Popular and Effective Addiction Treatment Methods

People enter recovery every day of the year for many different reasons. Some people struggle with eating too much or too little. Other people have a hard time controlling their cravings for drugs or alcohol. Still others may be suffering from mood disorders such as anxiety or depression. This article will give you a better understanding of some of the most effective addiction treatment methods in the recovery field today.


Psycho-educational therapy is instructional in nature. With this therapy, the individual learns the scientific information necessary to thoroughly understand why they struggle from a bio-psycho-social perspective. Learning modules may include disease education, communications skills, self-esteem building skills, types of treatment approaches, different treatment options and more. This therapy is typically lecture-style.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT is one of the most established treatment modalities in the mental health and addiction field today. The focus is to change unhealthy mental patterns to facilitate similar change to behavioral patterns. The individual is taught to challenge predictable thought patterns and then change them.

Experiential Therapy

Experiential therapy is an umbrella term that denotes a wide range of action-based therapeutic techniques. Ropes courses, wilderness experiences, animal or equine therapy, role playing therapy, yoga and movement therapy, expressive arts and music therapy and other treatment modalities all come into play with experiential therapy. The combination of movement with dialogue and contemplation can identify old unproductive thought processes and behavior patterns as a route to changing these.

Twelve Steps

The “twelve steps” is a peer-focused support program based on the founding principles of Alcoholics Anonymous, which is more commonly known simply as “AA.” Today there are many offshoots of AA itself, including Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Eating Disorders Anonymous (EDA), Overeaters Anonymous (OA) and others. The program is simple – a person in recovery (a “sponsor”) pairs with a struggling person (a “sponsee”) to work through twelve sequential steps together to help the sponsee maintain abstinence from a number of life-limiting addiction issues. Attending group meetings with other recovering people is also an important part of this program.


Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy, or EMDR for short, was created by Dr. Francine Shapiro to support trauma victims through the recovery process. EMDR is a relatively recent entrant into the treatment arena but is already producing excellent results. For people who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in particular, EMDR has been shown to reduce the incidence of anxiety, depression, panic attacks, nightmares and other common manifestations of past trauma.

Grief Therapy

Expressed grief can be a powerful force for change in the life of a person struggling with addiction, mood or trauma issues. Grief therapy typically revolves around Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’ “Five Stages of Grief” model and may include both individual and group therapy.

These are just a selection of today’s most popular and effective addiction treatment methods. The best treatment programs will offer a wide range of treatment options so that each person can find those that work best for his or her specific situation.