- Mental Health
Treating Addiction: Narcotic Addict Treatment
There is a wide spectrum of specific Treatment strategies which are categorized under the general heading of behavior therapy. All of these various Treatments are connected primarily on the applications of the principles of learning. This is a strategy whereby the patient is taught various methods of preventing relapse into previous behavior patterns which involve their own specific and particular form of addiction. Some of these therapies are taught on a conscious level, through a conventional educative process, while others are centered around invoking a direct unconscious reaction to a particular stimulus associated with that the approach to that person's individual and specific addictive substance.
One of the most important strategies in the Treatment of various addictions is aversion therapy which is often used in the therapeutic process administered to patients suffering from various alcohol problems. These therapies are specifically designed to provoke a conditioned avoidance of alcohol by connecting the act of consuming alcohol with a variety of generally unpleasant experiences. The type of unpleasant experiences utilized in this form of therapy has been varied and has included:
- Electric shocks which have generally proven to be ineffective over the longer term.
- Provoking nausea and vomiting has also been generally proven to be ineffective over the longer term but is somewhat more effective than the electric shock therapies.
- Provoking respiratory paralysis or apnea. There does not seem to be sufficient clinical research to conclusively determine the efficacy of this form of Treatment.
- Instilling imagined adverse consequences which is also known as covert sensitization. Covert sensitization has generally been proven to have a reasonably high degree of support in a rehabilitation setting.
There is a wide variety of various behavior therapies utilized in the process of seeking to identify and modify the entire psychological sequence of maladaptive thoughts, behaviors, beliefs, and emotional states, which are known to be inherently linked in the excessive consumption of alcohol and narcotics use.
The therapy of behavioral contracting involves the implementation of a clearly defined series of environmental contingencies. Some of these contingencies can include prompts of behavior as well as a strategy of reinforcement of behaviors which are not compatible with the excessive consumption of alcohol and narcotics use.
One of the examples of behavioral contracting therapy could be allowing the patient to consent to participate in a program whereby their urine is monitored on an ongoing basis and therefore be placed in a position whereby their lack of participation would result in various forms of aversive consequences. These aversive consequences can take a variety of forms which can be custom tailored for the specific patient and can include additional treatment, or a variety of consequences which would be implemented by various family members such as ejection from their home environment or the initiation of divorce proceedings.
Cognitive meditational processes are key in setting behavioral relapse prevention goals and are many times included in a strategy of Treatment to form a comprehensive program.