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Reality Therapy in Drug Rehab


Sana Lake Recovery Center helps thousands of addicts across the United States make lasting recoveries every year. Though most people once viewed addiction as a simple lack of willpower, drug rehab specialists now recognize it as a neurological disease. Even the most severe cases of addiction can be treated with proven therapies.

The most popular treatments for drug rehab are evidence-based therapies. These are therapies which have been tested in controlled environments, statistically proven to produce lasting recoveries, and approved by government and private agencies alike. They primarily include individual counseling, group discussions, and family therapy.

However, there are several other treatments which rehab clinicians have used with great success over the last several years. One of the most common is reality therapy – a set of treatments designed to help addicts make smooth transitions from clinical environments to the outside world. The coping strategies patients develop during rehab are only useful if they maintain them for years to come. Here are some of the most important aspects of reality therapy for drug rehab.

Lifelike Environments

Most rehab clinics use reality therapy in the management of their inpatients’ everyday lives. Inpatients lives full-time at their treatment facilities for one to three months and receive fifty or more hours of therapy per week. Addiction professionals help them connect such a large amount of therapy to real-life situations by having them cook, clean, schedule appointments, and even shop for themselves. Performing everyday tasks while receiving treatment helps inpatients transition smoothly from supervised, clinical environments to the independence and responsibility of normal life.

Learning About Control

The other important lesson of reality therapy is that everyone must live alongside other people. They must satisfy their own needs without compromising the needs of others. Accomplishing this goal requires that rehab patients understand the difference between situations they can control and situations they can’t control. Learning this difference is crucial for making productive choices in difficult real-life situations.

Cravings – Avoidance or Mitigation?

During individual counseling sessions, addicts develop two types of strategies for dealing with future drug cravings. First, they learn their addiction triggers and determine ways to avoid them altogether. Second, they learn ways they can mitigate their cravings when they encounter unavoidable situations involving drugs or alcohol.

Reality therapists teach addicts to practice avoidance in situations they can control. For example, heroin addicts can take indirect routes to work or school in order to avoid driving by dealers’ houses or parks where they used to get high.

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