Let’s imagine for a moment that you had a dizzy spell, fell over, and cut your head. You wouldn’t expect a doctor to simply bandage your head without examining the underlying reason for your fall. The exact same principle goes for people suffering with substance abuse. And, in many cases, simply treating the addiction is not nearly enough. Doing so fails to address the mental health problems that often cause, result from, or are exacerbated by drug or alcohol abuse. Attempting to define the average length of therapy for addiction treatment is difficult as there’s never a one-size-fits-all. Simply treating surface level addiction can also make relapse much more likely.
Mental health therapy is an important component for anyone trying to overcome substance abuse and addictions. By addressing underlying mental health disorders, clients are much more likely to attain long-term sobriety.
In this article, we address why therapy is so important for people facing addiction and the average length of therapy. At AspenRidge, we offer treatment for both substance addiction and mental health disorders. Call our team 24/7 on (855) 281-5588 to start your journey to recovery.
Why Should People Suffering With Addiction Have Therapy?
Drug and alcohol addiction can exist alongside a range of mental health disorders, including:
- Anxiety and mood disorders
- Bipolar disorder
- Conduct disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Battling any of these conditions alongside a substance abuse problem is incredibly challenging. It can be hard to see a way out and envision a life of sobriety. But remember that in all of these cases, therapy can help.
Understanding Co-occurring Disorders
Therapy can be especially beneficial for co-occurring disorders — when drug and alcohol addiction is linked to ill mental health and one causes the other. Research conducted as part of the Epidemiologic Catchment Area (ECA) Study showed that:
- Around 37% of people with an alcohol disorder had a co-occurring mental health disorder
- Around 53% of people with a drug disorder had a co-occurring mental health disorder.
Experts are undecided as to why there’s such a strong correlation between addiction and mental health problems. It may be that people self-medicate: they drink or take drugs to cope with the symptoms of a psychiatric disorder. Or that both mental health and substance disorders are caused by the same neurological abnormalities.
Despite this uncertainty, the clear link between substance abuse and mental health has been observed time and again. As has the benefits that therapy can provide.
Research shows that we can improve outcomes by tackling medical, psychiatric, or family problems while also treating the addiction itself. This approach is called dual diagnosis treatment — and it’s just one of the treatment options we have for clients here at AspenRidge. This type of program is designed to support people with co-occurring disorders and it promotes therapy as an important part of the journey towards living addiction-free.
What Kinds Of Therapy Are There?
There isn’t just one type of therapy for people with co-occurring disorders and addiction; different types of therapy work better for different people and different health conditions.
And that’s why a therapist may recommend any of the following.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of talking therapy. It helps people to see how their thoughts and attitudes may be affecting the way they feel and behave.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy
Dialectical behavior therapy has similarities with CBT. However, it has been designed specifically for people who feel emotions very strongly.
For clients living with past trauma or PTSD, therapists tend to use a variation on CBT therapy. This may include eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), a technique that helps the brain to reprocess traumatic experiences.
Family therapy involves all members of a family within the therapy process. The aim is to improve how family members interact with one another and find positive solutions to conflict.
This list isn’t exhaustive and there’s a range of other talking therapies available.
How Long Does Therapy Last?
There’s really no easy answer to this question. Everyone has their own unique circumstances and how long it takes for therapy to be effective depends upon:
- The length of time a person has been experiencing a mental health disorder
- The complexity of a person’s mental health disorder and any other challenges they’re experiencing
- The number of co-occurring disorders
- A person’s ability and willingness to engage with the therapy process
- A person’s own goals for therapy.
A Typical Therapy Program
A typical therapy session will last somewhere between 45 minutes and one hour. And weekly sessions rather than infrequent sessions tend to work better, according to academic papers.
In terms of how many therapy sessions an individual may need, one research study found that that:
- 50% of people with mental health problems had improved after eight therapy sessions.
- And that figure jumps to 75% once 26 sessions have been completed.
In real terms, that means — for some people — weekly sessions for a few months will be all it takes to get back on track. Other people attend therapy for a year or two while some see it as an ongoing commitment that helps them stay on top of their emotions and addictions.
Tailored Therapy Sessions
As we’ve stressed before, what’s right for one person won’t necessarily be right for another.
If you or a loved one chooses to enter therapy, an experienced specialist will take a personal history and conduct a thorough diagnostic evaluation. From there, they will tailor a treatment plan built around your/the client’s specific needs.
This plan isn’t set in stone either. Throughout a therapy program, clients and therapists work together to determine how much progress is being made — and how many more sessions are needed.
Addiction Therapy at AspenRidge Recovery
Dual diagnosis support recognizes that each client has their own unique circumstances. It’s about tailoring treatment to each individual and treating the whole person — not just the addiction — so that underlying issues don’t get in the way of long-term sobriety.
That’s exactly what we do here at AspenRidge Recovery. We offer a range of mental health therapies as well as addiction support. Our dual-diagnosis approach ensures the best possible outcomes for our clients and their families.
We know that taking the first step isn’t easy. But if you think that you or someone you know may be suffering from both substance abuse and a psychological disorder, take a look at our treatment options or call us on (855) 281-5588 for 24/7 support. We’re always here to help.