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The role of interpersonal therapy in rehab for substance use disorders

Interpersonal therapy

Interpersonal therapy, commonly known as IPT, seeks to improve how human beings communicate and build relationships with others. It has proven effective in treating substance use disorders (SUDs) in certain people, leading several recovery centers to incorporate IPT within comprehensive programs. This approach may also help with managing mental health illnesses that occur alongside SUDs. Below, let’s explore the role of interpersonal therapy in rehab for drug and alcohol addiction.

Rehab: Roles of interpersonal therapy in SUD treatment

Recovering from substance use addiction is no doubt challenging, which is why relapse or a brief “slip” is common at least once during recovery. Getting back on track is integral for the individual moving forward. Interpersonal therapy helps provide coping skills when you start your recovery today. Here are some of the functions of IPT in the recovery journey:

1. Encourages and strengthens relationships

Individuals struggling with drug or alcohol addiction often begin isolating themselves, pulling away from family and friends. Addiction, generally, causes strain in relationships in other ways too, which results in more stress.

Interpersonal therapy can help individuals rebuild and strengthen these damaged relationships, as well as encourage new healthy bonds in the future. It creates room for one to identify habits and behaviors that result in the creation of bad relationships. People may also improve their communication skills and learn to express their thoughts and needs appropriately.

2. Addresses triggers

Triggers are those situations or things that can cause relapse. Maintaining sobriety involves identifying said triggers for the individual.

Many individuals become addicted while seeking a way to handle pain or trauma. Interpersonal therapy allows individuals to process, handle and move past their traumatic experiences and triggers. Finding healthy coping mechanisms is key to moving forward.

3. Provides support

Enrolling in SUD rehab grants one access to professional support free from judgment. That support is crucial to treatment.

With interpersonal therapy as part of the recovery plan, individuals can learn ways to connect with themselves and others. Understanding ways to reach out to others when feeling stressed or on the edge of using again can help one avoid relapse.

4. Improves quality of life

Interpersonal therapy focuses on improving one’s mental and emotional health. It allows individuals to overcome mental blocks and emotional problems that threaten their overall well-being.

Facing challenges and disappointments and overcoming temptations becomes can become easier with everyday coping strategies that are learnable through IPT. In turn, one’s quality of life greatly improves, which allows individuals to live fulfilling lives and reduces the probability of relapse.

Phases of interpersonal therapy in rehab

Below are the three different phases involved in IPT in addiction rehab:

1. Assessment phase

During the initial assessment phase, a psychotherapist works closely with the patient to identify triggers, history, and emotional and mental barriers. Gathering information will help them gain insights into the individual to create a personalized treatment plan.

2. Treatment phase

In the second phase, the therapist develops solutions and a plan to counter the problems identified in the assessment phase. The individual then incorporates these solutions into their life to aid recovery. Different techniques, such as music therapy, group sessions, and communication exercises, can be useful in this stage.

3. Final rehab phase of interpersonal therapy

The time it takes to reach the final stage depends on many factors, including the addiction level. It can take months or even years.

In this phase, the practitioner and the patient review the success of the previous steps. They analyze the progress and failures to come up with long-lasting solutions. Therapists also provide ongoing support and resources to help individuals in their recovery journey.

Concluding words on IPT in substance use treatment

Interpersonal therapy can be an effective way to help certain individuals in addiction recovery as it has the larger goal to reduce the risk of a relapse. IPT encourages individuals to have stronger, healthier relationships with themselves and others. For a person struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, interpersonal therapy is something to consider within a comprehensive treatment program.

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