Why Do I Have to Go to Therapy During Rehab?

May 20, 2017

A patient talking with their therapist

Drug abuse and addiction come in as many forms as the people who struggle with them. When a person realizes that he has a drug use problem, he may decide to get help from other people. Admitting that a problem exists and seeking out professional help are two of the most crucial steps a person can take towards beginning a new life in recovery. The next step for a person to take is to begin a rehabilitation program. While most people realize the importance of going through a drug rehabilitation program, not many understand how all of the components of rehabilitation work together to help the person achieve long-term sobriety. One essential but sometimes overlooked aspect of drug rehabilitation is therapy. Nearly every rehabilitation program incorporates therapy in some form, so it’s beneficial to know both how rehabilitation therapy works and why it is so important.

Goal and Types of Rehabilitation Therapy

In most rehabilitation programs, therapy begins after a person has gone through detoxification but before he fully returns to his ordinary life. Drug rehabilitation therapy is normally focused on the person’s behaviors. As the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) explains, the goal of therapy in the drug rehabilitation process is to help the person change his attitudes and behaviors concerning drug abuse, engage in his treatment and encourage him to cultivate a healthy lifestyle. The NIDA also lists the following common forms of therapy used during drug rehabilitation:

  • Cognitive-behavioral: this type of therapy helps the person identify and learn how to deal with situations that tempt him to abuse drugs.
  • Motivational incentives or contingency management: this therapy focuses on positive reinforcement and clear rewards as a way to encourage the person to stay sober.
  • Motivational interviewing: this therapy is sometimes used before the person begins treatment as a way to prepare him to enter treatment and begin positively changing his behaviors; it can also be used to help the person identify and remember his values when faced with temptation from drugs.
  • Multidimensional family therapy: in this form of therapy, the person meets with his family in therapy sessions in order to address the ways that his drug use have affected his loved ones, and to come up with specific ways that his family can encourage his sobriety in the future.

Addiction is a mental, physical and psychological disease, and therapy is crucial in helping an addict understand the emotional triggers of his drug use and how to develop new, healthy coping mechanisms.

Benefits of Therapy for People with Co-occurring Disorders

Therapy can be useful to everyone who goes through the drug rehabilitation process, but it can be especially beneficial to people who struggle with co-occurring disorders, which are other mental health conditions that occur alongside substance abuse or addiction. SAMHSA’s Treatment Improvement Protocol No.42 specifically recommends cognitive-behavioral therapy as an effective form of treatment for co-occurring disorders because of the following benefits:

  • Addresses distortions in thinking and teaches how to productively modify them
  • Helps the person modify any negative or self-defeating thoughts and behaviors
  • Improves coping skills
  • Starts with the disorders as a base for developing treatment goals

Participating in one or more types of therapy during drug rehabilitation can be one of the best ways for a person to maintain sobriety. It can help him see flaws in his thinking and behaviors that might lead to negative decisions related to drugs, and it can also teach him how to positively alter those thoughts and behaviors so that they become more productive and healthy. Effective therapy can also reduce a person’s chances of relapsing and can help him get back on track if he does relapse.

Find Out More About the Benefits of Therapy During Rehab

If you or someone you love is considering getting professional help with a substance abuse or addiction problem, please give us a call at 615-490-9376. Our admissions coordinators are always available to help you find a treatment center that best fits your needs.

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