While medical detox addresses the physical aspect of addiction, psychological treatment is needed to understand and manage addictive behaviors. These therapies make it possible for a person recovering from alcoholism to recognize mental and emotional patterns that occur before an episode of drinking, enabling the person to formulate alternative responses and implement strategies that can help them avoid drinking alcohol.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one of these therapeutic treatments. In this therapy, individuals learn to recognize and understand certain behaviors and analyze their potential response before they do it. This additional consideration can give them needed time to implement strategies and tools that they devise to help them change their behavior pattern. Individuals effectively reprogram their thought processes to lead them away from the decision to use alcohol in response to these situations, instead redirecting themselves to more positive behaviors.
A study in The American Journal of Psychiatry showed that CBT is not only effective during and immediately after treatment, but that it also is likely to result in a continued and even increasing capability to maintain recovery in the long-term after treatment is complete. Programs that use this type of research-backed psychological treatment tend to be those that prove more successful in extending recovery, compared with those that do not provide this type of training.
Other psychological treatment options that can augment a customized treatment program include:
- Trauma-focused therapy for those who need it
- Therapy to build relationship support structures and self-esteem through interpersonal therapy
- Family therapy to encourage familial support
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy, especially for co-occurring conditions, to support change in thought processes