The Most Effective Treatment for Substance Abuse

It is widely accepted that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most effective treatment for substance abuse. According to the American Addiction Centers, CBT is a valuable tool because it can be used for many different types of addictions, including food addiction, alcohol addiction, and prescription drug addiction. Not only can CBT help you recognize your unhealthy behavior patterns, but it can also help you learn to identify triggers and develop coping skills. CBT can also be combined with other therapeutic techniques.

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) is another form of therapy that may help you recognize your negative thoughts and give you ways to combat feelings of self-defeat. The goal of REBT is to help you realize that the power of rational thinking is within you and is not related to external situations or stressors. Research conducted by UCLA has determined that clinical experience is the essential criterion that improves treatment outcomes universally. In a review of current evidence-based practices, researchers found that efficacy varies in different situations, but clinical experience is key to making any treatment practice more effective.

Without clinical experience, evidence-based practices cannot be implemented correctly. Physicians must be certified by the American Board of Addiction Medicine. A study by the Clinical Trials Network found that counselors and therapists with higher education degrees were better able to apply evidence-based practices. Behavioral therapies are among NIDA's principles for effective treatment, and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a widespread and research-validated technique.

Addiction treatment to reduce substance abuse usually consists of a combination of group and individual therapy sessions that focus on teaching those in recovery the skills needed to stay sober, as well as how to navigate various situations without resorting to drugs or alcohol. Effective treatment provides therapy and resources to address problems in a comprehensive manner, so that addicts are not forced to confront them on their own. Long-term treatment programs for addictive and substance-related disorders can be very effective and generally focus on remaining drug-free and resuming role within social, professional and family responsibilities. If you or a loved one is preparing to start an addiction treatment program, here are some of the types of therapies you are likely to encounter: cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), medication-assisted treatment (MAT), certification of opioid treatment programs (OTP).

The type of substance involved and the severity of the addiction will dictate the course of treatment. For best results, addiction treatment professionals need appropriate education and training. There are approved medications that help addicts stay abstinent from the substance of their addiction. Through therapy, counseling, rehabilitation and other treatment modalities, the central reasoning for the development of addiction can be discussed and the coping mechanism and healing can be started.

For example, the FDA recently approved lofexidine to help reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms in patients receiving treatment for opioid addiction.