Addiction treatment engages different types of therapies to encourage an individual with a substance use disorder to abstain from drugs or alcohol and stay in the treatment program. Evidence-based treatment models are commonly employed to meet those goals, and the treatment models used have been shown to work.
What is evidence-based therapy? According to Positive Psychology, “Evidence-Based Therapy (EBT), more broadly referred to as evidence-based practice (EBP), is any therapy that has shown to be effective in peer-reviewed scientific experiments.”
The definition also includes a patient’s actions, clinical state, and circumstances. In effect, the patient as a whole — mind, body, and soul, is considered in this type of therapy.”
Positive Psychology also noted that evidence-based therapy has two main goals: increased quality of treatment and increased accountability.
Pharmacotherapies are a type of evidence-based treatment that involves using medication to treat addiction. Some types of this therapy are nicotine patches, gum, or lozenges to manage nicotine cravings, and medication-assisted treatment (MAT), which utilizes opioids to treat addiction. There are some cases when drugs are used to replace a more harmful substance while a patient goes through medical detoxification. MAT is more often used for patients who have tried traditional treatment options but relapsed.
Behavioral therapies engage individuals in addiction therapy, helping them modify their behaviors and attitudes related to substance abuse. These therapies also offer incentives to remain abstinent and add to people’s life skills so that they can deal with stressful circumstances and cues that can trigger a relapse.
Several different types of behavioral therapy options are widely used in addiction treatment. It is likely that an individual in addiction treatment might go through more than one of them during their treatment program.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a popular and regularly used type of evidence-based treatment. It is a method employed to help prevent relapse by helping an individual learn what processes lead to substance abuse. The individual will learn to identify and correct troublesome behaviors by applying a variety of different skills that are used to stop substance abuse and the co-occurring problems that come with it. One valuable aspect of CBT is teaching the individual to recognize their triggers and cravings early on so that they can develop healthy strategies to cope with them.
Motivational Enhancement Therapy
Motivational enhancement therapy engages the individual in the process of developing a plan based on their motivations and putting it in action. It envelopes problem-solving skills and is a core part of the therapy. It is usually introduced early in addiction treatment so that the individual can get past denial of their substance abuse early on.
Contingency Management Interventions
Contingency enhancement therapy is a type of evidence-based treatment that gives the individual rewards to reinforce positive behaviors, such as staying sober and staying in treatment. The different incentives for this type of evidence-based addiction treatment offered are:
Voucher-Based Reinforcement – The individual receives a voucher with a monetary value for each drug-free urine sample provided. The voucher value starts off low and increases with each drug-free urine sample. Vouchers can be redeemed to food items, movie passes, or other goods or services that are not drug-related.
Prize Incentives – An individual can earn chances to win cash prizes instead of the vouchers. Throughout treatment (usually 90 days), the individual that provides a negative drug urine sample or breath test can draw from a bowl or box for a chance to win a prize between $1 and $100. The number of draws the person can take starts at one and increases with each consecutive negative drug test. Prize incentives can also be used to persuade the person to stay in treatment by giving them a draw for each counseling session they attend. However, one positive drug sample or unexcused absence from counseling resets the count back to one prize draw.