Treating Substance Abuse & Addictive Behaviors

SUBSTANCE ABUSE and other ADDICTIVE BEHAVIORS (eating disorders, sexual compulsions, gambling) are particularly challenging difficulties to overcome. There is no one right way that all people absolutely must adopt in the effort to successfully manage the tendencies to engage in certain problem behaviors. Some people benefit substantially and sufficiently by involvement in a 12-step program, such as AA or NA, whereas others do best with a combination of methods, such as a 12-step program along with individual therapy, and/or a therapy group. As is true with other problems, different people achieve success in different ways. Whatever works for that individual is the practical way to determine the value and success of any given therapeutic endeavor.

The most essential factor for success in abstaining is the individual’s genuine desire to be free of the addictive behavior. Also important are the particular benefits of ceasing the behavior, and the negative consequences that may result if it continues. There are many additional factors, however, which can powerfully counter a person’s desire and reasons to stop, such as the immediate gratification or relief gained through the behavior and the loss of adequate control over the impulse to engage in the behavior. Strengthening adaptive coping skills is a very necessary part of affecting behavioral change. In therapy, the individual is assisted in identifying and developing alternative coping strategies, and is also afforded the opportunity to understand why and how the problem started and progressed. Without a good understanding of the problem, a person is at a significant disadvantage in being able to resist the tendency to fall back into old habits and patterns. Also, increasing self-awareness is very important for the purpose of self-monitoring and spotting trouble situations early on. Typically, the earlier a developing problem is interrupted, the easier it is to avert. Learning effective ways of preventing relapse, and managing any temporary lapses, is a major goal for those in therapy for substance abuse or other forms of addictive behavior.

Help begins with a phone call.

If you are in Manhattan, call me for personal sessions at (800) 768-1641. If you prefer to see one of my trained licensed behavioral therapists throughout the NYC area, I can help you as well. I am clinical director of CTA. CTA is a network of experienced therapists across the New York metro area. We strive to match you with the right therapist for you, to help you improve your life through management of addiction through recognition of addictive behaviors, thoughts and emotions. To inquire about an appointment, please call (917) 751-6020.

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