How can therapy help with addiction?

Addictionhas many faces. While addictions to drugs, tobacco and alcohol are most commonly talked about, one can become addicted to a surprising number of things, including social media, exercising and plastic surgery, even though no addictive substances are involved. Some controversy exists over whether addiction should be categorized as a “disease” or just a compulsive behavior, but there is undoubtedly a behavioral component to it. Therefore, behavioral psychological treatment from a local psychologist in Laval can help addiction sufferers leave their condition in the past.
  1. Addiction is often just a visible sign of deeper-lying problems in an individual’s life. Addictive substances and behaviors provide a momentary escape from stress, anxiety or depression. Addiction can also be a result of one’s environment. Such factors do not simply go away with medication, but counseling from a psychologist can help patientshandle these underlying issues in order to avoid a relapse.
  2. Cognitive behavioral therapy. Tying into the above, cognitive behavioral therapy is a method used by psychologists specifically to help addiction sufferers identify and avoid the triggers that tend to activate their addictive behavior,i.e. the states of mind and the situations in which the sufferer will have a tendency to indulge their addiction.
  3. Motivational interviewing.In the past, roughly forcing an addict to come to terms with reality was seen as the best way to cure them. Nowadays, psychologists will usually try to use a gentler approach. The idea is to find something the patient really enjoys or cares about, and use that to encourage them to kick the habit, which is likely interfering with those positive aspects of their life: for instance, convincing a parent to quit drugs in order to spend more time with their kids.
  4. Group therapy. Peer pressure is an infamous factor that often contributes to the usage of drugs in teenagers, but even adults are not safe if they spend a lot of time in social circles where particular addictive behaviors are encouraged, whatever those behaviors may be. This also works the other way, however. It’s easy to get lost or sidetracked when you’re walking the path to recovery alone, but being surrounded by peers who are also trying to break away from addictive behavior can bolster an individual’s resolve to do the same. This is the principle behind well-known movements like Alcoholics Anonymous, but group therapy has the additional advantage of being headed by trained psychologists who can offer expert advice.
  5. Family therapy. Similar to group therapy, but instead of other sufferers, the treatment includes the family or friends of the addiction sufferer to provide emotional support.
  6. Contingency management therapy. One difficulty of treating addiction is that the “high” provided by indulging in addictive behavior is fleeting, but powerful and immediate – while the benefits of refraining from indulging in it are felt gradually over the long term, but not immediately. Contingency management therapy uses positive reinforcement to make fighting addiction more appealing in the short term: patients receive various rewards when they avoid addictive behaviors.
Even though medication can play a role in the treatment of addiction, support from a psychologist can increase the efficiency of the treatment and decrease the risk of a relapse. If someone you know suffers from crippling addiction, help them break free from the shackles of their compulsive behavior by encouraging them to seek help.
May Capobianco