Types of addiction: chemical and behavioral addictions



Dr Lira de la Rosa recommends working with a psychiatrist and therapist for the most effective recovery treatment. A psychiatrist can prescribe medications that help with withdrawal, cravings, anxiety, and depression if needed. A counselor or licensed psychologist who specializes in substance use disorders can help fight negative thought and behavior patterns with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). A combination of these two treatments can help you understand your triggers, learn to manage your triggers and cravings, and find healthier ways to cope during your recovery, says Dr. Lira de la Rosa.

During the process, you may also need to address other areas of your life that have been overlooked, including underlying health issues or mental health issues. Therapy can also help you mend relationships that have been affected during substance use.

Dr Lira de la Rosa also points out that some people may not be ready to live a life of sobriety. In these situations, he says harm reduction strategies can be used to help people reduce their substance use and have a healthier relationship with substances.

On another note, relapse is often part of the recovery process. It does not mean that a person or their treatment has failed. It just means that their treatment plan needs to be adjusted or revised.

Perhaps the most important part of recovery is that the person has to want to get better. “Sustained motivation is the cornerstone of treatment,” says Dr Mou, but the responsibility does not lie solely with the person in treatment. The treatment team also has a responsibility to help the person stay motivated on their recovery journey, he says.

What are the treatment options for behavioral addiction?

Treatment for behavioral addiction usually focuses on therapy, but can also include medication. “You can benefit from individual therapy to address the triggers and symptoms of withdrawal, as well as to learn new ways to adopt healthier behavior,” says Dr. Lira de la Rosa.

Like chemical addiction, common treatments for behavioral addiction include cognitive behavioral therapy and motivational interviewing. The goal is to change thought and behavior patterns and develop new coping skills.

How to help yourself or a loved one during addiction recovery

If you are concerned about substance abuse or behavioral addiction, know that you are not alone. Finding support and practicing self-compassion can help you on your recovery journey. Here are some tips that can get you started:

Find a support person

Confide in a trusted family member, friend or mentor. Bonding with a close contact can get you through difficult times, but keep in mind that professional help may be needed as well.

If you’re helping a loved one recover from an addiction, Dr Lira de la Rosa says it’s a good idea to seek support for yourself as well. “You can feel a range of emotions in this process, and having your own space to talk about your experiences can be beneficial,” he says. You can also then model positive behavior for your loved one.

Contact a mental health professional who specializes in substance abuse or behavioral addiction.

Dr. Lira de la Rosa explains that mental health clinicians can provide a space for you to explore your concerns, your substance abuse history, and help you determine your treatment options. If you don’t know where to start, contact the Addiction and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). This can help you connect with local treatment centers, support groups, etc. If you don’t have insurance, they can also direct you to appropriate publicly funded treatment programs.


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