Select your language

Suggested languages for you:
Log In Start studying!
StudySmarter - The all-in-one study app.
4.8 • +11k Ratings
More than 3 Million Downloads
Free
|
|

All-in-one learning app

  • Flashcards
  • NotesNotes
  • ExplanationsExplanations
  • Study Planner
  • Textbook solutions
Start studying

Addiction Treatment

Save Save
Print Print
Edit Edit
Sign up to use all features for free. Sign up now
Addiction Treatment

The UK has been repeatedly named the addiction capital of Europe. Statistics show that at least 589,000 people in England depend on alcohol, and at least a quarter of these people are receiving help for mental health.

There are severe consequences of addiction, both for the individual and society, which is why there is a great need for effective and accessible addiction treatment. With the development of our understanding of addiction as a treatable condition, many psychologically informed treatment approaches have been developed.

Addiction treatment, Illustration of a man in distress with bottles in the background, StudySmarterAddiction has a significant impact on a person's life, freepik.com

  • We will start by defining addiction treatment meaning.
  • Next, we will discuss detoxification as the first step to recovering from substance use.
  • Finally, we will discuss the mechanisms of change behind common treatment interventions, including aversion therapy, self-management programmes, cognitive Behavioural Therapy and group therapy.

Addiction Treatment meaning

Addiction is a treatable medical condition that causes significant impairment in one's functioning. The 11th edition of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) recognises behavioural addictions (compulsive gaming or gambling) and addictions to substances, all of which can be treated. Addiction treatments aim to support clients in the process of recovery and prevent future relapses.

Addiction is a chronic medical condition involving compulsive use of substances or an inability to control an impulse to engage in rewarding activities, despite associated risks or negative long-term consequences.

Individuals struggling with addiction may be offered different treatment options depending on what they are addicted to or the stage of recovery that they are in.

For many people with substance addiction, detoxification is the first step. At later stages of recovery, pharmacological treatments with therapeutic interventions and participation in self-management programmes can help prevent relapse.

A combination of different treatments is considered the most effective as it holistically addresses different factors contributing to addiction.

Detoxification

One of the key features of substance addiction is dependency. Dependency develops when a person becomes unable to function without the substance they are addicted to. Physical dependency causes withdrawal symptoms when a person attempts to stop or reduce substance intake, making it a major obstacle to recovery.

Detoxification involves going through withdrawal symptoms after discontinuing substance use.

The withdrawal symptoms experienced during alcohol detoxification may involve psychological symptoms like anxiety, depression, irritability, or even hallucinations, as well as physical symptoms like insomnia, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, headaches, hand tremors and elevated heart rate.

Getting through withdrawal is often considered to be the first step to recovery. Depending on the severity of use, detoxification can be attempted at home or a detoxification facility. The withdrawal symptoms are monitored by medical staff, and medication can be administered to reduce the discomfort.

One of the things that makes opioids highly addictive is how quickly they lead to physical dependency. Repeated opioid use diminishes the brain's natural ability to regulate physical and emotional pain. The tolerance to opioids builds quickly, meaning the user has to increase opioid intake to achieve the same pleasurable effects. Any attempt to reduce or discontinue opioid use can result in serious withdrawal symptoms, making it very hard for users to quit and recover.

However, detoxification alone may not be sufficient for helping people achieve long-term recovery. Even after detox programmes, it is common for people to experience cravings or become triggered and start using again. It is estimated that over 50% of people will relapse after undergoing detoxification in a special facility (Deng et al., 2022). To help people maintain long-term recovery, other interventions that focused on relapse prevention are often necessary.

Addiction treatment, Receptionists, patients and doctors standing in a hospital hall, StudySmarterPatients often go to rehabilitation centres to recover from addictions, freepik.com/pch.vector

Aversion therapy

Aversion therapy is a behavioural intervention, which relies on the principles of classical conditioning, and was first developed to treat alcoholism in the 1930s. During aversion therapy, a behaviour or substance is paired with a real or imagined aversive stimulus, creating a negative association with the subject of addiction.

Aversion therapy assumes that people use intoxicants or engage in compulsive behaviours because they associate them with rewarding effects. By changing the associations with the behaviours or substances they are addicted to, aversion therapy attempts to condition people to avoid them in the future.

The techniques used in aversion therapy included pairing images of drinking with the administration of weak electric shocks, or serving alcoholic drinks to people right after giving them medication that induces side effects such as vomiting. However, nowadays, aversive therapy relies more on imagined aversive stimuli than invasive techniques like electroshocks.

Addiction treatment, Man sitting crossed leg on floor with blanket over him and blowing his nose, StudySmarterMedication is often used in aversion therapy to induce adverse side effects such as headaches or vomiting, freepik.com/storyset

Evaluation of aversion therapy for addiction treatment

Aversion therapy can be criticised for reducing a complex problem of addiction to positive associations and not considering potential underlying issues that led one to the addiction in the first place. Addiction can be a result of an attempt to self-medicate or a way for people to cope with the stresses of life. Creating an aversion to the substance doesn't solve any underlying problems.

There are also several ethical concerns related to traditional aversion therapy techniques, as they involve physical and psychological harm. Also, due to its unpleasant nature, the number of people that would opt for this treatment and remain compliant for its duration could be limited. Finally, although aversion therapy has been used for almost a century, there is no strong evidence for its efficacy. Moreover, high relapse rates following this treatment question the long-term effectiveness of this intervention.

Pharmacological interventions in addiction treatment are sometimes considered to be a form of aversion therapy, although they can be better understood as discouragements of use, helping people avoid relapse. Pharmacological interventions have shown great long-term efficacy in addiction treatment, especially in combination with psychological interventions.

Disulfiram is a medication that can be used to help people maintain abstinence from alcohol. When alcohol is consumed with disulfiram, it causes unpleasant physical effects, deterring people from drinking even small amounts of alcohol. Another drug used in recovery from alcoholism is naltrexone. Naltrexone can help reduce cravings as well as the pleasant effects of consuming alcohol.

Self-management programmes

Self-management programmes offer treatment for both substance and behavioural addictions. Common self-management programmes include 12-step programmes like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. While traditionally, 12-step programmes are faith-based, there are also self-management programmes available without the spirituality component.

Self-management programmes view their participants as active agents, capable of being responsible for their recovery. Other key features of self-management programmes include social support from other people that are also in the process of recovery, and providing members with a safe, non-judgemental space to reflect on and share their experiences. These elements make self-help groups potentially beneficial for people's mental health and relapse prevention.

The success of self-management programmes largely depends on one's motivation and readiness to change. Generally, evidence shows self-management programmes to be effective (Vederhus & Kristensen, 2006). However, this remains to be an under-researched intervention.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) aims to help people recognise connections between their thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. It attempts to reduce people's need to engage in compulsive behaviours by challenging irrational or maladaptive thoughts perpetuating their addiction. CBT for addiction also involves identifying addiction triggers and expanding clients' repertoire of adaptive coping skills to avoid relapse. While the goal of detoxification and self-management programmes is abstinence, it doesn't necessarily have to be the goal of CBT, making it a more flexible intervention.

During CBT, negative thinking and beliefs are challenged. For example, if a client holds a strong belief that they cannot socialise without drinking, they will be encouraged to challenge this belief by meeting with a friend while sober. Suppose a client has a strong belief that they are a failure, which drives their addiction. In that case, a therapist might challenge this belief with techniques like Socratic questioning or by conducting an evidence/counterevidence analysis.

Meta-analyses support the effectiveness of CBT as an intervention for treating addictions (Magill & Ray, 2009). However, the effects of CBT appear to diminish with time.

Group Therapy

Group therapy for addiction combines peer support with evidence-based psychological interventions like CBT, skills development, psychoeducation or interpersonal process therapy. Groups consist of multiple members seeking treatment for similar difficulties and a therapist leading the therapy. One advantage of group therapy over individual therapy for addiction is the sense of community it involves, it can also be more cost-effective for services.

There is some empirical support for the effectiveness of group therapy in addiction treatment. However, since many factors contribute to addiction, it is typically best to offer people a combination of treatments.

A review of studies investigating the efficacy of group therapy in substance use treatment has found it to be effective in the treatment of cocaine addiction, marijuana addiction and mixed substance use disorder (López et al., 2021). Moreover, group therapy in combination with pharmacological treatment was shown to be more effective in treating opioid addiction than pharmacological treatment alone.

Addiction Treatment - Key takeaways

  • Addiction treatment aims to support clients in the process of recovery and prevent future relapses. Holistic addiction treatment requires a combination of interventions.
  • Aversion therapy is a behavioural intervention that relies on classical conditioning principles. A behaviour or substance is paired with real or imagined aversive stimuli, creating a negative association with the subject of addiction.
  • Self-management programmes encourage their members to take accountability for their recovery, they also involve peer support and provide a safe, non-judgemental space for members to reflect on and share their experiences.
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy targets irrational or maladaptive thoughts that perpetuate addiction. During CBT, clients also identify addiction triggers and can expand their repertoire of adaptive coping skills to avoid relapse.
  • Group therapy for addiction combines peer support with evidence-based psychological interventions.

References

  1. Gov.UK. (2020). Alcohol dependence and mental health.
  2. Deng, R., Yang, X...Guo, W. (2022). Data-driven study on resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging during early abstinence of alcohol dependence in male patients and its predictive value for relapse. BMC Psychiatry.
  3. Vederhus, J., & Kristensen, O. (2006). High effectiveness of self-help programs after drug addiction therapy. BMC Psychiatry.
  4. Magill, M., & Ray, L. A. (2009). Cognitive-behavioral treatment with adult alcohol and illicit drug users: Analysis of randomized controlled trials. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.
  5. López, G., Orchowski, L. M... Johnson, J. E. (2021). A review of research-supported group treatments for drug use disorders. Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy.

Frequently Asked Questions about Addiction Treatment

Addiction can be treated with pharmacological interventions, aversion therapy, self-management programs or psychological therapies like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

The most effective is a holistic approach that involves a combination of treatment interventions.

Outpatient addiction treatment involves interventions that don't require a person to stay in a hospital or a rehabilitation facility overnight. These can include self-management programs, individual, or group therapy.

Often the first step to recovery from substance use is detoxification.

The most effective way to deal with addiction is to address the problem holistically through a combination of interventions.

Final Addiction Treatment Quiz

Question

Which of the following approaches does aversion therapy apply? 

Show answer

Answer

Classical conditioning 

Show question

Question

Which of the following is commonly used to describe aversion therapy?

Show answer

Answer

Counter-conditioning 

Show question

Question

According to Elkins et al. (2017), what were the participant's relapse rates a year after receiving treatment?  

Show answer

Answer

69%

Show question

Question

What can be suggested from Elkin et al's research? 

Show answer

Answer

From the research, it can be suggested that aversion therapy may be more effective when patients are given booster sessions intermittently or when used in conjunction with another intervention. 

Show question

Question

What are the strengths of aversion therapy? 

Show answer

Answer

The strengths of aversion therapy are:

  • There are many different approaches to aversion therapy such as forming associations with bad smells or tastes, mild discomfort from electric shocks or elastic bands
    • one approach may work for an individual but not for another therefore, it takes into account individual differences.
  • It is an intervention that can be used to prevent habitual dysfunctional/ undesired behaviour

Show question

Question

What are the weaknesses of aversion therapy? 


Show answer

Answer

The weaknesses of aversion therapy are:

  • It cannot be used to treat all types of mental illnesses such as schizophrenia 
    • which means that it has limited use.
  • There is some controversy in the history of aversion therapy 
    • in the 1950s it was used to "treat" homosexuality.
  • It does not get rid of the root of the problem 
    • relapse may occur because of this 


Show question

Question

What type of stimulus is a cigarette before the aversion therapy has started? 

Show answer

Answer

Unconditional stimulus 

Show question

Question

What type of stimulus is a cigarette after an individual with a smoking addiction has received aversion therapy? 

Show answer

Answer

Conditional stimulus 

Show question

Question

How does aversion therapy affect conditioning?

Show answer

Answer

Aversion therapy associates a negative response with dysfunctional/maladaptive behaviour. It creates a conditioned response to the previously undesirable stimuli. 

Show question

Question

Can you see the results of aversion therapy instantly? 

Show answer

Answer

No

Show question

Question

What are some examples of aversion therapy devices used? 

Show answer

Answer

Some aversion therapy devices that are used include:

  • devices that administer electric shocks 
  •  rubber bands 
    • this is used to cause some discomfort without causing damage 
  • drugs that cause aversive effects
    • this can be used to induce feeling sick
    • some drugs can induce/ increase the hangover effects of alcohol 
  • coating nails with something that tastes unpleasant 
    • this is used to stop people from nail-biting 

Show question

Question

Can aversion therapy be used to treat all mental illnesses? 

Show answer

Answer

No 

Show question

Question

Did Magill and Ray's findings support CBT as an effective intervention to treat addiction? 

Show answer

Answer

Yes

Show question

Question

What is addiction?

Show answer

Answer

Addiction is a chronic medical condition involving compulsive use of substances or an inability to control an impulse to engage in rewarding activities, despite their negative long-term consequences.

Show question

Question

What is the aim of addiction treatment?

Show answer

Answer

Addiction treatment aims to support clients in the process of recovery and prevent future relapses. 

Show question

Question

What is the first step in treatment of substance addiction with physical dependency?

Show answer

Answer

Detoxification

Show question

Question

What addiction treatment is the most effective?

Show answer

Answer

A combination of different treatments is considered the most effective as it holistically addresses different factors contributing to addiction. 

Show question

Question

What is dependency?

Show answer

Answer

Dependency develops when a person becomes unable to function without the substance they are addicted to.

Show question

Question

Is detoxification sufficient for treating addictions?

Show answer

Answer

Detoxification alone may not be sufficient for helping people achieve long-term recovery, even after detox programmes it is common for people to experience cravings or become triggered and start using again. To help people maintain long-term recovery, other interventions focused on relapse prevention are often necessary. 

Show question

Question

What principles does aversion therapy rely on?

Show answer

Answer

The principles of classical conditioning.

Show question

Question

Why do people become addicted according to the principles of aversion therapy?

Show answer

Answer

Aversion therapy assumes that people use intoxicants or engage in compulsive behaviours because they associate them with rewarding effects.

Show question

Question

What is aversion therapy criticised for?

Show answer

Answer

Aversion therapy is criticised for ethical problems, reductionism, and a lack of strong evidence for its effectiveness.

Show question

Question

What medication can be used to help reduce alcohol cravings in recovery?

Show answer

Answer

Naltrexone

Show question

Question

What are examples of self-management programmes?

Show answer

Answer

12-step programmes and self-help groups

Show question

Question

What are the key features of self-management programmes?

Show answer

Answer

  • Participants are viewed as active agents, capable of being responsible for their recovery. 
  • Social support from other people that are also in the process of recovery.
  • Providing members with a safe, non-judgemental space to reflect on and share their experiences. 

Show question

Question

What are the key features of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for addiction?

Show answer

Answer

  • Drawing links between thoughts, feelings and behaviours.
  • Identifying and challenging maladaptive and irrational thoughts that perpetuate addiction.
  • Identifying addiction triggers and expanding clients' repertoire of adaptive coping skills to avoid relapse. 

Show question

Question

What does group therapy in addiction treatment involve?

Show answer

Answer

Group therapy for addiction combines peer support with evidence-based psychological interventions.

Show question

60%

of the users don't pass the Addiction Treatment quiz! Will you pass the quiz?

Start Quiz

Discover the right content for your subjects

No need to cheat if you have everything you need to succeed! Packed into one app!

Study Plan

Be perfectly prepared on time with an individual plan.

Quizzes

Test your knowledge with gamified quizzes.

Flashcards

Create and find flashcards in record time.

Notes

Create beautiful notes faster than ever before.

Study Sets

Have all your study materials in one place.

Documents

Upload unlimited documents and save them online.

Study Analytics

Identify your study strength and weaknesses.

Weekly Goals

Set individual study goals and earn points reaching them.

Smart Reminders

Stop procrastinating with our study reminders.

Rewards

Earn points, unlock badges and level up while studying.

Magic Marker

Create flashcards in notes completely automatically.

Smart Formatting

Create the most beautiful study materials using our templates.

Just Signed up?

Yes
No, I'll do it now

Sign up to highlight and take notes. It’s 100% free.