Abnormal Psychology: Mental Health and Mental Illness

What Do Recent Statistics Say About Drug Use in the United States?

What psychological treatments are most useful for addictions?

There are many psychological treatments for addictions. Group therapies are useful in decreasing the stigma of the addiction, confronting denial of the problem, and providing encouragement and support for the struggle toward sobriety. As social animals, we are all highly suggestive to peer influences and tend to conform to group norms. In group therapies, this universal tendency can be put to constructive use. Individual therapies focus on the skills needed to live without substances. Such therapies provide education about the effects of addiction, build coping skills to handle cravings and avoid relapse, and help the person to rebuild relationships and handle stress without using substances.

Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a relatively recent technique developed by William Miller and Stephen Rollnick. MI addresses clients’ ambivalence about changing their behavior. In this brief intervention, clients are asked to consider the pros and cons of substance use and to identify their own personal goals. In a nonjudgmental and reflective manner, counselors aim to guide clients toward greater motivation to change.

Group therapy has been proven effective for treating addictions (iStock).

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