Overcoming an addiction is difficult even for the strongest of people. Cognitive behavioural therapy, motivational interviewing, and family therapy are often the first strategies people and health care professionals use to treat addiction. However, these treatments may not be enough to help people fully recover from an addiction. Instead, many people need a combination of drug therapy and additional support strategies. Here are eight effective support strategies that can help people overcome an addiction.
Using Motivational Incentives And Rewards
Motivational incentives involve rewarding people for good behaviours, such as passing drug screening tests. By replacing the biological reward of consuming a substance or engaging in a compulsive behaviour with a reward for performing desirable behaviours, it is possible to curb an addiction and reach sobriety milestones. Some people are able to use this strategy on their own. However, it is typically more effective when someone else delivers the incentives and tracks progress. The rewards can take many different forms, including benefits, privileges, money. Studies show that monetary incentives are highly effective for treating drug and alcohol addictions. Generally, the larger the incentives are, the more effective the strategy is.
Creating A Network Of Support
Addiction is difficult to overcome alone. Individual and group counselling can be effective treatment strategies for addiction because they provide support from knowledgeable, understanding therapists or other addicts at varying stages of recovery. Many addicts find it helpful to attend support groups because it shows them that there are other people who have struggled with similar problems and are overcoming them. Family therapy can also be useful for creating a strong support structure within the addict's family. Some people even choose to join a therapeutic community living home, where people struggling with similar challenges tackle their addictions together.
Listening To Doctors And Therapists
It is important to listen to the advice of doctors, therapists, and counsellors. Not only do they want to help, but they are professionally trained to do so. Their advice is a combination of education in addiction studies and experience in helping others overcome addictions. If these professionals prescribe medication, for example, it is important to take it properly. Even if the first drug prescribed does not work, a doctor can prescribe a new one and continuously tailor a patient's treatment to his or her needs. In addition, it is important to attend all health care appointments so that doctors and therapists can monitor progress and adjust treatments as necessary.
Changing Everything Else
Although it may sound strange, another effective strategy for combatting addiction is to change everything other than the addiction. Because an addiction is a neurological compulsion, it can be very difficult to change. Other aspects of an individual's lifestyle are often easier to modify. As a result, it is possible to overcome an addiction by adopting a new routine and following it strictly. This may include attending all medical appointments, starting a regimented diet, and exercising daily. A negative habit is often easier to break when it is embedded in a generally positive lifestyle. There are many self-help programs that can help addicts change their lifestyle and habits to overcome their addiction.
Learning About The Addiction
An important step in treating an addiction is learning about it. It is far more difficult to overcome something that is unknown than to fight something that is well understood. By recognizing an addiction for what it is, an addict can learn about the addiction's weaknesses and learn how to manipulate the brain’s reward system against unwanted compulsions. In addition, by learning about addiction treatments, an addict can understand what steps to take, when to take them, and how to do it in a way that will minimize the risk of a relapse.
Coping With Stress
A major driver of addiction relapse is stress. After all, addictions are often a result of stress management gone awry. Thus, reducing stress is essential when attempting to overcome an addiction. Being aware of personal triggers that are most likely to increase stress helps to limit the consequences of it and reduce the risk of a relapse. For this reason, stress management strategies are often a key component of many therapies. Life can be unpredictable, and stressful events are inevitable. As a result, learning to cope with stress in healthy ways is critical for overcoming an addiction.
Seeking Inpatient And Outpatient Rehabilitation
Inpatient rehabilitation is available when stress and challenging life events become too much. Inpatient rehab usually consists of intensive, professional treatment at a facility. It typically involves a full course of anti-addiction medication and support from a team of therapists and clinicians who want to see the addict succeed. Although some addicts need to allow their clinical team to control all aspects of their treatment, others must have some independence. For these people, outpatient rehabilitation is ideal because it provides access to an intensive treatment without forcing people to give up their freedom by living in an inpatient facility. Some clinicians recommend an outpatient program at the end of an inpatient program to ensure adicts succeed on the road to recovery.
Getting Additional Treatment When Necessary
One of the most important strategies for treating addiction is knowing when more support is needed. This requires addicts to recognize the limitations of their current treatment plan and to ask for additional help when necessary. If therapy is not doing enough, a program is no longer working, or a relapse feels imminent, it is time to get additional treatment. Conquering an addiction can take multiple attempts, and there is nothing wrong with returning to earlier steps of a treatment plan to reinforce positive habits. In addition, there are always additional strategies addicts can try if their current ones are not working.