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The therapies help patients find internal motivation to begin or continue treatment. They often provide incentives for maintaining sobriety and are used in combination with behavioral therapies. Motivational enhancement therapy is a specific type of motivational interviewing for substance abuse.

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The goal is to encourage change as opposed to teaching patients how to change. Multiple studies have shown that motivational enhancement therapy is effective in patients addicted to:.


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MET begins with an assessment and is followed by two to four individual counseling sessions. The therapist begins by eliciting motivational statements. The remaining sessions involve monitoring change, reviewing strategies and continuing support of internal motivation. Contingency management and motivational incentive approaches to therapy reinforce positive behavior with tangible rewards.

The therapies augment other forms of therapy to increase abstinence during counseling. Studies show contingency management and motivational incentives reduce drug use in patients in recovery from addiction involving:. The therapies incorporate vouchers or chances to win prizes to promote abstinence. Voucher-based therapy involves rewarding clean drug screens with vouchers that can be exchanged for food, movies and retail goods.

Prize-based incentives reward drug-free screens with a chance to win a prize by drawing from a bowl. Some experts worry that prize-based incentives might promote gambling behavior, but studies do not show an association between the therapy and gambling. The community reinforcement approach plus vouchers is commonly used on an outpatient basis.

The therapy involves motivational incentives in the form of familial, social and recreational rewards in addition to vouchers to motivate abstinence from substance abuse.

Drug and Alcohol Addiction

The goal is to help patients maintain sobriety so they can develop skills for long-term recovery. CRA usually lasts 24 weeks, and patients attend individual counseling once or twice per week. During counseling sessions, they learn skills to minimize substance abuse, improve relationships, develop hobbies, build social support and receive vocational counseling.

Patients also undergo urine tests two or three times per week and are awarded vouchers for retail goods for drug-free tests. Counseling and therapy for addiction often involve counseling for family members in addition to the person in recovery. Therapy teaches families the underlying causes of addiction, how to reduce risk factors for relapse and how to properly support their loved one in recovery. It helps each family member learn about the impact his or her actions have on others, and it teaches families how to effectively communicate and function.

Family behavior therapy addresses problems that affect the entire family. The goal is to reduce risk factors for addiction, such as unemployment, family conflict, abuse and conduct issues. It uses techniques such as contingency management and behavioral contracting, in which a patient agrees to a written contract with a therapist.

Therapy sessions involve multiple family members, such as spouses or parents and their children. Therapists teach strategies and skills for improving communication and the living environment. Each patient sets behavioral goals that are reviewed during each session by other family members. Multisystemic family therapy is primarily used to correct severe antisocial behavior in children and adolescents affected by addiction. Treatment occurs in natural environments such as the home, school or neighborhood, and it has been proved to reduce rates of incarceration and substance abuse.

Multidimensional family therapy is an outpatient treatment for teens who abuse drugs. It focuses on individual, family, peer and community networks to reduce problematic behavior and encourage healthy behavior. MDT occurs in clinics, family court, school or homes. It usually involves individual sessions and family sessions in which the adolescent learns decision-making and problem-solving skills. During family sessions, parents examine their parenting style and learn to positively and effectively influence healthy behavior.


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  • Therapists use brief strategic family therapy to reduce family interactions that support or exacerbate teen drug abuse or problematic behavior. Such behavior includes problems at school, delinquency, association with anti-social peers, aggressive tendencies and high-risk sexual behavior.

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    The therapist identifies and corrects family interactions that provoke problematic behavior. The approach can be used in mental health facilities, rehab clinics, homes and a variety of other settings. Functional family therapy is also based on the idea that dysfunctional family interactions create and support problematic behavior.

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    The goal of FFT is to improve communication, problem-solving skills and parenting skills. Each therapy session involves the adolescent and one or more family members. FFT engages families in the treatment process to encourage motivation for change. It also incorporates contingency management techniques and other types of behavioral therapy. Adolescent community reinforcement approach is similar to the community reinforcement approach used for adults, but it involves standardized procedures for improving communication, solving problems and coping with stress.

    Role playing and behavioral rehearsal techniques are key aspects of the therapy. Assertive continuing care involves weekly home visits during the three-month period after a teenager is discharged from a drug rehab facility. The therapy teaches teens and their caregivers problem-solving skills, communication techniques and other tools for promoting recovery.

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    Therapists often encourage patients to participate in step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous to support long-term recovery. Such step programs are founded on a few key principles: Individuals with substance use disorders have no control of the disease, must surrender to a higher power and actively participate in support group meetings.

    Many therapists refer patients to step groups, and some treatment facilities host support group meetings. Decades of scientific research on addiction treatment have found behavioral, motivational and family-based therapies to effectively treat substance use disorders. Other therapies such as EMDR and step facilitation therapy are also backed by a plethora of research. There are no other evidence-based replacements for these traditional therapies, but studies do support a variety of complementary treatments for addiction. Yoga is an exercise that emphasizes controlled breathing and body postures to promote physical strength, concentration and serenity.

    Clinical trials involving yoga and mindfulness found the therapies were effective complements to preventing and treating addiction, according to a study published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine. A meta-analysis of studies on meditation published in Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly found that the technique can reduce stress, anxiety, tobacco smoking, and alcohol and drug abuse.

    Additionally, a clinical trial on mindfulness therapy published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology found yoga was a feasible and effective treatment for opioid abuse and chronic pain. Several therapies for addiction involve animals. During equine therapy, one of the most popular animal-assisted therapies, patients interact with horses.

    The horses give feedback through nonverbal cues. The patients learn to understand their own emotions and overcome negative emotions such as frustration and fear. Other therapies involve people in recovery voluntarily helping animals at shelters or having animals during traditional therapy sessions.

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    Animal-assisted therapy can also reduce stress, fear and anxiety. Acupuncture therapists insert fine needles into the body to stimulate healing. Acupuncture is a complementary treatment option at several rehab facilities, and people in self-help programs also report benefits from acupuncture. A study of patients in recovery from cocaine addiction published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found patients assigned to acupuncture therapy were more likely to abstain from cocaine use.

    Another study published in the American Journal of Public Health found acupuncture significantly improved tobacco smoking cessation rates. Music therapy techniques include lyric analysis, songwriting, musical games and ad-libbing music based on emotions. During music therapy, patients engage emotions, motivations and barriers to treatment through lyrics and melody. Take responsibility for self.

    No matter what the event is, those in recovery have the freedom to choose their response to it. Taking responsibility for self leads to awareness, which in turn helps the individual make effective choices. Maintain physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Recovery also involves effective communication in relationships, especially intimate relationships. Avoid shame. Shame generated by others or themselves inhibits personal recovery and growth from situations that may be painful.

    Work on relapse-prevention strategies. Adapt to changes in life.