What Is the Best Approach to Treating Addiction?

Addiction is a dynamic problem, affecting each individual in a different way. The dynamism of this mental health issue makes treatment a lot more selective, especially as there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. The Last Resort Recovery Center notes that addiction treatment is unlike treating headaches, which is why they provide tailored treatment plans based on each patient’s individual needs.

Using evidence-based approaches, the rehabilitation center has been able to continually help its patients choose a sober lifestyle while getting over their addiction problems. In line with this, the clinic has released data on the most effective addiction treatments based on success rates.

Best Approaches to Treating Addiction

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, also known as CBT, is a psychotherapeutic practice that leverages one-on-one conversations to identify deep-rooted problems that may have prompted addiction.

The approach, used by trained therapists and counselors, aims to understand the patient’s current struggles, realities, and perspectives while also shaping those to reflect positivity, strength, and new habits or goals.

CBT has proven to be very effective in addressing addiction problems and a range of mental disorders. The approach can be deployed singularly or combined with other addiction treatment therapies to achieve the desired outcomes.


Counseling can be in the form of private or group counseling. Group counseling can be family or a group of like-minded people with similar struggles.

Individual Counseling: Individual counseling has been proven to help addiction victims understand their problems as well as empower them to make the right decisions. The one-on-one session with the counselor often helps addiction victims feel seen and heard, thus contributing to their recovery gains. Individual counseling, also known as talk therapy, can be combined with other treatment therapies to achieve set goals.

Group Counseling: Group counseling often involves a group of individuals with similar struggles sharing insights into how they’re managing themselves and their daily challenges. It provides a supportive group for addiction victims while also helping them learn new tricks and techniques to beat their urge for abused substances and prevent relapses. This counseling may also be family oriented and focused on educating an addiction victim’s family on their struggles as well as how they can facilitate recovery and maintain sobriety.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

This treatment approach was developed in the 1980s and focused on addressing the needs of victims with personality disorders. It’s a type of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy that focuses on behavioral skills.

Each of the sessions focuses on equipping patients with healthy coping mechanisms and in-the-moment tools needed to manage their emotions, resolve conflicts positively, improve relationships, and manage stress.

DBT is often delivered in individual therapy sessions at the earliest stages, however, it can be transitioned to group sessions over time. The primary goals of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy are to improve mindfulness, encourage emotional regulation, enhance stress and distress tolerance, and improve interpersonal effectiveness.

Experiential Therapy

Experiential therapy focuses on using life experiences and actions to address addiction problems. This type of addiction treatment leverages the mind and engages it to enhance conversations and improve overall health and well-being.

A hands-on approach during this treatment session is often necessary to keep the patient engaged. In most cases, experiential therapy can be delivered in many ways, including through role-playing, guided imagery, art therapy, equine therapy, music therapy, adventure therapy, and more.

Addiction treatment professionals can also leverage channels like creative writing or poetry, play therapy, psychodrama, and others to help victims introspect and reveal the deeper lying issues that may have been responsible for their addiction problems.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) focuses on addressing deeply seated emotional issues. This approach is often recommended for patients dealing with trauma and past experiences that may be too painful to relive.

Since its adoption in the 1980s, more than 30 controlled outcome studies have been conducted using EMDR and have provided positive gains toward modifying the treatment to meet patient needs.

EMDR therapy largely combines eye movement and a variety of other elements. The eight-phase treatment requires patients to consider three distinct periods of their life, the past, present, and future. Those distinct periods are interwoven to help patients re-assess their current decisions while modifying their perspective and helping them overcome their current addiction problems.

In addition to the major addiction treatment approaches outlined above, treatment professionals may also deploy each approach singularly or combine them with alternatives like the family treatment approach, motivational interviewing, and psychodynamic treatment to achieve the desired outcome.

At the end of each treatment, therapists and counselors also offer relapse prevention, and post-treatment support to ensure patients remain healthy and committed to their newly chosen direction.


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