Drug Addiction Treatment: Healing Methods

Before you or your loved one enter a drug addiction treatment center, it is helpful to familiarize yourself with the different approaches used to find healing from substance use disorders. There are many models to choose from whether it be evidence-based therapeutic approaches such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectic Behavioral Therapy (DBT), group therapy and Illness Management and Recovery (IMR) to other models such as 12-step based practices and mindfulness. Through a comprehensive combination of these methods, healing from addiction is possible.


What are all of these letters? Making sense of CBT, DBT, and IMR

In your research, you likely see many acronyms and it may feel like you’re drowning in alphabet soup. It can be a lot to keep track of, so here are three common acronyms you may come across to help you stay afloat.

  • CBT –– The Mayo Clinic defines CBT, or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, as a form of talk therapy. By working with a licensed mental health provider, CBT helps patients become aware of distorted thinking, which allows them to respond to the challenging situations life often brings in a much healthier and productive manner.
  • DBT –– PsychCentral describes Dialectical Behavior Therapy as a form of CBT that focuses on the psychosocial elements of treatment, or how someone interacts with other people and environments. Important components of DBT are that it is support-oriented, cognitive-based, and collaborative in addressing four modules: Mindfulness, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Distress Tolerance, and Emotion Regulation. 
  • IMR –– As the American Psychological Association (APA) notes, “Effective illness management requires that individuals have basic information about mental illness, the principles of treatment, and strategies for coping with persistent symptoms and other problems.” Upon that statement, the APA describes Illness Management and Recovery as the comprehensive set of strategies that empower individuals to manage their mental health and addiction issues. 


What about the 12-Steps and Mindfulness for drug addiction treatment?

You’re likely aware of 12-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA). The concept is simple enough and the name is self-explanatory; after all, there are 12 steps to the program. The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) notes that the 12 steps, “Emphasizes the importance of accepting addiction as a disease that can be arrested but never eliminated, enhancing individual maturity and spiritual growth, minimizing self-centeredness, and providing help to other individuals who are addicted.” Simply put, the core principle of these programs is mindfulness. 

In the 12 steps each step builds off of the previous one until you’ve reached the twelfth step. And then what happens? Well, you start all over again with the 12 steps as you approach different life challenges and confrontations. 

Even though this may sound exhausting, it’s really just living out the concept of mindfulness. The addiction treatment center you are looking into should have a mindfulness component to its program to help you manage your long-term recovery. 


Put them all together.

We all know that no two individuals are alike. The same can be said for cultural environments, family structure and upbringing, and other variables that are too numerous to address by name. This uniqueness is the reason a variety of therapy approaches are needed for addiction treatment. Healing comes from the right combination of the right methods, so let us find the right path for you. 

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