This branch of psychology deals with the treatment of people who are dependent on any psychoactive substance like alcohol, cannabis, opioids, nicotine etc.
The goal of the therapy is to break the denial, that is, lack of willingness of the patient to leave the substance. The therapist makes the patient aware of all the short and long term pros and cons of the substance which is effecting or will affect his family, health (both physical and psychological), finances, work and social relations, in the future, so that he is informed and enabled to confront substance dependence.
A combined treatment of medicines and psychotherapy works best for patients with any kind of substance dependence and substance abuse. In some extreme cases, hospitalisation or staying in a rehab centre may also be suggested.
Psychotherapy is crucial before, during and after the pharmacological treatment. Majority of the patients who have been dependent on any kind of substance, face the problem of relapse. There are many triggers which can cause relapses like extreme stress, emotions, social obligation, exposure, or even the mere desire to have a limited quantity of the substance which slowly increases back to the same level. Psychotherapy plays a crucial role in psychoeducation of the patients about all the warning signs and how to control or deal with them. Researchers have shown that patients who continued with the therapy process even after getting sober were at a lower risk of relapse than people who did not continue the therapy.
Group therapy or support groups work best as people can share their emotions and feelings about the rehabilitation process. They also help each other to stay on treatment.
Family Interventions, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Motivational Enhancement Therapy, Behaviour Therapy are part of the de-addiction program.
The treatment can be a long process and depends on the severity of the abuse, the history and the duration of the dependence.
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