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What is Drug Addiction Therapy?

Lainie Petersen
By Lainie Petersen
Updated May 17, 2024
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Drug addiction therapy, sometimes known as substance abuse counseling, is substance abuse treatment provided by a mental health professional in the form of counseling and psychotherapy. Typically, the goals of drug addiction therapy include helping the client to develop insight into his condition and the reasons why he has become addicted to drugs or alcohol as well as giving the client coping strategies for managing stress or emotions without the use of chemicals. Individuals who have substance abuse problems may be able to receive drug addiction therapy from private counselors, in public mental health centers, as well as in substance abuse treatment centers.

During the process of drug addiction therapy, a substance abuser will have the opportunity to develop an accountable relationship with her counselor. An addictions therapist can work with his client in order develop an accurate picture of the addict's life and environment. Over time, the therapist may learn to detect various triggers that may inspire relapses or the use of drugs or alcohol. The counselor may also be able to assist the client in identifying these triggers and developing better ways of managing stress and unpleasant emotions.

There are numerous contexts in which drug addiction therapy may take place. In some cases, people may receive drug addiction therapy in a group context. Some individuals attend substance abuse group therapy in a substance abuse treatment center, at a therapist's office, or in an outpatient hospital setting. Some substance abusers prefer to attend group therapy because they may find working with fellow addicts to be more effective than working one-on-one with a professional. These substance abusers may also find that the cost of group therapy is less prohibitive than that of individual therapy.

Individual substance abuse counseling may also play a part in an addict's recovery. Some private therapists offer drug addiction therapy, and these therapists may hold a variety of professional licenses, including that of substance abuse counselor, psychologist, or clinical social worker. If a substance abuser needs medical care, including prescription drugs, he may receive therapy from a psychiatrist or may be treated by both the medical doctor or nurse practitioner along with a substance abuse counselor. If an individual must enter residential substance abuse treatment, he may be provided with individual therapy during his stay. If possible, he may continue to receive drug addiction therapy from that same therapist after he is released from the substance abuse residential treatment program.

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