfully complete detox believe they no longer have an addiction problem until they find themselves using again. For this reason, it’s important to take drug addiction therapy just as seriously as a detox treatment, or else the addiction cycle will repeat.


Medical disclaimer:

Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.

Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.

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