Although substance abuse has come to light as an epidemic in the US, there are still many harmful stereotypes surrounding the issue. Only those directly affected by a loved one with addiction and those suffering from addiction themselves will truly understand the long-term struggle the illness brings. Here at Southside Medical Center in Atlanta, GA, it’s our hope to spread awareness and knowledge about addiction and the best ways to combat it.
Overcoming Substance Abuse With the Best Treatments Available
The Matrix Model Route
This model encompasses different sub-treatments that cover all the bases of addiction. The Matrix Model walks patients through recovery one day at a time with things like group or private therapy meetings, learning the tools they need to help themselves, and all the communication and support they will need.
Under this treatment program, patients will learn how to do things that will help them for the rest of their lives, such as learning healthy emotional coping habits, better understanding their behavioral patterns and triggers, learning how to manage their time wisely, and gaining the strength and insight to combat cravings. This model also takes families into consideration, educating patients about the effects of addiction on loved ones.
Why Choose the Matrix Model?
Although this treatment was originally created to help those addicted to methamphetamines and cocaine, the model was recognized for its versatility and revered for its stellar track record in preventing its patients from relapsing. Many studies have been conducted on the effectiveness of this model, and all have come back with promising results. One study found that previous users maintained lower cocaine usage eight months post-treatment, while another study found lowered methamphetamine usage in patients two years post-treatment.
This model also incorporates a punishment and reward system to help patients take accountability for their actions. Weekly drug tests are given to patients not only to hold the patients responsible but also to let the counselors know whether the current program is working for the patient or if the patient requires more attention and structure. On the other side of the coin, rewards are given for making behavioral progress, attending the scheduled appointments, and putting in the necessary work.
The Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Route
This is one of the treatments we are most enthusiastic about because this method employs a groundbreaking therapy that changed the course of mental health services ever since it was founded back in the 60s. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) challenges the status quo by focusing on our cognitions (thoughts). CBT sheds light on the fact that we have emotional responses not because of events that we see, but because of the internal dialogue we have about the events we see.
CBT uses a form of exposure therapy that encourages the patient to revisit triggering memories to reduce the power the memories have on the patient’s current life. Most patients who undergo this particular treatment route find themselves not only equipped to handle their past addictions moving forward but also equipped to effectively problem-solve just about anything life throws their way. CBT eradicates insecurities, helps patients communicate with the world around them, and provides a myriad of applicable self-help tools.
Why Choose CBT?
CBT is an endlessly helpful branch of therapy that can give anyone the tools for a happy and thriving life. For substance abuse, CBT has shown great promise in helping patients dig deeper into the origins of their addictions. It allows patients to make connections between unhealthy cognitions and the subsequent addictive behaviors that those cognitions encourage and perpetuate. CBT also focuses on the lies the brain tells itself and helps patients see the distortions within their thoughts.
Cognitive behavioral therapy also teaches patients how to make the important distinction between calculated thoughts and sudden impulses, the latter of which are nearly always the culprit behind relapses. These are referred to as automatic negative thoughts in CBT. Patients will practice mindfulness in behavioral therapy so that they can catch these automatic thoughts before they become emotions and actions. CBT also changes the patient’s thought processes so that they see mistakes as lessons rather than failures.
The Motivational Route
Motivational interviewing is an excellent positive approach to substance abuse that allows patients to delve into and learn about motivation. Similar to CBT, this approach focuses on helping patients recognize destructive patterns and behaviors so that they can get ahead and overcome them. A lack of motivation is one of the biggest reasons people relapse, so a treatment option that tackles this problem head-on is understandably effective.
The secret to the success of this treatment option lies in the counselor’s tactics. It’s important for the patient to find personal motivating reasons to quit rather than simply having the counselor tell them they should quit. In addition to finding out what motivates them, patients will learn to understand their own lack of motivation and what causes it.
Why Choose This Treatment?
Three common reasons a person lacks the motivation to cease their addiction are minimizing the destructive nature of their habit, the inability to give up the good feelings the addiction brings, and a fear of withdrawal symptoms. Patients will learn to face these reasons and overcome them but will do so with a very close counselor-patient relationship that they can lean on. Those who suffer from ambivalence about their addiction can work closely with their counselor to understand why.
Since there are a few similar aspects between motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioral therapy, going the motivational route is a great option for the few patients who do not experience any meaningful changes from CBT. Motivational interviewing is one of the first options we recommend to patients who tell us they would prefer a close and supportive relationship with a counselor who can validate their feelings.
Your Support Group Is Here
If you’re going through the struggles of addiction or you have a close relationship with someone who is, know that you’re not alone. You have the strength to take control of your life back, and we are here to support you with the best arsenal of tools out there. Give our office a call at Southside Medical Center in Atlanta, GA using the number (404) 688-1350, or get in touch via our website, and let us help you find the path to recovery.