4 MIN READ | Psychotherapy

Adam Mulligan

The Importance of Psychotherapy in Addiction Recovery

Cite This
Adam Mulligan, (2022, November 1). The Importance of Psychotherapy in Addiction Recovery. Psychreg on Psychotherapy. https://www.psychreg.org/psychotherapy-in-addiction-recovery/
Reading Time: 4 minutes

What can a simple talk do to help an addict? A lot. People often undermine the importance of psychotherapy in addiction recovery. However, without it, there will be no actual progress in this battle. Psychotherapy is a golden standard in the treatment cascade of every kind of addiction. Let’s see why.

The biggest issue in addiction is psychological

Addiction can be a physical and psychological dependency on specific substances, such as alcohol and different types of drugs. Almost always, it starts on a psychological level. Often, it’s a trauma of some sort. Motivation for abuse is what makes it hard to stop the abuse. It’s a strong drive that has to start somewhere. So, it’s essential to dive into the psychological persona of the abuser and find out where is the source of that motivation.

We can give a person all the prescribed drugs and chemicals in the world. However, nothing beats the good old conversation about where the problem lies. Only when we find the head of the problem can we start solving it. So, taking psychotherapy seriously is essential if we intend to make lasting progress.

It’s essential that professionals do it

As we said, the conversation is crucial for identifying the problem. And, yes, the friendly, supportive conversation can help a lot. But, the most productive is a conversation with a specialized professional. Why, you might ask, when friends and family are the ones that know you the best? That’s true. But, the friends and family probably see the addiction ”up close” for the first time in their lives. Also, they don’t have the necessary training for navigating their friend on the rocky road that addiction is.

An experienced professional will know what to search for, what to ask, and how to guide the conversation most constructively without triggering the addicted person with some reckless sentences. Also, therapists don’t have an emotional connection with the patient, which could cloud their judgment or cultural stigma, in contrast to their friends and family. So, no matter the good intention, it’s best to leave some things to the people with the proper training and experience.

DBT can be life-changing

DBT (dialectical behaviour therapy) is a type of therapy that focuses on acceptance and making changes. It was first used in the 1970s to help people who were suicidal, but it has since been changed to help people with other problems, such as addiction. When treating people with substance use disorders, the focus is on stopping drug use and the behaviours that lead to it and on encouraging healthy behaviours (like making new friends and engaging in physical activity) that help the person stay away from drugs.

Instead of drugs, the doctor prescribes physical activity

One of the things that therapists strongly encourage during rehab and after it is – fitness and physical activity. They say that it’s crucial to stay active to boost your natural dopamine levels, which can help you feel satisfied and make it easier to overcome all obstacles.

Cognitive behaviour therapy

CBT, which stands for cognitive behavioural therapy, teaches you how to spot the feelings, thoughts, and situations that make you want to use drugs. A therapist will teach you how to avoid things that set you off. You’ll learn how to replace wrong perceptions and emotions with good ones that will assist you in staying out of the bad habit. 

The importance of psychotherapy in addiction recovery lies in its multipurpose

A conversation during psychotherapy can help in more ways than one. Its most important products of it are:

  • The ability to recognise and understand triggers for abusing
  • Successfully dealing with stress and cravings
  • Being aware of the possibility of relapse
  • Preventing a slip from becoming a relapse

Recognising and understanding your triggers

Relapse can be triggered by a wide variety of internal and external situations. Personal relationship problems and memories of past abuse are two common triggers that might lead you back to using drugs or alcohol. Remember: addiction doesn’t discriminate, and no one is immune to setbacks in life. It’s only necessary not to give in to them and search for productive ways to solve them. Many people find solace in post-treatment therapy, which is why it’s crucial in the period after rehabilitation.

A therapist will teach you techniques for dealing with stress and cravings

Some of these shifts are positive, while others are less so, but they all make up the journey we call life. It would help if you got yourself ready for changes in your life, including new relationships, employment, etc. Get some counselling if you’re always in precarious circumstances that jeopardize your mental health.

Preventing a slip from becoming a relapse

Missteps are inevitable. It’s an ugly truth, but it’s important to acknowledge it. However, you can prevent this from escalating if you get assistance immediately. But, you must acquire the skills necessary to deal with the possibility of a little setback to recover quickly and resume progress. That’s where a competent therapist steps in. They can help you learn how to forgive yourself for a little misstep and not turn your guilt into something bigger and more dangerous.

Final thoughts

Psychotherapy is crucial in all parts of addiction recovery. In the beginning, during, and after, it’s vital to have an experienced professional by your side. They can provide guidance and support during difficult times. The importance of psychotherapy in addiction recovery is immense. That’s why it’s essential to remove the stigma around it and debunk all the myths in our society. There is no shame in needing and getting help. For yourself or your loved one – it’s the same. Addiction is a serious issue, and we must collectively fight it with all our will and resources to make this world a better place and individuals in it happier and healthier.


Adam Mulligan did his degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. He is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle. 


The articles we publish on Psychreg are here to educate and inform. They’re not meant to take the place of expert advice. So if you’re looking for professional help, don’t delay or ignore it because of what you’ve read here. Check our full disclaimer