It’s not to say that talk therapy and medication are outdated solutions. These treatment modalities remain at the core of most mental health and addiction treatment programs. But now, mental health professionals have access to many more therapies that are being used to supplement traditional psychotherapy and medical intervention.
Many of these newer treatments are called evidence-based therapies. These are proven practices that have been tested and validated by scientists and researchers in a variety of settings. At Nexus Recovery, every client treatment program includes evidence-based therapies that have been shown to aid in recovery.
What is an Evidence-based Therapy?
Evidence-based therapy is a treatment modality that has been validated by scientific research studies and has shown positive results.
The accreditation process for evidence-based therapies is very rigorous, and showing positive results one time is not adequate.
Every treatment must be proven with multiple large-scale randomized controlled trials that are conducted by independent researchers. Ultimately, this can be a very difficult and lengthy process. However, it ensures that interested parties don’t interfere with the study results.
Accredited evidence-based therapies were listed in the National Registry for Evidence-Based Programs and Practices (NREPP) until its termination in 2018. Today, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) maintains the Evidence-Based Practices Resource Center which includes guides for treating a multitude of conditions using evidence-based therapies.
There are several overarching goals of evidence-based practices. They increase the quality of treatment and increase accountability for individuals in recovery. Evidence-based therapies are proven to be more effective than other forms of treatment, which shortens the time spent in recovery and also reduces cost.
With the emergence of evidence-based therapies, treatment professionals no longer have to guess which practices will be the most effective for their clients. It eliminates the need for “trial and error” which can ultimately cause obstacles in recovery. Best of all, evidence-based therapies can be used to treat everything from eating disorders and depression to self-harm and substance abuse.
If you are considering treatment for yourself or a loved one, call us today.
Examples of Evidence-based Treatments
There are currently hundreds of evidence-based treatments that have been studied and accredited. Here are some of the most common ones:
1. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is based on the concept that our thoughts primarily impact our emotions and behaviors. This treatment method helps people understand their thought patterns so they can turn negative beliefs into more positive ones. A major component of CBT is challenging the false beliefs that people have about themselves and their environment. When people can learn to let go of their limiting thoughts, they can make room for healthier beliefs and improved self-esteem.
2. Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT)
Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) is primarily used to treat people who suffer from borderline personality disorder. This practice helps people cope with heightened emotions using four main tactics—mindfulness, interpersonal response, stress response, and emotional regulation. Over time, people who receive DBT treatment learn to control their emotional responses to triggers and distressing situations. This helps them gain important life skills, particularly when it comes to relationships.
3. Exposure therapy
Exposure therapy is an evidence-based treatment approach that helps people overcome major fears and anxieties. While most people avoid their fears, exposure therapy forces people to face the things that scare them. Exposure therapy enables people to break patterns of fear avoidance so they can overcome their anxieties. During an exposure therapy session, a therapist exposes the client to their feared object, activity, or situation in a safe environment. Together, the client and therapist practice coping mechanisms that can be used in real life.
4. Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)
Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is a practice that helps people learn to accept negative thoughts and situations without judgement, even when the feelings are painful. ACT is deeply rooted in mindfulness and focuses on psychological flexibility. Not only is the person encouraged to accept their emotions, but they also work on committing to that mindset. ACT can be used to treat a variety of conditions, including depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, psychosis, and more.
5. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT)
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) employs a combination of CBT and mindfulness techniques to reduce stress, like meditation and breathwork. Therapists use MBCT to help people eliminate negative thought patterns, ease symptoms of depression, and improve their mindset. MBCT is primarily used to treat people who are experiencing recurrent depression or general unhappiness, but it can also be helpful for individuals who suffer from anxiety and addiction.
In addition to physical cravings, someone with an addiction issue will also spend a tremendous amount of time thinking about their drug of choice. These thoughts become a compulsion and impossible to control, which leads to drug-seeking behavior that can sometimes be criminal.
Feelings of depression, sadness, anxiety, despair, and the like are often at the root of substance abuse. The substance might temporarily mask these feelings, but they return once the high wears off, creating a vicious circle of drug abuse.
Taking a substance will temporarily stop the cravings and compulsion for it, but soon the same feelings return. In time, it takes more and more of the same substance to achieve the same effect it once had.
People addicted to drugs and alcohol may feel like they have no control over their drug use. Refraining from using or stopping seems to be an impossibility for them. The substance controls them, rather than the other way around.
Someone addicted to drugs or alcohol will continue to seek them out even if their addiction has made them lose friends, family, spouses, and jobs. Drug-seeking behavior can even lead to diseases such as hepatitis and HIV/AIDS.
Treatment with Evidence-based Therapies
At Nexus Recovery, we specialize in substance abuse recovery for people of all ages.
We offer a wide range of treatment programs and levels of care that are customized to serve each client’s unique needs.
All of our treatment programs employ a combination of therapy modalities, including evidence-based practices. Some of the evidence-based techniques we use include CBT, DBT, mindfulness coaching, breathwork, and exercise and nutrition.
If you or someone you love is struggling with a substance abuse or mental health disorder, help is available. Contact us at (310) 881-9151 to speak with a member of our team today.
If you or a loved one are suffering from alcohol or drug addiction, we’re here to help. Contact us today and speak with one of our trusted recovery advisors.