The bad news is that Addictions are considered to be chronic diseases in which compulsive behavior is focused on elements of the environment, drugs alcohol, sex, pornography, or other things. Despite the knowledge that there may be negative physical, social, and personal results or effects of the addiction, the compulsive behavior continues. Unfortunately, many addictions tend to have a high rate of relapse, resumption of the addictive behavior following a period of abstinence.
The good news is that addictions can be successfully treated. With some addictions, such as drugs and alcohol, medical interventions may be required. However, in regard to the treatment of many other addictions, psychotherapy can be and has been proven to be very effective. The objectives of psychotherapy in the treatment of addictions is to stop the addictive behavior, to remain free of the addictive behavior over a period of time (preferably for good), and to resume positive functioning in the family, at work, and socially.
There are a number of Principles of Treatment that is effective. For several decades now, research and experimentation in the laboratory and in real life has demonstrated that the following principles are valid:
- Addictions are complex behavior paterns that have a number of causative factors in personal history, environmental factors, and behavioral and emotional “triggers.”
- Treatment needs to be highly personalized for the addicted individual.
- Treatment needs to be readily accessible.
- To be the most effective, treatment, while focusing on the specific addictive behavior, must approach it in the context of the patient’s personal, social, and other needs.
- To be effective, treatment programs must be completed, not ended or terminated prematurely.
- It is important to pursue the treatments identified as important fully and completely.
- Treatment plans should be reviewed intermittently to assess progress and/or determine adjustments
- Treatment should assess the involvement of other disorders or adverse behavior factors or patterns
- Voluntary treatment is the most effective.
While a critical step in the treatment process is the initial one, that of the patient admitting that they want to change the addictive behavior and are willing to carry out a program of psychotherapy to do so. The next critical part of the process is to actually enter into a program. Wanting to change is something completely different from committing oneself to a program focusing on change. Entering into a program focused on change requires that the patent often make significant commitments to change the ways that they think about things and their associated behavior. Thus, not only the way that they think about their behavior, but also what they are willing to do to change, along with learning healthier ways of thought, action, and behavior are important and necessary steps. However, because of the variety of possible therapeutic approaches provided by psychological counseling, this approach provides a significant advantage.
Because addictive behaviors often affect other people in the patient’s family, interpersonal relationships, workplace, and social contacts, psychological counseling provides a variety of approaches depending on the particular circumstances of the patient. This is important because it is sometimes the behavior of other people in the addict’s life that motivates addictive behavior. Thus, approaches which account for all of these factors is likely to be the most successful over the long term.
The aid of a professional psychologist like Dr. Cassidy F. Blair in her Beverly Hills practice serving the greater Los Angeles area can provide for a skillfully-selected variety of Addiction Treatment in Los Angeles approaches intended to alleviate the addictive behavior but also to improve interpersonal, workplace, and social relationships.