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Substance Abuse and Group Therapy: Improving Patient Outcomes

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Importance of Group Therapy for Substance abuse

When it comes to Substance Abuse, doctors advocate using an assortment of treatment models to address patient issues. Group therapy has been found as one of the effective treatment models and it is used extensively in clinical settings to better patient outcomes.

The types of group therapies used include:

  • Psychoeducational groups
  • Cognitive behavioural groups
  • Skill development groups
  • Support groups
  • Interpersonal process groups

Each of these models can be beneficial based on the kind of patient outcomes that the treatment is looking to create. The type of group therapy model opted for needs to be tailored keeping these objectives in mind. Some of the successful group therapy models for substance abuse are Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous.

How does Group Therapy Work?

The social dynamics of group therapy make it a very effective form of treatment. Some of the major benefits of group therapy are:

  • Increased connection between people
  • A sense of community support
  • Ability to observe like minded peers and learn from their struggle
  • A culture of recovery

Types of Activities used as part of Group Therapy

Activities for relapse prevention: Relapse is when an individual, in the process of recovery, starts using the substance again. Relapse prevention activities aim at identifying and anticipating situations where there are chances of engaging in the abusive behaviour and ways to cope with the urges.

Activities for gaining insight: These kinds of activities help the individual get in touch with their inner self. They help in identifying and becoming aware of the emotional conflict that leads to the abusive behaviour. The group here acts like a mirror for the individual. Example, when sharing substance use history, other members can give feedback or inquire about something. These feedbacks and inquiries help the individual get to know themselves better.

Activities for maintaining sobriety: These activities help the individual stay in the recovery process and avoid temptation for the substance. They may include activities the individual can engage in to keep themselves busy when they get cravings or activities that help them reason out why they should not engage in it.

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Support groups: These kinds of groups engage in activities that give the individual support and motivation to stick on to sobriety. Their aim is to build a support system for the individual. The activities here inspire and encourage the individual and also to help them keep a track of their progress. Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotic Anonymous are examples of such groups.

Bibliotherapy: This therapy requires the individual read books, stories or poetry on topics related to recovery from substance abuse. After that, discussions are held where they speak of what they learnt or found interesting in these literatures. It is often combined with maintaining a journal which the individual is asked to write daily and later read it out to the group if they agree to.

Reel therapy: This is another therapeutic technique that helps the individual draw inspiration and motivation to recovery through watching movies followed by discussions. They may also play a part in gaining insights to some aspects. Especially when the characters or situations in the movie resemble them.

Skills trainings: Here various skills are taught in groups where they can practise these skills with each other. These skills help the individual get back to the society and function effectively. Some of these are assertiveness training, communication skills, vocational training, etc.

Why Cadabams for Deaddiction?

We use our 28+ years of expertise to ensure that you get the treatment you need and deserve. Our multispecialty team of psychiatrists, psychologists, counsellors and physicians continually work with you and your family members to ensure a well-rounded and holistic addiction treatment.

With state-of-the-art infrastructure, experienced professionals and strong community support, we offer world-class evidence-based treatment that is fit for all stages and all substance abuse disorders. Our high-quality and comfortable facilities, qualified mental health professionals, caregiver support plans, post-diagnostic support, post-care support and crisis intervention ensure that all your needs are met. We help you walk on the path to holistic wellness by destigmatising addiction and treating it as any other illness.

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Group Therapy FAQs

How effective is group therapy?

Group therapy is just as effective as individual therapy and in some cases is even more effective. In group therapy as group members share their stories and struggles, it becomes easier for patients to learn from them and incorporate it in their life. Also, it addresses the social alienation aspect that is often overlooked in addiction.

What if I suffer from social anxiety while talking in groups?

The group facilitators are aware that it is difficult for someone who is new in the group to open up. They will ensure that the therapy moves at a pace that is comfortable for everyone. The group members will support and ensure that you can speak freely about your issues in a non judgemental setting. Since group therapy involves others who are going through similar struggles, even if you don’t open up initially, you can learn from those that do share their stories.

What kind of topics can I talk about during group therapy?

While you can talk freely about your experiences during group therapy, it is highly beneficial if you can open up about family dynamics and how addiction affected it, your past trauma, what triggers you’ve identified, your plans on dealing with substance abuse, your allies in overcoming substance abuse, habits you’ve inculcated and more.

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