The Importance of Psychology in Addiction Treatment

The mind is, perhaps, the most powerful weapon anyone has to fight addiction.
While the physical body is definitely involved in drug cravings, the mind has the power to overcome the body, and it does so every day, many times a day.

The power of the addict’s mind has simply been turned toward the task of maintaining the addiction, rather than preventing its continuance.  The addict who has a high-functioning life despite the abuse of drugs or alcohol is a talented strategist who is expert in reading the emotions of others and good at working three steps ahead.  Ensuring that they will always have their drug of choice is not something a weak minded person, or someone without mental discipline will be able to pull off in conjunction with the management of a reasonable life and work balance, especially for any amount of time. Turning the addict’s mind toward the prevention of addiction behavior is part of what addiction recovery treats, alongside the underlying emotional issues that can lead to and reinforce addiction, and the physical recovery of the addict’s control over their body.

Along with the medical testing that should occur when a patient enters detox, there should be psychological testing performed as well. This testing, which is not painful or lengthy, should give the professionals treating the patient enough information to understand how the patient’s judgment, insight, abstract reasoning, and imagination are functioning.  Because the mind plays such a significant role in ensuring continued sobriety, there is great value to being able to judge the mental assets of the patient early on in the recovery process.

A recovery program should be designed to meet the needs of the specific addict who is entering treatment.  While there are some aspects of recovery that play throughout all recovery programs and make the recovery platform resilient, the bespoke design of a recovery treatment program for an individual addict is what can extend the recovery to last a lifetime.

Psychological testing can sound scary, but in fact it is not a frightening process at all.  The experienced, informed and compassionate mental health professional will start by simply talking with and observing the patient.  Any physical habits, like tics, and verbal habits, quirks and patterns can help the therapist understand where the patient’s mind is.  Facial expressions and the patient’s general appearance are also keys that can give the psychologist clues to the best way to help the patient.  

Making sure that the recovery program designed for the individual addict is going to be effective is the primary goal of the psychological testing process. It is important for the family and friends of an addict to understand that alcohol and drug dependence can be a significant problem even when the drugs are not abused or even used every day.  For someone who is struggling with finding their balance with the use and abuse of substances, there is great value in a recovery treatment program to regain control of their life and live in sobriety.

Distributed by Client Initiative

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