The Benefits of Group Therapy in Addiction Treatment
Addiction is a disease that impacts millions of people worldwide. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, in 2019, 19.3 million adults ages 18 or older had a substance use disorder. Addiction affects the person struggling with it, their family, and nearly all other aspects of their lives.
Addiction treatment can take many forms, and one approach that has proven to be effective is group therapy. Group therapy provides a supportive environment where individuals can connect with others who are going through similar struggles. In this article, we will explore the benefits of group therapy in addiction treatment and why it is an essential component of recovery.
Types of Group Therapy
Group therapy generally involves people meeting regularly to discuss their issues, provide support, and share their experiences. In addiction treatment, a licensed therapist specializing in addiction treatment often leads group therapy. The group therapy sessions can be conducted in person or virtually and structured or unstructured.
One type of group therapy used in addiction treatment is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT is a type of therapy that focuses on identifying and changing negative thoughts and behaviors. In this type of setting, individuals can learn from others who have gone through similar experiences and develop new coping strategies.
Another common type of group therapy used in addiction treatment is 12-step programs. 12-step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA), provide individuals with a structured approach to recovery. In these programs, individuals work through a series of steps (12 to be exact) to achieve and maintain sobriety. This type of setting provides individuals with a sense of community and accountability. AA has been around for decades and has helped save the lives of countless individuals.
According to a study by Keith Humphreys, PhD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University, “[we] determined that AA was nearly always found to be more effective than psychotherapy in achieving abstinence.” He also stated, “If you want to change your behavior, find other people trying to make the same change.” This is a good example of how what works for one person may not work for another in their recovery journey.
The Benefits of Group Therapy
One of the significant benefits of group therapy is that it provides a sense of community and connection. Addiction can be isolating, and individuals may feel like they are the only ones struggling. Group therapy allows individuals to connect with others going through similar experiences, creating a sense of belonging. This connection is crucial because it can help individuals build relationships and feel less alone in their journey toward recovery.
Another benefit of group therapy is that it provides a safe and supportive environment. Feelings of shame and guilt often accompany addiction, and individuals may not feel comfortable sharing their experiences with others. Group therapy provides a non-judgmental space where individuals can share their experiences without fear of being criticized or judged. This safe and supportive environment can help individuals build trust, essential for recovery.
Group therapy also provides individuals with different perspectives and coping strategies. In group therapy, individuals can learn from others who have gone through similar experiences. This can be especially helpful for individuals struggling with addiction for the first time. They can learn from others who have already gone through the recovery process and gain insight into what has worked for them.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), group therapy can be particularly effective for individuals with substance use disorders. Group therapy can provide a level of social support and accountability that may not be present in individual therapy. In group therapy, individuals can hold each other accountable for their actions and provide support and encouragement when needed.
Group Therapy in Combination with Other Treatments
Group therapy is often combined with other types of addiction treatment, such as individual therapy and medication management. Individual therapy allows individuals to work one-on-one with a therapist to address their unique needs and challenges. Medication management can help individuals manage withdrawal symptoms and cravings. The use of multiple types of therapy can improve treatment outcomes and provide individuals with a more comprehensive approach to recovery.
In conclusion, group therapy is a valuable component of addiction treatment. It provides individuals with a sense of community and connection, a safe and supportive environment, and different perspectives and coping strategies. Group therapy can be particularly effective for individuals with substance use disorders.
If you or someone you love is considering getting help for addiction, we are available 24/7 to help you. Contact us today.