5 Benefits of Behavioral Counseling in Rehab
One of the practices doctors and therapists use to help addicts recover from drug abuse is behavioral counseling. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, behavioral counseling or behavioral therapy helps people to understand and cope with the stressful situations that trigger the drug abuse. These therapies are extremely effective when dealing with both the causes and consequences of long and short term substance use. They benefit the user in a variety of ways.
Behavioral Therapy Benefits
Behavioral therapy is a form of therapy that modifies an undesirable behavior. It helps people become engaged in treatment, provides incentives for continuing treatment, and restructures the behaviors that cause abuse. The many types of behavioral therapy have different benefits but all behavioral therapy has at least five benefits in common.
1. Relapse Prevention
Preventing relapse is one of the most important benefits of behavioral therapy. In this form of therapy, you learn how to:
- deal with triggers or triggering events,
- work on emotional issues that cause drug use,
- deal with the cause of the addiction, and
- deal with portions of the addiction that continue to be a problem such as chronic pain or chronic stress.
By learning how to deal with your triggers and situations that cause drug use, you reduce the chance that you will relapse. A trigger is a person, place, object, or other circumstance that makes you want to use the drug again. Some examples of a trigger are:
- a person you use drugs with,
- a situation where you would normally turn to drugs, and
- a thought pattern that causes you to use drugs.
Triggers are one of the number one reasons why people relapse. Learning to deal with triggers is a key part of behavioral therapy.
When you use drugs, you develop patterns of using them. In order to stop using drugs, you have to be motivated to do so. It is extremely difficult to change old behavioral patterns. Once you establish a pattern it is difficult to figure out how to change the pattern to a new one. You might not remember what your patterns were before the drug use. People are generally resistant to change. Lack of motivation to change is
In behavioral therapy, your therapist or counselor becomes your motivator and coach. This helps you want to change. Having someone help you motivate to change is extremely important especially in the very beginning. According to the National Library of Medicine, addressing motivational barriers is key to creating positive change in a person who abuses drugs or alcohol.
3. Improved Relationships and Bonding
Behavioral therapy in all of its many forms encourages people to develop a positive support structure. This support structure gives an abuser a place to turn during the worst of the cravings and emotional upset. They provide positive encouragement when a person is struggling with the worst of the addiction.
Relationships are often destroyed by drug use. Behavioral therapy and family behavioral therapy helps to mend these relationships. Most people can regain some of the relationships due to the drug abuse as they continue to improve and learn how to interact with people without the drugs.
4. Improved Self-Esteem
Many drug users start using due to poor self-esteem. If this was not a factor originally, it rapidly becomes an issue during continued drug use. Most people, who engage in behavioral therapy, start to build a positive self-esteem. Higher self-esteem leads to feelings of high self-worth. This leads to believing they deserve a better life than they have. A strong desire to improve makes it easier to leave the drugs behind.
5. Development of Positive Thought Patterns
Positive thought patterns are lacking in people who abuse drugs. The negative thinking leads to negative behaviors. If someone is feeling bleak, desolate, or like they have no future they are more likely to use drugs to escape these feelings. This escape is the reason why many people turn to drugs. Behavioral therapy teaches abusers to change the negative thought patterns. It helps people stop self-defeating behaviors like continuing to use drugs. Once the reasons to use is gone many people stop using without any other measures.
Behavioral Therapy Risks
Fortunately, there are no serious risks to behavioral therapy. Some patients are bothered by the emotions that behavioral therapy may dredge up but this is not particularly risky. Although some people report worsening depression after a behavioral therapy session, most feel better once they are unburdened and are working towards a solution to their problems with drug addiction.
It is important to remember that there are several different techniques used in behavioral therapy and many therapists available. Not all techniques in behavioral therapy work for all addictions. A few of the techniques are:
- coping mechanisms,
- social skills adaptation and training,
- breathing methods,
- relaxation methods,
- focus activities,
- role playing, and
- talk therapy.
Each of these techniques is proven to be beneficial for helping recovering addicts. Most therapists are versed in all of them and use the combination that works best for the individual addict. There is no set course of behavioral therapy and it can continue as long as necessary.
Behavioral therapy is one of the treatments doctors recommend for recovering addicts. Its techniques and practices help addicts get their life back from the drugs. For more information about the benefits of behavioral counseling in rehab, call us at 800-895-1695. We can help.