Whether it’s alcohol, tobacco, prescription medication, or illegal drugs, addiction is a serious issue and debilitating condition. The combined healthcare costs alone amount to approximately $160 billion per year, reaching as high as $700 billion due to crime and lost productivity. Addiction to drugs, alcohol, or prescription medication affects approximately 23 million Americans, with another 40 million being dependent on tobacco; however, only a fraction of those seek treatment or try to quit. 

While there are plenty of ways to break these habits, a lot of people think that detoxification or rehabilitation alone will suffice. Although this may be enough for some, many fail to see the importance of behavioral therapy during and after treatment. 

Relapse Prevention

Naturally, the main goal of treatment is to ensure an addict permanently stops using the substance; however, when left to their own devices, patients are at a large risk for relapse. The truth is that no matter how long it’s been, individuals will always be addicts. This means that any opportunity to use the drug can create powerful cravings or urges. 

Treatment is a lifelong process — one made possible through behavioral therapy. By offering confidential, consistent moral and psychological help, addicts have a support structure to deal with temptation. 

Teaching Healthy Behaviors

A lot of addicts rely on tobacco, drugs, and alcohol as the way to relieve stress, socialize, or “have fun.” While superficially effective, this temporary “solution” does nothing to resolve problems, and it’s certainly not the best pastime. Fortunately, behavioral therapy helps teach these individuals new ways to deal with stress and encourage the pursuit of new hobbies. 

With counseling, recoverees can identify better habits that fit their actions and personal preferences. For instance, patients may discover that they enjoy sports or working out to relieve stress. They’ll also learn to avoid social situations involving drug use, and if necessary, cut ties with the people who exacerbate the problem.

Remaining on Track

Persistence, consistency, and willpower are critical for staying clean; however, it’s risky to simply assume that addicts can move forward on their own. A lot of treatment plans require specific behavioral modifications and medical assistance. 

Behavioral therapy teaches accountability, helping patients stay focused on their recovery plan. 

Combatting Negative Attitudes

Mental illness is a significant driving factor for substance abuse. Many individuals turn to drugs and alcohol as a way to cope with issues like anxiety or depression. As their lives and personal health suffer, so does their mental state.

Simply stopping drug use may eliminate the addiction issue, but it’s far from a permanent solution. Recovering addicts need a way to break the underlying psychological issues triggering their addiction. Behavioral therapy can be quite effective in helping people change their attitudes, providing the tools and treatment needed to combat mental illness and reducing the chances of a relapse.

Addiction is an issue that needs to be dealt with as soon as possible. The longer someone waits, the more their physical and social life suffers. Through a comprehensive treatment program and behavioral therapy, addicts will have an easier time overcoming their problem.