Substance use disorder (SUD) is a chronic and relapsing condition that requires proper treatment to achieve and maintain sobriety. Treatment can involve a combination of medications, therapy, and lifestyle changes. It’s important to know how these different forms of treatment work together to help someone with SUD manage their symptoms, reduce cravings, and stay sober.
Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)
One of the most common forms of treatment for SUD is medication-assisted treatment (MAT). MAT involves using FDA-approved medications, such as buprenorphine or naltrexone, in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies to treat opioid use disorder.
These medications help reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms while also blocking the effects of opioids if they are used recreationally. As such, MAT has been shown to be effective in helping people with opioid use disorder, remain abstinent from drugs and alcohol.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is another form of treatment that is often employed when treating SUD. This type of therapy helps individuals identify and address negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors associated with substance use.
Through CBT, individuals learn how to recognize triggers that lead them to relapse and coping skills they can use when faced with high-risk situations. Furthermore, CBT teaches individuals how to replace maladaptive behaviors—such as using drugs or alcohol—with more positive activities that promote physical and mental health.
How Does CBT Work?
CBT typically involves working with a therapist to identify unhelpful or irrational thinking styles that may contribute to your symptoms or distress. The therapist will then help you challenge those thoughts by providing alternative explanations for why they may not be true or valid.
Once these irrational beliefs are identified, the therapist will work with you to replace them with healthier perspectives that lead to better emotional regulation skills and problem-solving abilities. Additionally, the therapist may also equip you with coping strategies for managing certain situations or feelings to further improve your overall mental health.
Benefits Of CBT
While CBT can be challenging at times, it has been shown to improve overall mental health and well-being. These include increased self-esteem, improved communication skills, increased confidence in decision-making ability, improved relationships with others, reduced stress levels, better sleep quality, and overall better emotional regulation skills.
Another important aspect of treating SUD is making healthy lifestyle changes that support sobriety.
Lifestyle changes can include:
- Getting enough sleep each night
- Eating a balanced diet
- Exercising regularly
- Participating in self-care activities such as yoga or meditation
- Engaging in meaningful activities
- Avoiding places where drugs or alcohol are present
- Maintaining a sober social network
- Setting realistic goals for recovery
- Seeking out support from family members or friends
- Establishing routines for daily life
- Refraining from using any mind-altering substances
- Attending 12-step meetings or other support groups
All these things can benefit those struggling with SUD by providing them with structure while also helping them develop healthier habits that support long-term recovery success.
Treating substance use disorder requires an individualized approach tailored to the needs of each person struggling with addiction. Medication-assisted treatment helps reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms, while cognitive behavioral therapy helps individuals recognize triggers and learn new coping skills for managing stressors without resorting to drug use.
In addition, making healthy lifestyle changes can provide structure for those in recovery while also helping them develop healthier habits that promote long-term sobriety success. With the right combination of treatments, anyone battling substance use disorder can achieve lasting recovery from addiction.