treatment modalities

Substance Abuse Treatment Modalities

Methods used to treat individuals for any particular condition are known as treatment modalities. You may hear medical professionals and patients use the terms “type” and “approach” interchangeably for “modalities.” Research studies on substance use disorder (SUD) typically classify programs into several types of treatment modalities. 

The 7 Most Common Treatment Modalities

1. Detox

Addiction treatment plans generally start with detox. Detoxification is the process where your body cleanses itself of toxic substances. The most effective form of detox for substance abuse treatment is medical detox. This is because medical detox provides 24/7 medical supervision. Medical detox also provides patients with the opportunity to receive prescription medications to help them manage their withdrawal symptoms.  

Detoxification is considered the first stage of treatment. By easing substance withdrawal symptoms during detox, patients are more likely to complete detox.

Nevertheless, detox alone doesn’t treat the psychological, social, and behavioral changes that may be linked forever with addiction. To overcome the lasting behavioral changes that are needed for long-term recovery, one must follow up detox with treatment modalities. 

2. Talk Therapy (Psychotherapy)

Psychotherapy can help people face obstacles that interrupt emotional, spiritual, and mental well-being. The aim of therapy is to:

  • Explore feelings, behaviors, and beliefs
  • Root out challenging or upsetting experiences and memories
  • Obtain better self-awareness and understanding
  • Create a plan to meet these goals

Individual Therapy

During individual therapy, you will meet alone with your counselor in one-to-one confidential sessions. It’s common for people to feel uncomfortable about disclosing personal feelings and emotions with a stranger. However, substance abuse treatment counselors and patients work together in a collaborative way that builds trust and enables them to tackle the patients’ issues.

While in a therapy session for substance abuse, you may uncover an underlying mental issue that has gone undiagnosed. This is a common cause of substance abuse and a very important reason for psychotherapy, as any co-occurring mental health issues must be discovered and treated at the same time as an individual’s substance use disorder. 

The only drawback to psychotherapy is that it progresses at a slow pace. Behavioral therapies begin to show results in a few sessions.

Group Therapy

Of the substance abuse treatment modalities, group therapy is the one used most often. In a group therapy session, several individuals meet with one or two counselors for 60-90 minutes. In this type of therapy, group members can:

  • Decrease their feelings of isolation
  • Validate their experiences
  • Improve their interpersonal skills
  • Learn new coping skills

In group therapy sessions, members are able to encourage each other by sharing their own experiences and promoting positive change and growth. The members also hold each other accountable for their actions and statements.

3. Behavior Modification Therapy

Behavior modification involves recognizing unhealthy habits and replacing them with healthy ones. After some time, people form strong neural pathways (where information travels in your brain) that are associated with addictive behavior. It takes time to undo those pathways and replace them with new ones.

Behavioral therapy recognizes that and uses a structured method to help build new healthier habits. The only drawback to behavioral therapies is that they don’t address underlying, co-existing conditions. This is what makes it so important to use more than one therapeutic approach. 

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive-behavioral therapy has been widely recognized as an important treatment modality because it can be used for treating various types of addictions including that of:

  • Food
  • Prescription drugs
  • Illicit (illegal) drugs
  • Alcohol

CBT helps you identify and change unhealthy thoughts, emotions, and patterns of behavior into positive ones. CBT also helps individuals learn their triggers to those behaviors. This helps such individuals develop coping skills. It’s also easy to combine CBT with other therapy approaches.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical behavior therapy is another form of cognitive-behavioral therapy. It combines techniques like mindfulness, acceptance, and emotional regulation. The goal of DBT is to teach people how to:

  • live in the moment, 
  • learn healthy ways to deal with stress
  • improve relationships 
  • control emotions

Contingency Management (CM)

Contingency management is used in the treatment of a range of addictions including:

  • Alcohol
  • Narcotics
  • Tobacco

CM offers tangible rewards for positive behaviors, thereby strengthening the positive behavior. Examples of such positive behaviors when it comes to substance abuse treatment include maintaining clean drug tests and attending support group meetings. The rewards from CM may be vouchers or a point system that can be used for things like a gym membership or a healthy dinner at a local restaurant. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has reported that this method of substance abuse treatment has proven to be successful in combating relapse.

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)

REBT helps people recognize their harmful thoughts and beliefs. It also helps people discover ways to overcome their self-defeating feelings. The goal of REBT is to help people understand that they have the power of rational thinking within themselves and it is not dependent on outside stressors or situations.

4. 12-Step Facilitation

Twelve-step facilitation therapy is another one of the treatment modalities that treats alcohol and substance use disorders. It is a form of group therapy that looks at the negative consequences of addiction whether they are social, emotional, spiritual, or physical. 

12-step facilitation therapy begins with acceptance. It then progresses to the individual surrendering to a higher power and then into regular involvement with the group meetings. Twelve-step facilitation stems from the 12  steps of Alcoholics Anonymous which started in the 1930s. Over time, the 12 steps have been modified to include addiction to other drugs along with other types of addiction.

5. Medications

When combined with behavioral therapies, medication can play an important part in addiction recovery. It can be particularly helpful for those who need physical support to detox. However, medication doesn’t help with the emotional problems that propel addiction. Medications can be useful though for:

  • Decreasing cravings
  • Decreasing addictive behavior
  • Improving mood

Medications that are used often in substance abuse treatment modalities:

  • Lofexidine–used to reduce cravings and ease withdrawal symptoms for opioid addiction
  • Acamprosate–helps reduce drinking behavior
  • Methadone–used in long-term opioid treatment

6. Holistic Treatment

Holistic treatment is a type of healing that considers the whole person–mind, body, spirit, and emotions. The theory is that the whole person consists of interdependent parts and if one part is not working properly, all the other parts will feel the effect. If you have an imbalance in your life (physical, emotional, or spiritual), it will affect your overall health. Holistic interventions typically include:

  • Exercise
  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Acupuncture
  • Nutrition
  • Massage therapy

We are learning more and more about the connections of mind and body. Very often, addiction is the result of underlying emotional and spiritual issues that have led to depression, anxiety, anger, and other problems. 

When an individual has a mental issue and a substance abuse disorder at the same time, it’s called a dual diagnosis. Holistic techniques attempt to root out the underlying causes of such disorders and heal the interconnected aspects.

7. Aversion Therapy

During aversion therapy, unpleasant connections to a person’s drug of addiction are created. This can be done by causing sickness, using electric shocks, or other negative experiences. Unfortunately, this method only works if the addiction is only physical. It tends to give short-term benefits when there are emotional issues attached to the addiction. In the case where it is used alone, the individual will just swap addictions when the main underlying cause is not considered.

Is There a “Best” Treatment Modality for SUD?

None of the substance abuse treatment modalities can be successfully used alone to treat substance use disorder. Each approach has its pros and cons and each one needs the others to build upon. Individuals struggling with SUDs are each unique and require a blend of treatment modalities to meet their own needs and goals. 

In the mid1970s, scientific research developed an essential principle that should make up the basis of any effective treatment program. The principles for effective SUD treatment are:

  • Addiction is a complicated but treatable disease that has an effect on behavior.
  • There is no single treatment modality that is right for everyone.
  • People need quick access to treatment.
  • To be effective, treatment needs to apply to all of the individual needs, not just the drug use.
  • It is crucial to remain in treatment long enough.
  • Behavioral therapies and counseling are the most common forms of treatment.
  • Medications can be an important part of treatment. Particularly when used along with behavioral therapies.
  • Frequently reevaluate substance abuse treatment plans and change them to suit the patient’s needs.
  • Treatment should always consider other possible mental disorders.
  • Medically-assisted detox is only the first step in treatment.
  • Treatment doesn’t necessarily have to be voluntary to be effective.
  • Monitor drug use during treatment cautiously and continually 
  • SUD treatment programs should test patients for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, hepatitis B and C, and other infectious diseases.

How Can You Avoid Relapse?

After you get yourself clean and sober, you need to consider a relapse prevention plan. Relapse means going back to substance use after you have been abstinent for some time. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has estimated that 40 to 60% of people with drug addictions will eventually relapse. By being aware of the stages of relapse and planning for how to deal with them, you may be able to keep yourself from using again.

Stages of Relapse

Relapse doesn’t occur out of anywhere. There are various different stages of relapse. The stages of relapse include:

  1. Emotional relapse

In stage one, you aren’t thinking about using again, but your thoughts and behaviors are setting you up to relapse. At this time, you are isolating yourself and bottling up your emotions. You may feel anxious or angry.

  1. Mental relapse

In this stage of relapse, part of you wants to use again and part of you doesn’t. You might think about the people, places, and good times you had while you were using drugs. You only remember the good times and not the bad. Bargain with yourself and plan to use substances again.

  1. Physical relapse

This is when you actually start to use substances again. It begins with one slip–the first drink or pill perhaps–and leads to regular use.

If you stay aware of these stages, there are ways to turn back before it is too late. These include:

  • Know your triggers
  • Remember why you quit
  • Ask for help
  • Take care of yourself
  • Distract yourself
  • Call a friend
  • Reward yourself for staying clean

Where Can I Get Effective Substance Abuse Treatment Modalities in Florida?

Are you struggling with a substance use disorder? Maybe it’s someone you care about. Either way, addiction is not a condition that gets better on its own. You need to do something as soon as you recognize it. 

You can receive effective evidence-based treatment modalities at Florida Center for Recovery.  We are one of the leading treatment centers in the country, providing medical detox, rehab programs, a range of treatment modalities, and dual diagnosis treatment. 

Our clients come to us from all over the country. So if you don’t live in Florida and feel you need to get far from your triggers and drug experiences, and many people do, come to Florida Center for Recovery in Fort Pierce, FL. We are knowledgeable, caring, and experienced in treating addiction. There is really no time to wait. Make that important decision and contact us today. We will help you from there.