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Best Therapy For Drug Addiction, Programs & Effectiveness

When a person develops a substance use disorder it is important for them to find the Best Therapy For Drug Addiction that suits their own individual needs. But before we get to the main topic, let’s see what drug addiction is about. According to the piece ‘Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction’, published by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, drug addiction is a chronic disease characterized by compulsive, or uncontrollable, drug seeking and use despite harmful consequences and changes in the brain, which can be long-lasting. 

These changes in the brain can lead to the harmful behaviors seen in people who use drugs. Drug addiction is also a relapsing disease. Relapse is the return to drug use after an attempt to stop. The path to drug addiction begins with the voluntary act of taking drugs. But over time, a person’s ability to choose not to do so becomes compromised. Seeking and taking the drug becomes compulsive. 

This is mostly due to the effects of long-term drug exposure on brain function. Addiction affects parts of the brain involved in reward and motivation, learning and memory, and control over behavior. Addiction is a disease that affects both the brain and behavior, those cases are better to be treated by medical-assisted addiction rehab programs. [1]

Best Therapy For Drug Addiction Programs

As stated by the American Addiction Centers, therapy for drug addiction commonly consists of a combination of group and individual therapy sessions that focus on teaching those in recovery the skills needed to get and stay sober as well as how to navigate various situations without turning to drugs or alcohol. [2]

However, it is necessary to note that there’s not a generic therapy that is the ‘best’ for everyone. Every person suffering from substance abuse disorder needs to find the Best Therapy For Drug Addiction that suits their own individual needs. 

Best Therapy For Drug Addiction
When a person develops a substance use disorder it is important for them to find the Best Therapy For Drug Addiction that suits their individual needs.

Under the authority of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Behavioral treatment is perhaps the most commonly utilized type of therapy for drug addiction that is frequently used during substance rehabilitation. Behavioral approaches help engage people in drug abuse treatment, provide incentives for them to remain abstinent, modify their attitudes and behaviors related to drug abuse, and increase their life skills to handle stressful circumstances and environmental cues that may trigger intense craving for drugs and prompt another cycle of compulsive abuse. [3]

A general behavioral therapeutic approach has been adapted into a variety of effective techniques. These include: [2]

Therapy For Drug Addiction: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) 

CBT can be applied as therapy for drug addiction in many different types of problematic substance use. People treated with CBT techniques learn to recognize and change their maladaptive behaviors. CBT can help people with coping skills, identifying risky situations and what to do about them, and preventing relapse. This approach is helpful because it can be paired with other techniques. The skills learned through CBT continue to be of benefit long after the initial therapy, and it can be used to treat co-occurring mental or physical health disorders as well. [2]

Therapy For Drug Addiction: Contingency Management (CM)

CM may also be effective in treating several types of substance use disorder—for example, alcohol, opioids, marijuana, and stimulants—and is used to encourage or reinforce sobriety. This drug addiction treatment method provides material rewards as motivation for desirable behaviors, such as maintaining sobriety. A major benefit of CM is that it can result in a reduction in the two of the biggest treatment-related issues: dropping out and relapse. [2]

Therapy For Drug Addiction: Motivational Interviewing (MI)

MI is a drug addiction treatment method of resolving ambivalence in recovering individuals to allow them to embrace their treatment efforts to best change their problematic substance use behavior. One benefit of MI is that, despite being facilitated by a therapist, those in recovery develop their own motivation and a plan for change over the course of several sessions, which can provide them with more of a sense of control over the course of their treatment. [2]

Therapy For Drug Addiction: Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) 

DBT can be adapted for many substance abuse cases, but mainly focuses on treating severe personality disorders, such as borderline personality disorder. DBT works to reduce cravings, help patients avoid situations or opportunities to relapse, assist in giving up actions that reinforce substance use, and learn healthy coping skills. [2]

Therapy For Drug Addiction: Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)

REBT helps patients understand their own thoughts and then helps to develop better habits and thinking in more positive and rational ways and gain healthier emotions. The basis for REBT is the idea that rational thinking comes from within; external situations are not what give one the feeling of happiness or unhappiness. [2]

Therapy For Drug Addiction: Matrix Model 

The Matrix Model employs a combination of various therapeutic techniques and was originally developed for the treatment of individuals with stimulant addictions. Against this backdrop of various techniques, therapists focus on rewarding good behaviors and teaching patients to believe in themselves; self-esteem, dignity, and self-worth. [2] The National Institute on Drug Abuse describes the Matrix Model as mostly focused on “relapse prevention, family and group therapies, drug education, and self-help participation”. [1]

Therapy For Drug Addiction: 12-Step Facilitation 

12-Step facilitation therapy aims to promote continued abstinence by engaging people in recovery with 12-Step peer support groups. Meetings are hosted by several different 12-Step fellowships varieties, including Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. [2]

How effective is the Therapy For Drug Addiction?

How effective behavioral therapy is for addiction treatment depends on the particular individual receiving treatment, their level of treatment engagement, the therapist and other members of the treatment team, and the type of therapy being provided. For example, research indicates that the skills that patients learn in cognitive behavioral therapy sessions tend to “stick” with them beyond treatment completion. In other words, what is taught in CBT seems to have a positive lasting impact on substance abuse patients.

Contingency management has also been shown to be effective in treating a range of substance use disorders, including those involving alcohol, stimulants, opioids, and marijuana. Giving patients tangible rewards, such as vouchers or even cash prizes, may help promote recovery by reinforcing abstinence and other positive behaviors. One clinical trial found that incentive-based therapy may also contribute to improved treatment retention. The American Addiction Centers notes. [2]

Best Therapy For Drug Addiction
The skills that patients learn in cognitive behavioral therapy sessions tend to “stick” with them beyond treatment completion.

Medication used in Therapy For Drug Addiction

When combined with counseling and behavioral therapies to assist in a patient’s recovery, medications play an important role in many addiction treatment protocols. Various medications may be used to help reduce cravings and manage withdrawal from opioids, alcohol, benzodiazepines, and other sedatives.

Opioid agonist medications such as buprenorphine and methadone as well as antagonist therapy with naltrexone may be used to help those with an addiction to opioids. For those in recovery from alcohol use disorders, medications like acamprosate, disulfiram, and naltrexone can be used to decrease continued drinking behavior. Additional medications may be used off-label for symptomatic support during withdrawal and treatment, as well as to address any co-occurring mental or medical health issues. [2]

Holistic and Alternative Therapy For Drug Addiction

There are alternate types of therapies that can be used to complement the more standard treatment types listed above to aid recovery. Though these techniques do serve as adequate substitutes for the substance abuse treatment programs themselves, they can help promote recovery through stress management and overall well being. 

Some of the complementary therapies are: [2]


Physical activity is a great way to reduce stress and release uncomfortable emotions. With some substances, early abstinence can be associated with weight gain, and exercise can help to manage this as well.


Recovery can be a stressful time, and meditation can have a positive impact on anxiety, depression, and overall health. Mindfulness meditation is one way to maximize the benefits one gets out of treatment and is a technique that can be practiced easily after treatment is completed.

Best Therapy For Drug Addiction
Massage therapy is another way to help reduce physical tension and assist in learning to relax without relying on a substance.


Yoga is another activity that comes in a variety of forms, with some gentle styles that focus on breathing and relaxation and others that are more strenuous. Yoga can have various benefits, including a reduction in stress or physical tension and feeling more self-aware, peaceful, stronger, or physically fit.


This technique is another way to help reduce physical tension and assist in learning to relax without relying on a substance. Massage can become part of your self-care routine and even be used to reward yourself for small milestones in your recovery journey. Some early studies show that massage could possibly help in managing various symptoms associated with different types of substance withdrawal.


Therapies include animal-assisted and equine-assisted therapy. The idea of using various therapy animals has been gaining popularity, and studies have illustrated that programs that incorporate horses into the treatment process have better outcomes for participants. People in these programs may stay in treatment longer and be more likely to finish treatment. They report that going to the stable lets them develop a persona other than that of “patient” and helps them feel accepted, valued, capable, and emotionally supported. Other animals may be used in therapy and some programs offer pet-friendly rehab treatment.

Drug Addiction Help in California

Substance Abuse Disorder is a serious condition that should not be taken lightly. We Level Up Treatment Center can provide you, or someone you love, the Best Therapy For Drug Addiction in a professional and safe way. Feel free to call us to speak with one of our counselors, we can inform you about different techniques to treat drug addiction by giving you relevant information, our specialists know what you are going through. Have in mind that each call is private and confidential. Get Drug Addiction Help in California.


[1] ‘Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction’ – National Institute on Drug Abuse (

[2] ‘Substance Abuse Treatment & Types of Addiction Therapy’ – American Addiction Centers (

[3] ‘Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition): Behavioral Therapies’ – National Institute on Drug Abuse (