If you are struggling with a substance use disorder (SUD), chances are you may develop symptoms of co-occurring mental disorders. Learning more about the different evidence-based modalities available during treatment may help you better understand your treatment options. Behavioral therapy is an effective way to heal.

Many modalities used in treating mental illnesses fall into the category of behavioral therapy. During sessions, you’ll work to identify negative thoughts or harmful behaviors. Then, you’ll attempt to deconstruct irrational thoughts and problematic behaviors. Ideally, you want to replace them with healthier patterns. This can prove helpful in the treatment of SUDs and mental disorders.

Formats of Behavioral Therapy

You may experience behavioral therapy in two formats: individual therapy and group therapy. Both of these options offer benefits that you may need in your healing journey. Which you’ll engage in depends on your support needs.

Individual Therapy

When people think of therapy, they usually think of individual therapy. Together with your therapist, you will explore the connection between thoughts, behaviors, and emotions. You will dissect past trauma, discover your triggers, and get to the root cause of your illnesses. With individual therapy, you can feel empowered to have some control over where the conversation goes. That does, however, require you to be honest about what treatments are working or not. You’ll also be exposed to a number of new concepts and ways of thinking.

Therapy also helps you manage your traumas, feelings, and emotions without substances. Individuals learn to cope with stress and cravings through many healthy techniques. These techniques can be used post-treatment and help individuals maintain a long-term life of recovery.

Group Therapy

In addiction treatment programs, individual therapy and group therapy work side by side. Group therapy may feel strange at first. Discussing your deepest and darkest feelings with strangers is challenging, but doing so provides excellent results. That is because group therapy is about connecting with people who understand your story. Isolation is dangerous, and group sessions remind you that you are not alone.

A therapist typically leads a group to provide structure. It is undoubtedly different than an individual session, but that can be good. You will learn to discuss your addiction and listen to others. We often forget how important it is to listen. Listening to the stories of others can help you. Moreover, your experiences have the power to help others as well.

Substance Use Disorders

A literature review published in the American Journal of Psychiatry examined the history of behavioral therapies for SUDs. The effectiveness of behavioral therapies was not seen until the mid-1980s. Even then, results were only seen when treating conditions like depressive, panic, and obsessive-compulsive disorders. These therapies were implemented into treatment programs at this time, but people did not believe them to be helpful.

Flash forward to today, and behavioral therapies are integral to addiction treatment. The growth of behavioral therapy techniques has made them highly effective for SUDs. Within a treatment program, you may be exposed to multiple therapies, including:

These behavioral therapies are only a few modalities that may aid you in your addiction treatment journey. As you go through behavioral therapy, you also may engage in holistic therapies that balance your overall wellness on your way to sobriety.

Behavioral Therapy and Co-Occurring Disorders

As mentioned, behavioral therapies are also constantly used in treating co-occurring disorders. A co-occurring disorder occurs when someone struggling with a SUD also develops a mental illness or vice versa. Examples of co-occurring disorders include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Bipolar disorder

When experiencing mental disorders and a SUD, you may fall into a cycle of negative behavior. For example, you may be in a situation where your anxiety is so bad that you continuously turn to substance use as a way to cope. That cycle repeats itself over and over again, leading to the development of a SUD. Similarly, symptoms of a SUD will intensify the longer it goes untreated. The impact of that SUD can trigger latent mental illnesses. In either case, symptoms of one disorder exacerbate the other, and seeking treatment for both is necessary.

The Benefits of Behavioral Therapy

Mental health professionals implement behavioral therapy when treating people with mental conditions like depression, anxiety, or SUD. This therapeutic modality can effectively treat co-occurring disorders. Behavioral therapies have a number of potential benefits.

When implemented correctly, behavioral therapy can improve self-esteem, change negative thinking patterns or behaviors, improve communication, and teach new coping skills. As discussed, these therapies can occur individually and in a group setting, allowing for your comfort as the client.

Not only is this therapy effective during addiction treatment programs; it can help in recovery. The skills you learn will aid you in maintaining your sobriety.

Behavioral therapy is integral to both addiction and mental health treatment. By engaging in this modality, you can improve your emotional regulation, thought patterns, and coping skills. You’ll find that you’re better at managing triggers and cravings too. Excel Treatment Center can provide you with all that and more. We offer a variety of treatments, including behavioral therapy. We’ll encourage you to engage in both traditional and holistic therapies to stimulate your mind and body during healing. Through symptom tracking, we monitor your progress and adjust your treatment plan as needed. When you’re ready to take control of your mind, call Excel Treatment Center at (866) 983-6280 to start your treatment program.