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Evidence Based Addiction Treatment

Evidence Based Addiction Treatment

by Isabella Coronel
Published: Last Updated on

Treatment Methods Grounded in Evidence-Based Practices

Evidence-based addiction treatment programs are an approach to helping those struggling with substance use disorder (SUD) that employs therapeutic techniques and interventions that have been scientifically proven to be effective. In other words, it is a form of healthcare that uses techniques and evidence from clinical research and clinical practice in order to develop the most effective strategies for providing well-rounded and comprehensive care for those suffering from drug and alcohol abuse.

In the past, many alcohol addiction treatments were based on anecdotal evidence, or they were driven by a particular philosophical or ideological approach. While these treatments may have worked for some individuals, they were often not based on solid scientific evidence, and as a result, did not produce highly effective treatment outcomes for many people.

Evidence-based approaches, on the other hand, are grounded in the latest scientific research and are designed to provide the most effective treatments for those struggling with drug and alcohol use disorders.

If you or a loved one needs help with addiction treatment, keep reading to learn more about evidence based addiction treatments and how Catalina Behavioral Health can help you find the help you deserve.

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Evidence Based Behavioral Therapies for Substance Use Disorders

Evidence-based practice is an important part of addiction medicine. These methods have been scientifically studied and published in peer-reviewed journals, providing an evidence-based treatment approach to fighting substance use disorders. Evidence-based addiction treatment programs must also be standardized, consistent, and measurable in order to ensure favorable outcomes and higher abstinence rates in substance abuse treatment.

It’s so important to use evidence-based treatment methods to treat drug or alcohol use that the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) created an Evidence-Based Practices Resource Center to provide clinicians with information on evidence-based treatment methods and how to incorporate these behavioral therapies and other treatments into clinical decision making.

Common types of evidence-based treatment for drug and alcohol addiction include the following:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as an Evidence Based Treatment

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of therapy that focuses on how our thoughts and beliefs shape our behaviors and emotions, as well as identifying unhealthy patterns and working towards replacing them with positive ones. It helps individuals identify triggers that lead to substance abuse, the development of coping skills to manage cravings and make long-term lifestyle changes.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

Dialectical behavioral therapy is a type of therapy that combines elements of cognitive-behavioral therapy with mindfulness and acceptance-based techniques. DBT helps individuals develop healthy coping skills and improve their ability to regulate their emotions and thoughts. This type of therapy is particularly useful for individuals who struggle with a borderline personality disorder or other mental health conditions that contribute to substance abuse.

Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR)

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a type of therapy that uses eye movements to help individuals process traumatic experiences and reduce symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). EMDR has also been shown to be effective in treating substance abuse, as individuals who have experienced trauma are often more likely to struggle with drug or alcohol use.

Motivational Interviewing

Motivational interviewing, or motivational enhancement therapy, is a style of counseling that works towards creating an environment where those suffering from drug and alcohol problems are encouraged to communicate honestly about their challenges and come up with their own solutions for recovery rather than relying solely on therapists’ advice or guidance.

This form of therapy also helps build motivation for change, develop insight around behaviors and choices, address ambivalence, and increase engagement in recovery efforts.

Twelve Step Groups

Twelve Step Group

The 12-step program, first introduced by Alcoholics Anonymous, is a set of guidelines for recovery from alcohol use disorders, opioid use disorders, and other substance use issues. It is based on the belief that individuals struggling with addiction need the support and encouragement of others who have been in the same situation. The 12 steps involve admitting powerlessness over alcohol, seeking help from a higher power, and making amends for past wrongs.

What makes 12-step groups such an effective treatment for substance addiction is their focus on community and accountability. Members are encouraged to share their experiences and offer support to one another, helping to reduce feelings of isolation and shame.

Additionally, working through the steps with a sponsor who has already successfully completed them offers a clear path to recovery and helps keep individuals accountable for their alcohol consumption and other actions.

But the benefits of 12-step groups go beyond just feeling emotionally supported. In fact, studies have shown that participation in these programs can significantly improve positive outcomes for individuals struggling with addiction. For example, a systematic review of several studies found that individuals who participated in 12-step groups were more likely to achieve and maintain sobriety compared to those who did not participate.

Additionally, 12-step groups can complement other approaches to addiction treatment, such as therapy and medication-assisted treatment, to provide a comprehensive approach to recovery. At Catalina, our holistic and trauma informed treatment approach can increase the chances of successful long-term recovery and improve overall well-being.

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Evidence Based Practices: Relapse Prevention

Relapse prevention is a critical evidence-based practice in the recovery process for individuals struggling with substance use disorders. A relapse prevention plan is a customized and comprehensive approach to avoiding the triggers and being aware of the warning signs that can lead to a relapse.

Here are some key components to consider when developing a relapse prevention plan:

Identifying triggers and warning signs

The first step in creating a relapse prevention plan is to identify your triggers and warning signs. This can include stress, boredom, negative emotions, or exposure to people, places, or things associated with substance use. Understanding what triggers your drug or alcohol abuse is an important step in avoiding these triggers and reducing the risk of relapse.

Developing coping skills

Once you have identified your trauma triggers, the next step is to develop coping skills to help you manage stress, negative emotions, and other triggers. This may include techniques like deep breathing, exercise, meditation, or mindfulness. The goal is to find healthy ways to manage the challenges of life and reduce the likelihood of relapse.

Building a support system

Having a strong support system is a critical part of any relapse prevention plan. This can include friends, family, support groups, group therapy, or a therapist. Having people you can turn to when you are struggling can help you stay on track and avoid relapse.

Staying accountable

Staying accountable is a crucial part of any relapse prevention plan. This can involve setting achievable goals, tracking progress, and regularly checking in with a therapist or support group. Staying accountable helps you stay focused on your recovery and reduces the risk of relapse.

Planning for high-risk situations

Finally, it is important to plan for high-risk situations that may increase the risk of relapse. This may include events or situations that are associated with substance use or that trigger cravings.

Other Types of Evidence Based Programs to Treat Addiction

Family Therapy

There are other effective addiction treatment approaches available for those who don’t find success with the evidence-based approaches discussed above. Other specialized therapies and interventions that address addiction from multiple angles can be utilized, including the following:

Family Therapy: Family therapy is one of the most common types of evidence-based treatment for drug and alcohol use and focuses on family dynamics and how they impact the patient’s behavior. It can also help family members recognize any enabling behaviors they may be engaging in, as well as provide education on how to support their loved one through drug addiction treatment and recovery.

Talk Therapy: Talk therapy helps people process their thoughts, feelings, and emotions related to their addiction. It provides a safe space to explore underlying issues such as trauma or mental health concerns which may be contributing factors in a person’s substance use disorder.

Experiential Therapy: Experiential therapy uses activities such as art or music to explore emotions.

Wilderness Expeditions: Finally, wilderness expeditions combine outdoor activities with intensive therapy sessions in order to help people develop interpersonal skills, gain self-confidence and reestablish healthy relationships with peers.

What Medications Are Used in Drug Abuse and Addiction Treatment?

Medications play an important role in the treatment and prevention of drug abuse and addiction. They can help individuals manage withdrawal symptoms, reduce cravings, and support long-term recovery.

Here are some of the most commonly used medications in medication assisted treatment:

Methadone: Methadone is a long-acting opioid medication that is used to treat opioid addiction. It works by binding to the same receptors in the brain as other opioids, but it does so more slowly, reducing the risk of overdose and helping individuals manage withdrawal symptoms and cravings.

Buprenorphine: Buprenorphine is another medication that is used to treat opioid addiction. It works in a similar way to methadone, but it has a lower risk of overdose and is easier to administer. 

Naltrexone: Naltrexone is a medication that blocks the effects of opioids on the brain. It is used to reduce cravings and prevent relapse in individuals who are trying to recover from opioid addiction.

Disulfiram: Disulfiram (Antabuse) is a medication that is used to treat alcohol dependence. It works by causing unpleasant physical symptoms when an individual drinks alcohol, reducing the likelihood of relapse.

Acamprosate: Acamprosate is a medication that is used to treat alcohol dependence. It works by reducing cravings and managing the symptoms of withdrawal.

Antidepressants: Antidepressants are medications that are used to treat depression and anxiety. They can also be used to help individuals manage mood swings and other emotional symptoms that can accompany substance abuse and addiction.

Anti-anxiety medications: Anti-anxiety medications are used in anxiety and panic disorder treatment. They can help individuals manage the stress and anxiety that can accompany substance abuse and addiction. 

It’s important to note that medications should not be used as a sole treatment for drug abuse and addiction. Instead, they should be used in combination with behavioral therapies and other forms of support to help individuals achieve long-term recovery.

Recognizing the Signs: When Someone You Love Needs Help with Drug and Alcohol Use

When Someone You Love Needs Help with Drug and Alcohol Use

Addiction is a complex issue that can affect anyone at any age. It’s important to be aware of the warning signs so you can identify when someone might need help. Although not everyone who struggles with addiction will display the same signs, there are some common indicators that could suggest someone needs professional addiction treatment.

One of the most obvious signs of addiction is a change in behavior. This can include missing work or school, neglecting responsibilities, and withdrawing from social activities. Additionally, individuals struggling with addiction may experience financial problems, legal trouble that can lead to court-ordered rehab, and strained relationships.

Physical changes can also be a sign of addiction. This may include changes in weight, sleep patterns, and personal hygiene. Additionally, individuals may exhibit erratic or aggressive behavior and struggle with coordination or balance.

Changes in Mood as Symptoms of Substance Use Disorders

It is also important to pay attention to changes in mood and personality. Individuals struggling with addiction may become increasingly depressed, anxious, or irritable. They may also struggle with memory problems and have difficulty concentrating.

Additionally, take note of any accompanying mental health issues that could indicate an underlying addiction problem such as depression, anxiety, paranoia, aggressive behavior, suicidal thoughts, hallucinations, and other symptoms.

If you suspect that someone you love is struggling with addiction, it is important to talk to them and offer your support. Encourage them to seek treatment and consider reaching out to a professional for guidance or attend a 12-step meeting to get started.

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Your Destination for Evidence Based Addiction Treatment

The benefits of evidence-based addiction treatment extend beyond improved treatment outcomes for individual patients; it also helps reduce the burden on already busy clinical staff and facilities by streamlining processes into efficient systems that produce better results faster.

Ultimately, everyone involved benefits: patients recover more quickly and comprehensively; clinical staff makes better use of their time and resources; providers save money by optimizing their services; and society saves money overall by avoiding costly consequences like hospital stays or criminal convictions due to drug abuse.

Evidence-based addiction treatment has proven itself time and again as an effective way of helping those who struggle with substance use disorders create lasting change in their lives.

If you need help finding effective substance abuse treatment, contact Catalina Behavioral Health today. All calls are completely confidential, so please reach out with confidence today to get options for your recovery!

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