What Is Evidence Based Treatment?


In simple terms, evidence based treatment for substance abuse is the treatment that has proven most effective in treating the particular addiction at hand.

Over the past 30 years, there have been studies which have been aimed at finding out which are the most effective approaches to treating substance abuse.

These studies have paved the way for evidence based drug and alcohol treatment which has proved effective in combating the effects of dependence on drugs such as heroin, alcohol and even prescription drugs.

Some of the most popular approaches as far as evidence based treatment include:

1. Cognitive-behavioral therapy:

Abbreviated as CBT, this is an approach that combines cognitive and behavioral therapy to tackle dysfunctional emotions and maladaptive behaviors, which are common in substance abusers.

This kind of approach takes into consideration the fact that there are some behaviors which cannot be controlled by rational thought. CBT is an effective approach in dealing with mood, substance abuse, personality disorder and so forth.

The aim of CBT is to teach patients how to correct their previously negative responses to troubling situations. During CBT, the therapist walks the patient through the process of identifying the circumstances that lead to negative behaviors and emotions.

Once this has been taken care of, the next step is identifying the thoughts processes and beliefs that prompt negative behavioral choices.

Once the client is able to understand why they make the choices they do, they are able to make the conscious decision to steer away from negative choices. Overall, the main focus of CBT is to eliminate negative behavior, which is both a characteristic and effect of substance abuse.

2. Motivational Enhancement Therapy

This is a method that revolves around goal making. It is time-limited and involves guiding the client towards a certain goal that they have set. Usually, when walking towards recovery clients have certain milestones that they would love to reach.

The goal of MET is to help the client have a goal that they can focus on, instead of focusing on their addiction. MET is delivered over 12 weeks and is usually preceded by an eight hour assessment. There are four basic ideas about MET.

These are also referred to as The Principles and include:-Roll with Resistance-Support Self Efficacy-Develop Discrepancy-Express Empathy.In order for the above principles to be put into practice, there are certain strategies that are used.

These include asking open questions, listening reflectively, affirming, summarizing and eliciting self motivational statements.

These strategies are applied systematically with the aim of inspiring intrinsic motivation within the client, instead of having them depend on external motivation to bring about change.

3. Individual Drug Counseling

This kind of approach focuses on the impact of the substance abuse on several aspects of the client’s life, including their employment, family structure and social interactions.

The counselor helps the client to make short term behavioral goals.

The counselor also assists the client in developing coping skills that are crucial in enabling the client to abstain from the substance they have been abusing.

4. Relapse Prevention Training

When one has battled addiction in their past, there is always that fear that they might relapse and go back to their old ways.

Relapse prevention training focuses on equipping the client with skills to prevent relapse.

Such skills include being aware of high risk situations that might tempt one to get back to their addiction and being conscious of what addiction means to you and your life. In short, relapse prevention programs focus on teaching a newly sobered individual how to effectively deal with the triggers of relapse.

5. 12 Step Facilitation

This might also be referred to as 12 step program. If you have watched a film or read anything that had a recovering alcoholic in it, it is very likely that you came across the 12 step program.

This basically refers to a 12 step routine that recovering clients go through on their way to getting clean.

These 12 steps include admitting the existence of an addiction that one cannot control, admitting mistakes with the help of an experienced member (your sponsor), helping others suffering from an addiction and learning to live a new life under a new code of behavior.
It had already been mentioned that evidence based treatment is basically treatment which has proof of effectiveness.

All the above approaches have proved effective before and it is why they continue to be used in substance abuse treatment.

Usually, different approaches will be combined during the recovery journey.

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