New to Psychology? Familiarize yourself with the different treatments.

New to therapy? Familiarize yourself with the different treatments.

Understanding Different Forms of Addiction Therapy

Psychodynamic theory explains addiction as needs that were unsatisfied as children. The belief is that some need was deprived and this has caused the psychological problem. Psychodynamic therapists guide substance abuse patients in manner that allows the patient to discover and resolve the underlying conflicts that led to the disorders. The therapist also attempts to help the individual change their lifestyle. Weakness: Time consuming, costly. Success is unknown.

Behavioral/Cognitive theory views that addiction is caused by operant conditioning. This theory explains that the temporary reduction of tension or euphoria produced by a drug has a rewarding effect, thus increasing the likelihood that the user will seek this reaction again. This causes the user to keep seeking the effect which leads to higher doses and stronger methods. This rewarding then turns to an expectancy which is similar to medicating a problem. The treatment widely used by behavioral/cognitive therapists is aversion therapy, an approach based on classical conditioning. Addicts are presented with unpleasant stimulus at the same time as using the drug. The idea is that the unpleasant feelings will transfer to the act of using the drug. Weakness: Can be very time consuming and costly.

Biological theory believes that there biological factors that may cause or add to the development of addiction. Such things as genetic predisposition and biological processes are possible causes. Biological approaches include abstinence and maintenance, whereby a person does not increase their present consumption rate. Biological approaches also use antagonist drugs such as Disulfiram (Antabuse) in order to deter future drinking. Weakness: Can be dangerous. Low rates of success.

Sociocultural theory believes that addiction is caused by social problems such as peer pressure or other social based settings. For this reason Sociocultural theorist believe that substance abuse is best treated in this same setting. Treatments that are used are self-help programs, culture- and gender-sensitive programs, and community prevention programs. Such programs include alcoholics anonymous, group therapy, and rehabilitation centers. Weakness: Very low rate of success. Depends entirely upon the patient’s willingness to comply.


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Triola Vincent. Tue, Feb 02, 2021. New to Psychology? Familiarize yourself with the different treatments. Retrieved from

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