Addictions are among the most widespread psychological pathologies in the population, to the point that the abuse of certain substances with addictive potential is strongly normalized (despite their disastrous consequences on physical and mental health).
But, fortunately, research in clinical psychology and health sciences has made it possible to develop valuable and very versatile therapeutic resources to help those who suffer from these disorders. Furthermore, much of the effectiveness and flexibility of these forms of intervention in patients is due to the fact that today addiction treatment is not seen as something that always has to go through. working with dependent people as individual entities, but rather also involves other people.
In this article, we will see what is one of these therapeutic approaches in which there is the participation of several people: group treatment of addictions.
Overcoming addiction is not an individual process
Addictions are caused by changes in the nervous system; changes in the brain that have been induced by the use of a certain drug or by the repeated performance of an addictive behavior (for example, playing for money on slot machines.
These changes in certain structures of the nervous system make the person much more predisposed to continue to nurture this dependence (or even to develop other new addictions in parallel), and at the same time they participate in the appearance of the withdrawal syndrome: when the longer than usual without satisfying the addiction, you start to feel very bad quickly, and you may even have psychiatric symptoms of varying severity.
However, Beyond the biomedical facet of addictions, there is also a psychosocial facet. The drug addict is not only limited to undergoing the organic alterations generated by the pathology (tremors after having spent a long time without consuming, greater sensitivity to stimuli, etc.), he also builds a way of life, of thought and of feeling that contributes to addiction. . For example, it is very common for people with a deeply rooted addiction in their life to orient their social life towards interacting with other people who are also addicted, leaving friendships, relationships with family, etc. background.
This social and contextual element, the activities, the people and the environments to which the person is exposed, participate in the maintenance of the addiction … but it means that Through this journey it is also possible to help the person who wants to overcome his illness.
This is why in recent decades, therapeutic intervention processes have emerged in patients that go beyond the individual. For example, through what is called the therapeutic community, the patient is encouraged to get involved in a dynamic of activities carried out collectively and in mutual aid in an open and inclusive space of people with similar problems.
But in this article, we will focus on a specific context of therapeutic group intervention: group psychotherapy to help addicts.
The 5 keys to addiction treatment
It is the characteristics of group drug addiction treatment that make this modality of intervention an effective resource for exiting drug addiction or addictive behavior.
1. Participants motivate each other
Don’t forget the human component of group therapy sessions; In them it is easier to find understanding people with those who suffer from addiction, and empathy is generated. From this empathy arises the desire for the group therapy partner to break out of their addiction, and this is reflected in the way participants relate to each other.
2. Patients have theoretical and practical information
In group therapy applied to addictions, a lot of valuable information is circulated on how to treat this pathology. This information is provided by both the therapists and the rest of the assistants., who bring their experiential point of view.
3. A therapeutic experience full of memorable moments is generated, which are “anchored” in the memory of the person.
Much of the effectiveness of different forms of therapy lies in their ability to draw the person’s attention to themselves at key times, so that they behave in a manner consistent with what they have. learned in his everyday life. .
Do it in a group, group therapyplace many moments that remain engraved in the memory of the participants, because it is an experience rich in nuances and in which you interact with several people, each with their own history and identity. Thanks to this, many situations that patients will experience on a daily basis will evoke memories of what happened in previous sessions.
4. The wait to talk about oneself in front of several people motivates not to relapse
Having made the commitment to overcome addiction in front of several people, the degree of motivation to the therapeutic process and to overcome this pathology grows.
Patients are less exposed to the temptation to give in to drugs or addictive behaviors because it is only a “personal decision”, and they also begin to think about the interests of this community of which they are a part and the image that they project. .
5. Each person has several examples to draw inspiration from
Finally, don’t forget that group therapy is also a place to find referrals; people who, through their history or their attitude, make other patients feel identified with them and see firsthand that it is possible to get out of addiction.
Are you interested in having therapeutic support to overcome an addiction?
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