Addiction is horrible to live with, whether it is in you or a loved one. It is also, by definition, something that is very difficult to overcome on one’s own. Therapy can help overcome addiction.
As a therapist, I help people who are addicted to set achievable and empowering short-term goals as they work to overcome psychological dependence. Once sobriety is achieved, adaptive skills are developed, and underlying causes and contributing factors are explored. Together, we will often set long-term goals that may include rebuilding damaged relationships, accepting responsibility for actions, and releasing guilt.
Even when addiction involves a physical substance like drugs or alcohol, it is almost always more than merely a physical dependence. Even after detox, when physical dependence has been cured, addicts are at high risk for relapse. Psychological and social factors are often powerful triggers:
- Stress, especially sudden life stresses
- Cues in the environment, like visiting a neighborhood
- Social networks, like spending time with friends who continue to use drugs
These factors can create ongoing, nearly irresistible urges to use. With therapy, a person who has become dependent on drugs or alcohol more likely to overcome an addiction, and several types of therapy are helpful in this process. In particular, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and motivational interviewing (MI) have demonstrated effectiveness in this arena. Therapy can also provide a supplemental form of support for people attending a self-help group, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, or who are transitioning out of inpatient treatment or sober living.