Silvermist young adult drug and alcohol rehab
When you start treatment for a substance use problem, you’re likely to encounter some new lingo. Terms like “inpatient,” “medication management,” treatment plan” and “continuum of care” may be new terms now, but soon you’ll be using them with ease. The term “psychoeducation” may be one such term, and it is used to described education delivered in the addiction treatment realm. 
Here’s what you need to know about psychoeducation for substance abuse, types of psychoeducation and how family therapy can help.

Psychoeducation for substance abuse

What is psychoeducation? Psychoeducation is the practice of providing those in recovery with knowledge and information as it pertains to successful and long-term sobriety. Psychoeducation is typically delivered in group therapy settings through reading, lectures, video series, presentations or seminar-style discussions.
Psychoeducation can cover a vast range of subjects, and the goal of all psychoeducation is to increase awareness and promote long-term success in recovery. 
Psychoeducation for substance abuse is not a form of therapy, but rather an important component of all frameworks of therapy. Each different therapeutic modality will necessarily include some aspect of learning and information sharing, some emphasizing psychoeducation more than others.
Addiction treatment education takes many forms. Here are a few categories of psychoeducation you may experience when you engage in professional treatment.

Addiction science

Addiction was once thought to be a moral failure or a character defect. In the past few decades, addiction science has shown that this is not the case, and addiction is more comparable to a chronic medical illness. Addiction changes brain chemistry, rewiring the brain’s reward system and causing tolerance, dependence and intense cravings.
Drugs and alcohol drastically alter the functioning of important neurotransmitters in the brain. For this reason, a person who has developed a dependence has very little personal agency is deciding whether to continue to use. A person has very little control over the impulse to return to drug use when confronted with withdrawal symptoms, making detox in a regulated facility the safest and most effective choice for recovery.

Signs and symptoms of addiction and withdrawal

One of the most important aspects of addiction treatment education is understanding the physiological signs of addiction and withdrawal. Many individuals who are caught in addiction don’t realize the full extent of the way substance use has impacted their minds, body and emotions.
Identifying negative symptoms can be a great motivator in recovery. Moreover, withdrawal and cravings also come with physiological symptoms that when understood well, can help prevent relapse. For example, a person may begin to feel tired an hour or so before true withdrawal sets in. Recognizing this pre-warning sign can aid in combatting urges to use.

Triggers and coping strategies

Addiction treatment education always includes information regarding triggers and how to cope with them. Each person will need to identify unique emotional, environmental, social or other factors that stimulate a negative spiral into substance use. Once triggers are identified, they can be better handled.
Coping strategies are the skills implemented to manage triggers. Coping strategies are both quick and extended activities that either confront the trigger or temporarily distract a person from the trigger. The goal of coping strategies is to avoid substance use in the heat of the moment as well as in the long run.

Relapse and recovery statistics

Relapse is an ever-present threat in recovery. Addiction treatment education can help people understand the harsh reality of addiction. Setting reasonable expectations for yourself is important to healing, and learning about the data surrounding addiction treatment can make setbacks feel less drastic. 

Mental health

Many individuals who struggle with substance use also struggle with one or more mental health disorders. Psychoeducation can help a person understand the relationship between substance use and mental health, the risk factors of each that may overlap and how treating both conditions simultaneously can be most effective.

Other topics addiction treatment education

Addiction education includes a broad range of potential topics. The psychoeducation you experience should be accommodated to your needs and personalized to best match your learning style. You may also benefit from education regarding medication and side effects, exercise for recovery, nutrition, healthy lifestyle habits or occupational skills.
Addiction education is important for all individuals in recovery, and families often benefit from psychoeducation for substance abuse, too.

Family therapy

While the majority of psychoeducation happens in the format of substance use treatment, it can also be provided in other contexts. It is sometimes offered as a preventative measure in schools or community groups. Most often, psychoeducation is delivered to the family members and friends of those in treatment.
Psychoeducation may make up a portion of family therapy. In family therapy, loved ones will learn about the science of addiction, statistics regarding relapse and treatment success, reasonable timelines of recovery and warning signs of relapse.
Family members may partake in family therapy before, during or after their loved one attends treatment. Family therapy can assist family members in preventing enabling behaviors, supporting engagement in treatment and setting boundaries for unhealthy co-dependent behaviors. These sessions may also include information on life-saving interventions, such as recognizing the signs of overdose or administering Narcan.

Addiction education through Silvermist Recovery

Finding full-person healing for substance use requires feeding the mind through education. You’re likely to find that in recovery you are eager to grow in self-knowledge through addiction education, and when you complete detox you’ll have a much clearer mind to soak up all you want to learn.