3 Mind-Retraining Opportunities for Opiate Addiction Relapse

Drug addiction is a compulsive and repetitive craving for and use of drugs, despite negative consequences in the user’s life. The use of drugs, especially over a long period of time, alters the brain. Substance abuse changes the way the brain thinks, making it nearly impossible to resist urges, think clearly, or even function normally sometimes.

When trying to recover from drug addiction, many people think that separating the addict from the drugs is the cure. However, studies have shown that it is not generally the case. While the individual may be able to remain clean for a short period of time, they still have the mindset of an addict. Urges are going to happen, and if the user hasn’t retrained their mind to think like a non-addict, temptation will probably win the battle.

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Fortunately, there are different types of therapy that are specifically geared towards retraining the brain to think normally again. It needs to be known that quitting the substance use alone is not a long-term solution. More people need to be aware that the brain needs to return to normal before the addict can truly be sober.

Different types of therapy are aimed towards certain psychological issues. Once the specific issue is identified, the proper therapy path can be chosen. Individual, group, cognitive and behavioral therapies are offered and should be taken full advantage of during the recovery process.

The first type of therapy that can be effective for those in rehab after relapsing with opiates is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). This type of therapy focuses on the thinking process. The belief is that thinking controls feelings, emotions, and behavior––not outside factors. The good thing about this is that it means the therapist can help change the thinking process and encourage more positive thinking, which can ultimately lead to feeling better and better behavior. These are one-on-one sessions between the therapist and client, and they are focused on discussing goals and laying out a plan to make them a reality.

The second type of therapy is Contingency Management Therapy or Motivational Incentive Therapy. Essentially the same concept, these therapies focus on giving the user rewards to promote and encourage positive behavior such as drug-free urine samples. Studies have shown that incentive-based programs are a highly effective way to promote a drug-free lifestyle.

The third type of therapy, and the one that is possibly the most effective for those who have relapsed once already, is Relapse Prevention Therapy (RPT). RPT is a type of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy that shares ideas and principles. In short, this therapy focuses on recognizing high-risk situations and craving triggers, learning to cope with urges, and how to use pre-planned techniques to deal with difficult moments. Coping skills focus on both cognitive and behavioral techniques. Cognitive techniques provide ways to view the habit change process as a learning experience. Behavioral techniques include other forms of behavior as a coping method, such as exercise.

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Whether one therapy is used, or they are combined in some way, these are all proven methods to positively affect the recovery process. In order to be truly successful in the search for sobriety, an addict must change the way their mind views drugs. After the thought process is effectively returned to normal, the person can keep walking down the road to recovery. For any questions, concerns, or for information, call the hotline at 800-447-9081. Help is waiting for the first step to be taken towards them.

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