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How Behavioral Therapy and Medication Management Work Together

How Behavioral Therapy and Medication Management Work Together

Therapy and medication each help your recovery from substance use disorder in major ways. While either one alone is helpful, you really need to have both at once to give your recovery a real fighting chance.

Behavioral therapy helps you identify the triggers that lead you to use and abuse substances, learn to heal past traumas, and change your behaviors to more positive ones. Medication can include a number of alternatives for maintaining your sobriety, including drugs like Suboxone®. The providers at 2nd Chance Treatment Center explain more about the uses of therapy and medication in your recovery.

The causes of addiction

There isn’t a single “cause” of addiction, although research shows there’s a genetic component in 40-60% of addictions. Many cases of addiction are in those who have experienced one or more of the following:

These are just some of the common traits found in people who become addicts, but it’s clear that there’s no such thing as a “typical” addict. 

How therapy helps

Therapy isn’t just “talking about your feelings.” When you’re in treatment for alcoholism or substance use disorder, your therapy is a bit more directed. Of course, we’ll ask you lots of questions about yourself, but it’s with the goal of helping to uncover why you drink or use drugs. These are often your “triggers” that lead to overuse.

Once we know which types of situations and feelings trigger your problems, you can start to learn coping techniques to get through them. We also teach you about the importance of maintaining good, healthy habits, like restful sleep, proper nutrition, and enough exercise.

Many people find group counseling especially beneficial. This type of therapy takes place with a small group of individuals, usually 5-8, and is guided by a licensed professional counselor. Finding people who understand your particular struggles is often valuable, and you may develop friendships that last far beyond your time in treatment.

The medication component

Therapy is wonderful, and it should definitely be a major part of your recovery; however, it should never be your only form of treatment. That’s shortchanging yourself of at least half of the benefits you can get.

Medications may include buprenorphine (Suboxone® and Subutex®), naltrexone, a combination of both, or methadone. Subutex as a standalone drug was removed from the market in 2011 when combination pills of buprenorphine and naltrexone became available.  When taken regularly, these medications can prevent you from using or misusing stronger opioids.

Some patients also find that other medications are helpful in their situations, such as antidepressants, mood stabilizers, or anti-anxiety medicines.

If you or someone you love have been struggling with alcohol or substance use disorder, we can help. The sooner you seek treatment, the sooner you can begin healing. Call the providers at 2nd Chance Treatment Center today, or request an appointment online.

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