Evidence-Based Therapies for Substance Use: Building a Foundation for Lasting Recovery

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When it comes to treating substance use disorders, evidence-based therapies play a pivotal role in helping individuals build a foundation for lasting recovery. These therapies are grounded in scientific research and have been proven effective in helping people overcome addiction and maintain sobriety over the long term.

Pura Vida Recovery offers evidence-based therapies for substance use and mental health disorders. These therapies help our clients understand their motivations for using drugs and alcohol and alternative ways to deal with uncomfortable emotions and stressful situations.

Furthermore, evidence-based therapies help our clients heal from past events in their lives, such as neglect, abuse, domestic violence and other traumatic events. When these negative experiences are processed in a safe and healthy setting, people are able to recover on all levels – physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually and socially.

Let’s explore some of the most common evidence-based therapies used in the treatment of substance use disorders, as well as their benefits in building a strong and sustainable recovery.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most widely recognized evidence-based therapies for substance use disorders. It focuses on identifying and changing unhealthy patterns of thinking and behavior associated with addiction.

CBT helps individuals develop coping skills to manage cravings, identify triggers and avoid relapse. By addressing the underlying thoughts and emotions that contribute to substance use, CBT empowers individuals to make positive changes in their lives and sustain long-term recovery.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) combines cognitive-behavioral techniques with mindfulness practices to help individuals with substance use disorders manage intense emotions and improve interpersonal skills.

DBT emphasizes the development of skills such as distress tolerance, emotional regulation and interpersonal effectiveness. By enhancing emotional resilience and promoting healthy relationships, DBT equips individuals with valuable tools to navigate the challenges of recovery successfully.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is an evidence-based approach that combines FDA-approved medications with therapy to address substance use disorders. Medications such as methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone are used to alleviate withdrawal symptoms, reduce cravings and normalize brain chemistry.

When combined with counseling and behavioral therapies, MAT provides a comprehensive and effective treatment approach for opioid and alcohol use disorders, promoting long-term recovery.

Motivational Interviewing (MI)

Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a client-centered, evidence-based therapy that aims to enhance an individual’s motivation to change their substance use behaviors. It involves a collaborative and empathetic approach, where therapists help individuals explore their ambivalence towards change and find intrinsic motivation to pursue a substance-free life.

MI recognizes that change is a process and supports individuals in identifying their personal goals and values, ultimately empowering them to make meaningful and lasting changes.

Trauma-Informed Therapy

Trauma informed therapy involves addressing trauma in a person’s life and how it has affected their behavior, mental health and ability to engage in treatment. It’s beneficial to those who have experienced trauma, either in childhood or as an adult.

Trauma-focused interventions teach clients different skills and strategies that can help them understand, cope with and process emotions tied to traumatic experiences. These interventions vary based on the age and traumatic experience of the person. Relaxation techniques are often incorporated as well.

Contingency Management (CM)

Contingency management (CM) is another type of evidence-based therapy that utilizes positive reinforcement to encourage abstinence from substances. It involves providing rewards, such as vouchers or privileges, for maintaining sobriety and achieving treatment goals.

CM is particularly effective in promoting initial abstinence and engagement in treatment. By incentivizing positive behaviors, individuals are motivated to continue making progress and remain committed to their recovery journey.

Family Therapy

Research shows that family therapy is an effective treatment option, particularly for at-risk youth. It’s also cost-effective compared to other therapies, as it primarily has families working together in a safe, supportive setting with a trained therapist.

Family therapy is especially helpful in helping at-risk youth overcome behavior problems, conduct disorder, delinquency and substance use. It takes into account the family’s unique values, cultures and barriers to treatment, with the goal of empowering families and increasing the motivation to change and break unhealthy generational patterns.

Evidence-Based Therapies Improve Substance Use and Mental Health Disorders

Evidence-based therapies are integral to building a strong foundation for lasting recovery from addiction. They have been scientifically proven to work by helping individuals overcome addiction and maintain long-lasting sobriety.

Pura Vida Recovery believes in healing the whole person – mind, body and spirit. This is why we offer evidence-based therapies, including CBT and trauma-informed therapy, as well as alternative therapies like mindfulness.

To learn more about our comprehensive approach to treating substance use disorders, contact our admissions team today. We can help you lay the groundwork for a lasting recovery, while building a life that you are proud of.