Living with addiction affects every aspect of your life. It can cause or worsen a range of physical and mental health problems. It saps your motivation and energy and leads you to neglect hobbies and activities you used to enjoy. It causes relationship problems, financial difficulties and legal troubles.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, professional therapy is almost always needed to help an individual overcome an addiction.1 That’s because addiction is a complex disease that changes the structures and functions of the brain, and to break the cycle of remission and relapse, the underlying causes of the addiction must be addressed. These may include trauma, stress, family dysfunction or mental illnesses like anxiety and depression.
Addiction is treatable, and there are common elements to effective therapy, but no single treatment is appropriate for everyone.2 The best approach to treatment is one that’s holistic and attends to the multiple needs of the individual—not just the drug abuse.
Behavioral therapies, including individual and group counseling and family therapy, are the most commonly used forms of treatment, and they’re the foundation of any high-quality treatment program. Behavioral therapies address a wide range of issues and help people with an addiction reclaim their lives across the four dimensions of recovery.
The Four Dimensions of Recovery
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration cites health, home, purpose and community as the four dimensions that support a life in recovery.3
Health encompasses your physical and mental well-being and involves making informed, healthy choices that support good overall health.
Home relates to having a safe and stable place to live and includes a high level of family functioning.
Purpose means engaging in activities—a job, school, volunteering, creative projects—that fill your life with meaning. Purpose also includes having the financial and personal independence to participate in society.
Community means having relationships and social networks that offer friendship, love, hope and support.
Therapy addresses all of these dimensions of recovery through a holistic approach that addresses issues of body, mind and spirit to promote authentic happiness and better functioning across all life domains.
Types of Therapy in Treatment
A high-quality, holistic treatment program will offer a range of therapies to address the unique needs of an individual. Therapy takes place in both individual and group settings and with immediate family members or a significant other.
Both traditional and complementary therapies are used to treat a range of issues. Traditional therapies include motivational interviewing and cognitive-behavioral therapy, while complementary therapies may include art, music or outdoor therapy, meditation, acupuncture and yoga.
All of these therapies combined serve to improve your life far beyond helping you to end your addiction. Here are nine areas in which therapy works to improve your well-being and increase your quality of life in recovery and beyond.
1. Resolving Ambivalence
Not everyone who enters treatment is totally ready to give up drugs or alcohol for good. They may know that something needs to change, but overcoming an addiction can seem…