Exposure therapy in addiction treatment

Exposure therapy in addiction treatment

Exposure therapy is a specific type of cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy technique that is often used in the treatment of PTSD and phobias, but exposure therapy is also used in addiction treatment. Exposure therapy in addiction treatment works the same way it does when it is used to treat PTSD and phobias.

Exposure therapy in addiction treatment, just like when it is used for patients with PTSD, is intended to help the patient face and gain control of their addiction. The way exposure therapy in addiction treatment does this is by literally exposing the addict or alcoholic to certain fears, triggers, traumas and stressors. Exposure therapy is done carefully so as not to flood the patient but rather build up to the most severe stressors. The point of this exposure therapy is to desensitize the addict or alcoholic to potential stressors and triggers.

There are many studies that point towards alcoholics and addicts having automatic responses to cues such as seeing as alcohol or places they may have used. Much like when someone who is hungry sees food wants to eat they believe that the alcoholic responds to alcohol in the same way. So in order to combat this exposure therapy in addiction treatment, literally exposes the alcoholic to cues that would normally create a response or want to drink in the alcoholic and gives the alcoholic or addict coping methods or techniques to use to combat and eventually no longer respond in the old way they used to.

Exposure therapy in addiction treatment is a very new concept that doesn’t have a lot of proof of effectiveness to back it up. The rates of relapse after someone has been through exposure therapy have not been studied. While exposure therapy for PTSD has been effective for the treatment of trauma and stress there has been no proof that it will work in addiction treatment. In fact, exposure therapy in addiction treatment could end up having the opposite effect, instead of helping actually hurting the alcoholic.

In one study this is what they had to say about exposure therapy in addiction treatment:

“There continues to be little evidence for the superior efficacy of Cue Exposure Therapy (CET) over other forms of substance abuse treatment. However, it should be emphasized that the efficacy trials did not find CET to be ineffective; indeed CET subjects improved significantly from baseline, though these improvements did not differ from the other active treatment conditions.”

And of course there are all the other problems that anyone who is in the addiction treatment field knows: “Studies investigating Cue Exposure Therapy continue to be challenged by a number of methodological problems, including small sample sizes, high dropout rates, lack of objective measures of substance use and lack of procedures for preventing substance use between extinction sessions.”

The truth about addiction and alcoholism most likely is that any kind of addiction treatment is better than no treatment at all. But when it comes to treating alcoholism and addiction, in my opinion, how can you possibly expect an alcoholic to want to stop drinking by exposing them to things that make them want to drink; even with the better tools to cope with it etc.

http://www.benthamscience.com/open/toaddj/articles/V003/SI0055TOADDJ/92TOADDJ.pdf

 

Do I Need Therapy?

Do I Need Therapy?

There was a time where even if you didn’t really need therapy you probably should still get therapy just because of its added benefits. But if you really only want to utilize therapy if you really need it than this blog is for you. It can sometimes be difficult to have enough self-awareness and insight to realize that you need therapy. Usually some event has to happen in order to trigger the awareness that you might need some help or just someone to talk to. Luckily there are ways to know if you are looking for answers if you need therapy.

Here are some signs that you might need therapy:

  • If you’re unable to function as you normally do.
  • If you feel unlike yourself – if you’re sleeping a lot more, or more anxious, or less sociable, or just in a weird mood you can’t shake – then don’t simply resign yourself to a less-satisfying life. You need therapy.
  • If you’re dealing with an issue you’ve never dealt with before and it’s making you anxious and unsure about how to proceed. Every now and then, unprecedented situations might come up that make you feel stuck or uncomfortable. Getting therapy offers the chance to talk about ideas with a neutral party who doesn’t have a stake in the outcome.
  • If you need clarity or reassurance. We so rarely give ourselves time to sit in peace and think through the things we’re experiencing. But if you book a therapy session, you’re committing to an hour of sitting and talking through whatever is on your mind.
  • If you’re falling into old patterns or dealing with old issues that aren’t healthy. We all have negative habits and tendencies, for example smoking or possessiveness in a relationship; that we have to actively work to suppress. But if the battle starts to seem way more uphill, it’s a sign that you can’t handle it on your own and may need therapy.
  • If you’re want to gain greater insight into your behavior. Sometimes we can get stuck and aren’t really sure how to make the changes we want to see in our lives. The right therapist can help show you why you make the choices you make, which should help you to make any changes.
  • If you can’t get past an interpersonal conflict. It’s common for family members to become estranged or even simmer indefinitely over the same old issues. Trying therapy can help bring the two of you closer together, or at least help you figure out how to stop contributing to the problem.
  •  If you have difficulty moving beyond any particular issue in your life. Sometimes we have problem to address and don’t know where to start whether it’s related to your love life, family life, self-image or professional stability.

Most people can benefit from therapy and needing therapy doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with you it just merely means that you want to better your life and your surroundings. There is no reason that you have to settle for anything than the best life for yourself and that’s why if you need therapy you go out and start getting it!