Dual Diagnosis - Depression and Anxiety

Does Mental Health Therapy Help in Reducing Drug and Alcohol Addiction?

Mental health therapy plays an important role in treating drug and alcohol addiction. Learn more about dual diagnosis, therapy benefits, and more!

Does Mental Health Therapy Help in Reducing Drug and Alcohol Addiction?

Table of contents

Written by

Brian MooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

Jeremy ArztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

January 11, 2023

The Forge Recovery Center

Drug addiction can trigger and intensify feelings of hopelessness and loneliness and lead to depression. Therefore, it is more than getting physically dependent on these substances as these are psychological factors that play a crucial role in compelling individuals to abuse.

This is a significant reason individuals indulge in negative activity even after drug detox.

However, by receiving mental health therapy, individuals can escape cravings, manage temptations as well as control emotional triggers. This article details how mental health therapy helps reduce drug and alcohol addiction!

Which Mental Health Therapies Help Reduce Drug and Alcohol Addiction?

Drug and alcohol addiction treatment generally consist of several groups and individual therapy sessions. These sessions help individuals recovering from drug addiction polish their skills to stay sober throughout the recovery journey. Some of them include the following:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

This form of psychotherapy (or talk therapy) is an effective treatment for drug and alcohol addiction. CBT encourages individuals to make a difference between what they do and what they are doing.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Overcoming drug and alcohol addiction with DBT is effective since dialectical behavior therapy helps individuals with borderline personality disorder.

Contingency Management (CM)

Individuals who are extremely into drug and alcohol addiction or opioids can seek contingency management treatment.

Motivational Interviewing (MI)

A superb drug and alcohol addiction counseling, this process allows individuals to embrace their own treatment efforts and act accordingly.

Couples and Family Therapy

Drug and alcohol addiction affects more than one’s life by severely traumatizing one’s family. However, studies show that family therapies contribute to lower relapse rates, enhancing happiness among the members.

Group Therapy

Group therapy contributes wonderfully to drug and alcohol addiction recovery as one or more patients discuss their issues together. This happens under the leadership of therapists who patiently listen to their experiences apart from sharing their knowledge and experiences. This allows a place for constructive feedback regarding symptoms or signs of mental health and how one should avoid it.

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)

Another significant drug and alcohol addiction treatment, rational emotive behavior therapy, treat individuals diagnosed with an obsessive-compulsive disorder. Additionally, it treats depression, social anxiety, and disruptive behavior.

The other forms of therapy done by drug and alcohol addiction treatment centers include:

  • Assertive Community Treatment (ACT): This type of community-based mental health therapy allows reaching out to the community. It follows an individualized treatment process.

  • Therapeutic Communities (TC): These are standard long-term residential treatment procedures that emphasize helping individuals develop new and healthier values and behaviors.

These therapies have several advantages, which are discussed below in detail.

How Does Mental Health Therapy Help to Reduce Drug and Alcohol Addiction?

Medical experts address addiction as a chronic and progressive brain condition that affects an individual physically and mentally. In other words, continuous exposure to drugs and alcohol alters the structure and function of the brain. So, it changes the way how someone perceives or processes information mentally.

Here are the ways each therapy helps an individual towards progress:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Advantages

  • CBT helps to recognize mood shifts, thought processes and behaviors that trigger a craving for drugs.

  • Allows patients to examine recurring thoughts and filter out unhealthy and negative ones.

  • Helps in altering inappropriate behaviors and negative approaches to handling any risky situation.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): Advantages

  • Teaches them the process of controlling an individual's emotions.

  • Reduces self-destructive or suicidal tendencies that generate due to extreme emotional turmoil.

  • Focuses on four primary skill sets: regulation of emotions, mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness and distress tolerance.

  • Reduces cravings for drugs and assistss individuals so that they avoid instances or opportunities that can cause relapse.

  • Boosts healthy behaviors and teaches several coping mechanisms to the individuals.

Contingency Management (CM): Advantages

  • Enhances sobriety and reinforcement as through this method, people are provided material rewards. This motivates them to their positive behaviors.

  • Treats relapse effectively as individuals are pushed into self-appreciation as they gain self-confidence.

Motivational Interviewing (MI): Advantages

  • Enhances an individual's motivation through four guiding principles. This includes - resisting the right reflex, understanding one's motivations, listening to every word with empathy, and encouraging the individual.

  • Strengthens a person's confidence and motivates them to change their behavior according to their values.

  • Individuals feel a sense of control throughout the session as they themselves progress toward development.

Couples and Family Therapy: Advantages

  • Try to teach individuals how family members, caregivers, and friends are a powerful force contributing to positive changes in life.

  • Include members throughout sessions so that an individual finds motivation to stay in these sessions.

  • Allows one-on-one discussion that helps share instances and memorable happy moments and unburdens an addict and their family members.

Group Therapy: Advantages

  • Allows individuals to think that they are not alone in the recovery journey.

  • Facilitates giving and receiving support from people with similar experiences.

  • Helps to relate to one another in positive ways and compels one to find their own “voice”.

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT): Advantages

  • Helps individuals detect, challenge and replace their negative feelings and thoughts with positive and adaptive ones.

  • Studies say that this method incites goal achievement and emotional betterment within individuals.

  • Allows individuals to develop good habits and think more rationally to gain healthy emotions.

Who is at Risk of Developing Drug and Alcohol Addiction?

Individuals from all backgrounds and beliefs can experience drug and alcohol addiction. However, regardless of whatever one's upbringing is, several factors contribute to the abuse. These include:


An individual's heredity plays a significant role in drug and alcohol addiction. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, genetics play a role in addiction. In addition, if family members have this addiction, their children are likely to develop the traits as well.


Environmental factors play a significant role in developing signs and symptoms of drug and alcohol addiction in individuals. According to studies, children and teenagers develop these traits due to a lack of parental control. Therefore, they tend to experiment with alcohol and drugs at a very tender age to cope with their emotions.

Peer Pressure

Studies also confirm that peer pressure is another primary reason people develop drug and alcohol addiction at a young age. Extreme compulsion from friends to “fit in” forces an individual to experiment with substances that lead to addiction.

Mental Illness

If an individual has any underlying mental health issue (known as a dual diagnosis), it enhances the risks of drug addiction and often causes relapse in drug and alcohol addiction. Mental illness compels a person to get out of that emotional turmoil faster, where it seems consuming drugs is the only way to get relief.


Another significant reason that results in drug and alcohol addiction is if a person has any trauma. This is very common in women as they tend to develop negative lifestyles due to sexual or physical abuse. They, therefore, use drugs and alcohol as a way to self-medicate and escape from traumatic events in their life.

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What are the Symptoms of Developing Drug and Alcohol Addiction?

Drug and alcohol abuse begins as an experiment but soon develops into addiction. Some of the signs of drug and alcohol addiction are stated separately for a better understanding of individuals:

Understanding Unhealthy Use of Drugs and Alcohol in Yourself

  • Developing extreme urges to intake more drugs whenever there is any emotional turmoil

  • An intense feeling that one needs to consume drugs repeatedly, sometimes throughout the day

  • Requiring more drugs and alcohol to create a euphoric effect

  • Cutting away from social responsibilities and not interacting with people

  • Increasing the dosage of drugs over time and under pressure

  • Stealing money or opting for extreme levels to get drugs

  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms whenever trying to stop taking them

  • Indulging in risky activities/crime under the influence of drugs and alcohol

Understanding the Misuse of Drugs in a Loved One or Family Member

  • Frequently missing work and school and drop in performance of work due to effects of drug and alcohol addiction

  • Sudden weight loss or gain, lack of energy and motivation in doing work, deterioration of health, etc.

  • Keeping secrets, abrupt change in behavior and negative approach, not involving family and friends in any matters of life

  • Frequently requesting money without providing any explanation

  • Lack of interest in grooming and clothing, not interested in music or art or any creative aspects of life

What are Some Common Drug and Alcohol Addiction Disorders?

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Organization’s (SAMHSA) 2018 survey, almost 9.2 million people in the U.S. suffer simultaneously from Substance Use Disorder (SUD) and a mental health disorder i.e. co-occurring disorder. These include:

Anxiety and Depression

One of the major drug and alcohol addiction disorders, anxiety and depression, happen due to extreme consumption of the following substances. In addition, drugs and alcohol inflate these issues leading to an overdose of substances.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

A major mood disorder that features depressive episodes, here a person memorizes traumatic episodes in life, which triggers alcohol and drug addiction. As the person indulges in alcohol and drugs, it inflates mental illness and causes extreme mood swings and emotional disturbances.

Bipolar Disorder

This is another disorder that happens due to excessive alcohol and drug intake. However, a mental health disorder, alcohol, and other substances trigger signs and symptoms. This leads to mental health deterioration where a person has extreme mood shifts, often leading to suicidal thoughts!

Health Issues

Over time, excessive drug use leads to chronic diseases and other serious health issues. This includes high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, cardiac arrest, liver damage, and digestive issues. Cancer and its associated pain and body issues are also common causes of drug and alcohol addiction.

Apart from the ones mentioned above, there are several other disorders caused due to drug and alcohol addiction. This not only hampers relationships but also destroys an individual's well-being.

What are the Benefits of Addiction Centers in Reducing Drug and Alcohol Addiction?

Here are some benefits of drug and alcohol addiction centers:

  • Ideal rehab for drug and alcohol addiction provides a safe and natural environment for treatment.

  • They ensure extensive support and care, often aftercare facilities, to ensure an individual is free of such addictions.

  • Rehab centers provide drug and alcohol addiction programs to educate people about the positive aspects of life.

  • Ideal rehabs indulge people in fun-filled activities to keep them engaged.

  • They assist in individually focused treatment plans as well.

  • Now that individuals know how mental health therapy helps reduce drug and alcohol addiction, they must follow the above measures to ensure recovery. However, consulting a specialist or seeking a rehab center is a good decision in case of severe consequences.

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We’re here to help you find your way

Do you have more questions about mental health or drug addiction? Reach out.

The Forge Recovery Center Provides Professional Mental Health Therapy for Addiction

The Forge Recovery Center provides individualized treatment plans, evidence-based care, and building a sense of community. They also use frequent outside trips and adventures to strengthen bonds, create new healthy relationships, and prove recovery can (and should be!) fun with regular fun adventures. Contact The Forge Recovery Center today to learn more!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Multidimensional Family Therapy (MDFT)?

Multi-Dimensional Family Therapy (MDFT) involves the whole family being allowed to interact. They address multiple teenage issues drug and alcohol symptoms that help a therapist understand the underlying issue triggering a relapse of substance abuse.

How do yoga and meditation help cope with drug and alcohol addiction?

Yoga and meditation strengthen and builds awareness and self-control. Through this, abusers can reduce drinking motives and triggers that compel them to intake substances. This builds confidence, reduces stress, and an individual can dissipate from excessive alcohol consumption.

How do music and art therapy help in curing drug and alcohol addiction?

An effective cure for drug and alcohol addiction, music and art therapy lowers cortisol levels in an individual's body. This hormone induces stress and helps an addicted person to get relief from daily life stresses.

Which addiction causes significant relapse?

Research says that alcohol and opioids have higher chances of relapse since they are readily available.

What are some common types of drugs that cause addiction?

There are certain drugs, such as central nervous system depressants and stimulants, hallucinogens, dissociative anesthetics, narcotics analgesics, inhalants, cannabis, etc., cause severe addiction.

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