Teens and young adults frequently have dysfunctional attitudes that can feed into drug habits. Overcoming these characteristics is possible with targeted psychotherapies, such as behavioral therapy. What is behavioral therapy? How can it help you or a loved one overcome a substance addiction?
What is Behavioral Therapy?
There are two main types of behavioral therapy. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) focuses on negative pattern recognition. Program participants examine their thoughts, feelings, and actions with an eye on destructive tendencies. Next, they choose which patterns to eliminate or alter.
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) benefits teens and young adults with strong emotions. Sometimes, there are situations they can’t change. Individuals need to learn how to embrace these circumstances while controlling their emotional responses to them. Failure to do so may result in a relapse.
Why These Therapies Work
Behavioral therapies help program participants to understand their underlying reasons for using. However, it’s not enough to know why they might reach for drugs or alcohol. Teens and young adults also need to learn how to undo these dysfunctional patterns. By replacing negative thoughts or actions with healthy ones, they succeed in changing behaviors and attitudes.
Consider that co-occurring mental health disorders often factor in the development of addictions. Some addiction treatment therapy program participants don’t realize that they’re struggling with anxiety disorders or depression until someone conducts an evaluation of them. Behavioral therapies can be instrumental in providing a form of dual diagnosis treatment that other substance abuse programs can’t offer.
Augmenting the Success of Behavioral Therapies with Adjunct Treatments
What is behavioral therapy and how does it work with addiction treatments? It’s interesting to note that behavioral therapy to overcome addiction can’t stand alone. There’s still the family with conflicts, peers that support drug use, and feelings of low self-esteem. Because of this, it takes supporting therapeutic settings to strengthen the message of behavioral therapies and help the healing process.
Examples of helpful treatments include:
- Family therapy, which assists with boundary setting and the establishment of healthy forms of communication
- Relationship therapy to help young adults in difficult or co-dependent partnerships that put them in danger of relapse
- Group therapy that encourages self-esteem and learning from peers who are also in recovery
- Individual therapy to set the stage for behavioral therapies in a confidential, safe setting
- Education that allows for the development of relapse prevention strategies for teens and young adults
Maybe It’s Just a Phase?
Drug abuse isn’t just a phase. If you’ve asked, “what is behavioral therapy”, know it is not a permanent fix. Addiction is a chronic disease that’s as serious as diabetes or asthma. You wouldn’t say that someone’s diabetes is a phase he’ll outgrow, would you? By delaying or avoiding treatment, the condition worsens.
If there are underlying mental health challenges, they’ll also worsen. Additionally, drug use is dangerous and can lead to death. However, your loved one doesn’t have to continue going down this road. At Zelus Recovery, caring therapists routinely help teens and young adults overcome chemical dependency with the following programs:
- Young adult alcohol rehab
- Teen alcohol rehab
- Young adult heroin rehab
- Teen drug rehab
- Teen mental health treatment