The Role of Therapy in Treating Substance Abuse


Much of the time, substance abuse does not exist in a vacuum. In many cases, a stressor such as job loss or a loved one’s death can cause someone to begin using. Therapy can identify these causes and patterns, pinpoint who is helping and hurting, and give clients tools to reach sobriety. In addition, it can provide coping mechanisms to reduce the risk of relapse.

Effective addiction treatment doesn’t mean only treating physical dependence; it means addressing the whole person. For these reasons, many treatment programs include some form of therapy. Learn more about how therapy can help.

Teletherapy services are available during COVID-19.

Helps People Overcome Addiction

Therapy for substance use helps in several ways. Here are some things that a person with a substance use disorder may work on in therapy:

  • Examine the causes of and contributors to their addiction.
  • Identify people, places, and things helpful and harmful to sobriety.
  • Discover patterns that have led to substance use and approaches for breaking those patterns.
  • Identify co-occurring disorders that may impact substance abuse.
  • Develop approaches to deal with cravings for a substance.

Successful addiction treatment focuses on the whole person. Substance use is just one part of a person, and it may interplay with factors such as financial status, job, cultural background, trauma, and more. Psychotherapy for drug addiction allows people to open up about their stressors and find ways to advocate for themselves.

Helps to Tailor Treatment

Therapy is one way to tailor treatment to a person’s needs. Types of therapy that are offered include cognitive behavioral, dialectical behavioral, acceptance and commitment, interpersonal, and psychodynamic and psychoanalysis. One type of therapy (or multiple types) can be utilized, depending on what fits your needs. You may find that one type of treatment is more effective for you than another.

Here are some common therapies used in addiction treatment:

  • Interpersonal Therapy: Focuses on relationships with loved ones, friends, colleagues, and others.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Works on changing thought processes and behaviors.
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy: Helps clients better handle stresses and emotions.
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: Helps clients accept and make changes.
  • Psychodynamic and Psychoanalysis: Explore motivations and inner conflicts.

Addresses the Big Picture

Therapy prepares clients for life after treatment. It helps them fill their toolbox with coping strategies and self-advocacy practices. It addresses dual diagnoses to minimize the chances of a client starting to use again.

Therapy often is introduced during inpatient or outpatient treatment. But it’s important to remember that therapy can continue well after treatment. For many people in recovery, therapy is a way to remain accountable after they leave clinical care.

Many people use drugs or alcohol because of psychological, emotional, or social factors. Therapy works to address all of these factors. In addition, it provides a support system, increases accountability, and helps clients achieve their goals.

Therapy is an integral part of our treatment programs. In fact, most of our levels of care include therapy as a treatment component.

To learn more about our therapeutic approaches and to get answers to your questions, contact Pyramid Healthcare.

All content provided on the Pyramid Healthcare, Inc. blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended to represent medical advice. Pyramid Healthcare, Inc. and its blog authors make no guarantees as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. Pyramid Healthcare, Inc. and its blog authors will not be liable for any errors or omissions in the information provided in the blog, nor be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information. The opinions stated in this blog reflect those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Pyramid Healthcare, Inc. These terms and conditions are subject to change at any time with or without notice.