Therapy - Drug Addiction

Therapy is a wide ranging area which encompasses a variety of treatments for mental and/or physical problems which includes drug addiction.

Therapy is a situation where someone discusses their problems with a trained professional or a ‘therapist’. This person is there to explore issues and put forward suggestions in a non-judgemental manner.

These are often known as ‘talking treatments’ in that they encourage the addict to talk about past and present events in their lives and to look at how they think and behave. It is often the case that the way someone deals with a situation is the trigger for dependency and addiction.

There is more than one type of therapy but they all share common aims: that of talking about problems in your life with the aim of finding a solution.

It often means that you have to change the way you think and act or develop new ways of dealing with potentially risky situations which may cause you to relapse. It is not always an easy option as it can require you to confront certain aspects of yourself which you try to resist. This can make you feel angry or aggressive towards your therapist.

Types of therapy

These include:

  • Psychotherapy
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Family therapy
  • Counselling
  • Group therapy

Psychotherapy is a form of therapy in which someone is able to talk about their problems with a trained professional. The therapist will encourage the person to be open and honest about any problems in their life with the aim of helping them to overcome these, for example addiction. Find out more in our psychotherapy section.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) encourages someone to focus upon the positive aspects in their life so that they are better able to cope with situations. The idea is to challenge negative ways of thinking which may have led to the development of an addiction, and replace these with positive thoughts. The therapist will usually set someone a set of goals which they work towards in between sessions. If, for example, someone wants to stop smoking then this will be their main goal which will be broken down into small tasks. 

Hypnotherapy is a form of therapy which uses hypnosis to place someone into a state of heightened alertness. This is done with the aim of enabling them to open up their mind and talk about events that have happened in their lives. The person is receptive to communicating with another person and will draw upon aspects of their life which have been buried deep in their subconscious. These aspects are often the cause of a pattern of behaviour which has resulted in their addiction. Family therapy is used to all the members if they are in difficulty or if one member of that family has a problem, e.g. addiction, which is affecting everyone else. Having all the family present improves communication and helps to rebuild relationships if necessary. Counselling is a very popular form of therapy in which the person talks about events or aspects of their life which are causing them emotional difficulties. The counsellor will listen, suggest and clarify situations with the person with the aim of enabling them to gain a greater understanding of these issues.  In the case of addiction, the counsellor will encourage the person to talk about their experiences and how they may have caused their addiction.

Find out more in our counselling section. Group therapy is as the name says. A group of people with a shared interest meet and talk about their experiences. Many people find it useful to talk about their addiction within this type of group as they know that the people there are in the same position.

A group will be comprised of people with the same addiction, e.g. alcohol and are able to offer an insight into this problem which non-addicts are unable to.

These meetings are also useful for sharing advice and opinions.

Everyone is different in respect of therapy and one form of treatment may work better for you than another. If you are not sure then speak to your GP about this as he/she may be able to recommend a particular therapy.


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