What Therapies Are Used In Addiction Treatment?

Addiction is a complex health condition that requires a personalized approach to create an effective treatment plan. As a result, alcohol and drug addiction treatment centers often employ a variety of different treatment options to provide appropriate care. 

What Therapies Are Used In Addiction Treatment?

Substance abuse has far-reaching consequences for your physical and mental health, which both require their own treatment approaches. 

Comprehensive substance abuse treatment programs typically use a combination of evidence-based treatments and holistic therapies to meet those needs. 

What Are Evidence-Based Therapy Treatments For Addiction?

An evidence-based treatment is a treatment that has been scientifically proven through research and peer review. 

Addiction therapy often includes several different evidence-based treatments to meet the individual requirements of their clientele. 

Types Of Psychotherapy For Substance Abuse Treatment

Psychotherapy is a general term for the act of talking through your problems with a qualified healthcare professional. 

In the context of addiction treatment, behavioral health therapy is the most commonly used type of therapy in both inpatient and outpatient treatment programs.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an approach that teaches you to recognize self-destructive thoughts. 

By learning to question the root of those thoughts, you can learn to adjust your thinking and the harmful behaviors that occur as a result.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is derived from CBT and is specifically geared toward people who experience more intense emotional reactions as a result of mental health issues.

The primary focus of DBT is to accept the reality of your current situation while recognizing areas where you can enact meaningful change by addressing your own behavior.

Motivational Interviewing

Motivational interviewing is best-suited to people who may not be ready to actively pursue their own drug use or alcohol addiction recovery. 

This approach to psychotherapy is defined by the exploration of your own ambivalence and finding the motivation you need to start making changes in your life. 

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is a form of medication therapy that uses prescription medications to facilitate detox and the recovery process.

Depending on the type of treatment, MAT can help to reduce cravings, manage withdrawal symptoms, and block the euphoric effects of alcohol or opiates. 

Methadone Maintenance

Methadone maintenance offers a safe, oral alternative to illicit opioid use. 

This treatment is often used to help slowly address physical dependency, but it can also be offered as a long-term form of harm reduction. 

Suboxone Therapy

Suboxone is a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. 

The buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist that helps to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Naloxone (Narcan) directly counters the effects of the opioid for safer use.

Naltrexone Therapy

Naltrexone blocks the euphoric and sedative effects of opioids as well as alcohol use. 

This medication is usually given to eliminate the physical rewards of substance abuse, making it easier to resist cravings and breaking down dependency as a part of relapse prevention.

Group Counseling In Addiction Therapy

Support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous are the most common forms of addiction treatment, and some version can be found in virtually every substance abuse treatment program. 

While the nature of group counseling can change dramatically between programs with different core philosophies, the primary goal of creating an empathetic community is the same. 

Group therapy sessions are often supplemented with individual therapy and family therapy to address multiple levels of need.

Trauma-Informed Therapy

Trauma-informed care is a feature of many evidence-based treatment programs. 

This approach teaches staff to be more aware of the ubiquity of trauma and the ways trauma can affect responses to drug and alcohol treatment. 

Holistic Therapies

Holistic therapies are a helpful group of supplementary exercises that can make addiction treatment a more enriching experience. 

At this time, the evidence does not support the idea that holistic therapies alone are able to address substance abuse. However, they can certainly help when paired with other treatments. 

Artistic Expression

Art therapy and music therapy are two of the most common forms of holistic treatments. These therapies encourage creativity and can help to improve your mental health.

Animal Therapy

Equine therapy and dedicated time with therapy animals can also help to boost your mental health by encouraging the release of oxytocin, a hormone that we normally associate with love.

Experiential Therapy

Experiential therapies incorporate a wide range of activities. Winter sports, water sports, and hiking are some common examples. 

These activities get you out into nature, which can have a positive impact on your self-esteem and general sense of well-being.

Meditation And Mindfulness

Wellness activities like meditation, mindfulness, and yoga can teach important coping skills while also allowing you to recenter your mental health. 

You may continue to use these techniques beyond your substance use treatment to address more difficult points in your recovery. 

Physical Activity

Exercise isn’t just good for your body, it’s also beneficial to your mental health. 

Many treatment centers with holistic programs include physical exercise to boost your natural production of hormones that help you handle stress and reduce your need for illegal substances.

FAQs For Substance Abuse Treatment Therapies

With so many therapy options to choose from, it can be difficult to know what programs are best for your unique needs. 

In order to help you make an informed decision, our team has gathered answers to some of your most frequently asked questions. 

Why Is Behavioral Therapy Such A Popular Addiction Treatment Option?

Behavioral therapy is a popular addiction treatment option because it is one of the most effective forms of treatment available. 

These therapies help to address the cognitive and behavioral aspects of addiction, providing people with the tools they need to make meaningful change. 

In addition to supporting addiction recovery, behavioral therapy is an important tool for addressing co-occurring mental health conditions.

Can I Refuse To Participate In Specific Therapies During My Addiction Treatment?

There are numerous reasons that you may have for wanting to avoid a specific kind of therapy during your addiction treatment. 

If there is an approach included in your prospective treatment plan that you would rather avoid, simply discuss your preferences with your treatment coordinator to come up with alternatives. 

What Is The Role Of Wellness Therapies In Long-Term Addiction Recovery?

Wellness therapies are supplementary treatments that are used to provide additional support during addiction recovery. 

These treatments are designed to improve the relationship between mind and body, while providing essential boosts to positive hormones. 

Can My Drug Rehab Program Provide Disability Accommodations? 

If you have a disability that may prevent you from participating in certain activities, discuss possible accommodations with your treatment provider.

Disability accommodations will vary depending on the nature of your disability, the activity involved, and your rehab center’s available resources. 

Are There Addiction Treatment Programs That Offer Purely Holistic Treatment?

If you feel that a purely holistic approach is the best fit for your substance use disorder, there are addiction treatment facilities that offer those services. 

Holistic addiction treatment programs may include some additional treatment options if needed, but their primary focus is generally on mindfulness activities and physical well-being. 

Find Substance Use Treatment Today

If you or a loved one need treatment for a substance use disorder, call our helpline today. 

We can help you find a program that offers the best combination of treatment modalities for your specific case. 

Published on

This page does not provide medical advice. See more

Free Rehab Centers aims to provide only the most current, accurate information in regards to addiction and addiction treatment, which means we only reference the most credible sources available.

These include peer-reviewed journals, government entities and academic institutions, and leaders in addiction healthcare and advocacy. Learn more about how we safeguard our content by viewing our editorial policy.


Canton, Massachusetts

Bedrock Recovery Center


Levels of Care:

Payment Options: Insurance Accepted, Self Pay

View Center Profile

Plymouth, Massachusetts

Ohio Recovery Center


Levels of Care:

Payment Options: Insurance Accepted, Self Pay

View Center Profile
Spring Hill Recovery Center