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5 Types of Behavioral Therapy for Opioid Use Disorder

Behavioral therapy is crucial in treating Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) as part of a comprehensive approach that often includes medication-assisted treatment (MAT). Opioids are highly addictive, and addicted people often face significant challenges in overcoming dependency. Therapy helps individuals address addiction's psychological and behavioral aspects, promoting lasting recovery. People who live with OUD also have to change their lifestyle and mindset, which is affected by the disorder.

Several types of behavioral therapies can be used alongside MAT to improve treatment outcomes for OUD.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy can help addicted individuals change their lives by targeting their addiction's cognitive and behavioral aspects. Through therapy, an addicted person learns to identify and challenge negative thought patterns, develop coping strategies, set goals, regulate emotions, and build healthier, more adaptive behaviors. This can also help them build stronger peer relationships, ultimately contributing to a successful and sustainable recovery.

CBT is one of the most widely used approaches for OUD. CBT helps individuals identify and modify dysfunctional thought patterns and behaviors associated with drug use. By learning to recognize triggers and develop coping strategies, patients can effectively manage cravings and reduce the risk of relapse. This encourages self-awareness and empowers individuals to take control of their behavior, replacing self-defeating thoughts and actions with more productive, recovery-focused ideas.

CBT can also help individuals identify and improve their support networks. By fostering healthier relationships and addressing interpersonal challenges, it becomes easier for individuals to rely on positive social connections. People in recovery need this emotional support and encouragement during their recovery journey.

Contingency Management Therapy

Contingency Management (CM) is another effective therapy used to treat OUD. CM uses positive reinforcement to encourage abstinence from opioids. Patients earn rewards or incentives for meeting specific treatment goals, such as passing drug tests or attending sessions. This approach helps individuals stay motivated and engaged in recovery, increasing the likelihood of successful treatment outcomes.

CM treats various substance use disorders, including opioid use disorder. It is based on the principles of operant conditioning, where behaviors are modified through positive reinforcement. Some people might call it “gamifying” recovery; people work towards small rewards, but the bigger picture is long-term sobriety. The key idea behind CM is to provide tangible rewards or incentives to individuals when they engage in treatment and meet specific goals.

Family Therapy for Opioid Use Disorder

Family therapy is often essential in addressing the complex dynamics of OUD. It involves the patient's family and loved ones in the treatment process, as their support and understanding are vital for recovery. These sessions can help improve communication, educate family members about addiction, and assist in setting boundaries and expectations. This can help foster a healthier and more supportive environment for the addicted person as they get sober.

Specific conflicts, worries, and issues can be resolved safely during sessions. The goal is that the family heals together and develops healthier relationships. This requires changes in behavior for everyone because the family may be used to being manipulated or even enabling their loved one's poor behavior. Working with a therapist can help loved ones let go so the person with OUD can recover and heal at their own pace.

Children benefit from family therapy, too! Parents can begin to rebuild trust with their kids with the help of a therapist.

Group Therapy

Group Therapy is particularly beneficial for recovering from opioid use disorder. It can help people relate to their peers and seek healthier solutions to their problems.  In treatment, groups help create intimacy and provide a sense of community and belonging. In the sessions, people can share their experiences, strengths, and hopes with peers facing similar struggles.

People can also act out certain scenarios, such as dealing with triggers in a group setting. Often, these groups have a lot of empathy, which helps build self-esteem. This sense of camaraderie can be a powerful motivator and source of encouragement, reducing the isolation sometimes experienced by those with OUD.

Other Types of Therapy

There are other types of therapy, but these are a few that are commonly seen in a drug treatment environment. Many people also benefit from experiential therapy, one-on-one therapy, art therapy, music therapy, and other therapeutic methods. Behavioral therapy can help people start to live a better, more authentic life. This is important for anyone getting sober. It should help you learn more about yourself and help you navigate the world as a newly sober person.

Many people also attend self-help groups and 12-step groups like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, which are peer support groups facilitated by others in recovery.

Getting Help for Opioid Use Disorder in North Carolina

If you or somebody you love struggles with opioid use, we’re here to help. We offer outpatient treatment and Medication-Assisted Treatment options, if appropriate. All MAT participants also participate in therapy of some kind, which leads to better outcomes for clients. Learn more about our programs and how we can help by getting in touch today!




If you are in need of help, please call us at: 910-295-7246 or message us.



Contact Solas Health

Our mission is to improve lives and help you get better.

Addiction, pain, and mental health challenges interfere with the joys of living, but we can help. Dr. Corrigan, and the whole team at Solas Health, will help.

If you are in need of help, please call us at: 910-295-7246 or message us.

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