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Addiction Treatment Models

Drug Models


What Are Some Models of Addiction Treatment?

Addiction therapy, counseling and treatment all aim at helping an individual get to the root cause of their addiction. They also teach an individual how to identify risk factors that may lead to their relapsing and develop ways of coping negative feelings such as stress, anxiety and depression. There are various addiction treatment models used in rehabilitation centers to help addicts recover from their conditions and live better and more fulfilling lives. Some of the most common models include dialectical behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, cognitive behavioral therapy and the 12-step program. Let’s have a look at some of these addiction treatment models and what they are all about.



Addiction is said to be mostly caused by either environmental or genetic factors. An individual’s genetic structure can predispose him or her to various addictive behaviors and substances. Also, specific life events an individual goes through such as stress, early exposure to drugs, trauma, and war can put an individual at a higher risk of developing an addiction. These factors make an individual more vulnerable or susceptible to becoming addicted to a specific substance or behavior.

Addiction has both physical and psychological side effects. Some of the most common physical side effects of addiction are withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Psychological side effects include severe depression and anxiety. The best models of addiction treatments focus on the environmental and genetic causes of addiction. They also deal with the physical and psychological side effects of addiction.



Before any addiction treatment model can be applied, patients have to go through a detoxification or detox process that minimize the physical side effects of addiction. Patients cannot be effectively treated while experiencing physical side effects such as withdrawal symptoms, so it’s necessary that detox is done at the very initial stage of treatment. Depending on the severity of the addiction, detox can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks or even months in some rare cases.



Psychological side effects of addiction usually take much longer to treat and can therefore not be sufficiently addressed through detox. Counseling and therapy is used to eradicate these side effects in order to prevent a patient from relapsing. Counseling is commonly included in the various addiction treatment models mainly because it is an ongoing process that patients have to go through in order to completely overcome their addiction.


1. Dialectical Behavioral Treatment Model (DBT)

The dialectical behavior treatment model is used on patients who have suicidal thoughts and tendencies. Patients who think of or attempt to commit suicide are usually going through a lot of emotional turmoil. They typically complain about feeling lonely, unwanted, not belonging in society and other uncomfortable thoughts. These thoughts cause them to develop a suicidal behavior that is based on having nothing to live for. DBT has been proven to be effective in treating addictions that affect the brain leading to self-destructive thoughts and behaviors. DBT is commonly used to treat psychological disorders such as eating disorders, personality disorders, anxiety disorders and mood disorders.

The DBT model commonly employs techniques like yoga to help patients regain control of their emotions and thoughts. Controlled breathing and muscle relaxation techniques are also effective at reducing suicidal thoughts and tendencies.


2. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Probably the most common model used for addiction treatment today, cognitive behavioral therapy teaches a patient how to identify risk factors associated with their addiction and how to employ various coping strategies such as self-control or avoidance, to prevent relapsing. CBT is used by many addiction therapists and counselors to treat various addictions that include substances such as nicotine, methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana and alcohol.

During treatment, patients are taught how to identify risky behavior that exposes them to addiction. They get to understand what is the underlying cause of their addiction and how they can solve it. CBT empowers patients to recognize triggers or cravings, and develop techniques for countering these situations. This addiction treatment model has been reported by many patients to be quite effective in real-life.


3. Matrix Model

The matrix model is a modern addiction treatment strategy that caters to patients recovering from addiction to a stimulant such as cocaine or methamphetamine. The treatment involves various proven therapies that reduce the risk of relapsing and promote support-group participation, education, and family therapy. Typical therapy sessions have manuals and worksheets that keep track of the patient’s progress throughout the treatment. In this treatment model, the addiction therapist or counselor takes up the position of a coach or teacher. They help a patient to appreciate their self-worth and dignity. Something to note however is that patients need to agree to take regular drug tests in order to qualify for this treatment model.

There are many other addiction treatment models out there today such as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Motivational Enhancement Therapy, Community Reinforcement, Family Behavior Therapy and of course the 12-step program. For more information



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