Therapy is a Necessity for Fighting an Addiction

Therapy for Addiction
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The WebMD site about addiction describes the overall addiction-fighting picture quickly and clearly: “…detox is only the beginning of a long-term battle against craving and relapse.

Counseling is an essential part of drug abuse treatment for many people. Cognitive behavioral therapy, family counseling, and other therapy approaches can help people recovering from opioid addiction stay clean. Psychotherapy can also treat the other mental health conditions that often contribute to prescription drug abuse…”

Prescription drug abuse/addiction is only part of the overall addiction rehabilitation world. The subtleties and clearly obvious problems associated with addiction are too numerous to mention in a brief article, but we can consider a few of them. The problem which stands out among the others is that addicts want some sort of psychological or physical pain relief. That’s the impetus behind their addiction. How and why a person ended up addicted to some substance or other is a personal story unique to the individual. What’s universal, though, is the need for outside help to overcome the problem.

Psychological issues which might lead to addiction problems are plentiful. They can range from poor self-esteem to peer pressure, to various forms of abuse and/or trauma to unresolved grief such as the loss of loved ones, to risk-taking behaviors (e.g., gambling, sex addiction, incessant purchases) and beyond.

Physical relief goals can be caused by an accidental addiction to pain killers, a decades-long phenomenon. It can be brought on by intractable pain caused by accidents or disease processes, and the relative ease of acquiring prescription painkillers that are addictive (Oxycontin®, among other prescription narcotics, has been a popular contender for the problem).

Discontinuing the use of addictive medications is a daunting prospect, and outside help is usually necessary. Think of illustrative examples that you might recognize in fiction and real life: Mrs. Dubose, the pain-wracked woman determined to break free of her accidental morphine addiction in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird and real life’s Barbara Gordon whose breakout 1979 autobiography of how she became unintentionally addicted to prescription medications described her struggle to end the problem. The book promoted widespread social recognition of the problem and facilitated recovery for many people no longer ashamed to admit that they also needed help to break free of their medications.

Other people in similar situations face the same challenges; they did not seek out, nor risk, addiction. The accidental by-product of legitimate behavior, a prescription medication addiction nevertheless necessitates focused therapeutic efforts for ending the problem. Those efforts are also necessary for people who chose to become habituated to substance abuse(s). Recreational substance abuse is in a class all its own, and also requires outside support for ending the problem.

Addiction rehabilitation therapy addresses accidental and intentional addiction. Therapists help addicts to understand how their problems developed, why they require detoxification (it allows the body to heal and to achieve safety-oriented stabilization), and how conversational interactions between therapists and addicts can resolve plus prevent problems.

Relapse is the major problem of addiction-ending efforts. Despite an addict’s conscientious efforts to end substance abuse, he or she needs emotional and physical support to withstand the triggers that provoke a desire for the substances in the first place. Practitioners of the 12-Steps programs for alcohol and other substance abuses know that maintenance (i.e., continued participation in AA meetings) is critically important. It is a fundamental concept in rehabilitation efforts. Without that support system, an addict is left vulnerable to renewed and enduring addictions and to a downward spiral in their well-being.

Addicts face a long-term effort to withstand cravings and relapse. Their heroic struggles to make that effort warrant family, collegial and society-wide respect.