Why Do I Have to Go to Therapy During Rehab?

Rehabilitation is a complicated physiological and psychological process. Many people mistakenly believe that successfully surviving detox is the main point of these programs. While it is true that medically supervised detox is a critical aspect of successful rehab for many people, the real power of addiction is its ability to change the way the brain works. The goal and opportunity of the most effective rehab programs is the successful unraveling of addictive thought and behavior patterns and focused therapy is a critical part of that process.

The Power of Psychological Addiction

Addiction has both physical and psychological manifestations, but the latter are much more difficult to overcome than the former. The euphoria experienced due to drug or alcohol abuse directly impacts the “pleasure center” of the brain. This area of the prefrontal cortex is involved in turning certain behaviors into patterns or habits. The following critical functions are all managed by the pleasure center:

  • Appetite and eating
  • Sexual attraction and function
  • The formation and selective recollection of memories
  • Mood
  • Impulse control
  • Optimism, motivation and goal setting
  • Self-esteem

By running these psychological processes in the background instead of the conscious part of the brain, critical decision-making resources are available for other purposes. Tiny boosts of natural feel-good substances are released during things like eating, working out, sex, or taking risks. The pleasure center wants to feel those responses, and thus drives these various behaviors in order to keep them coming. Drugs and alcohol super-stimulate the pleasure center and cause the body to stop producing its own supply of these feel-good substances. New neural pathways are built that drive addictive behavior in much more powerful ways than rational or conscious thought. That is why it is so difficult to stop getting drunk or high even when you desperately want to quit. The goal of rehab, then, is to build new neural pathways in the brain that do not cause you to seek the quick reward of drink or drug. Recovering from psychological addiction is all about re-training the brain and empowering the conscious aspects of the mind to direct the subconscious behavior drivers and impulses.

Therapy That Works

Many people who are not interested in therapy misunderstand what the process is or why it is effective. Therapy is about much more than being in touch with one’s feelings or exploring one’s past. Recognizing faulty patterns is important, and understanding the path that got you where you are can be useful, but the real point of therapy is to strategically re-program the brain away from its addictive patterns. Like a coach correcting a swim stroke, basketball shot, or golf swing, therapists help people make small adjustments to their actions that can have a remarkable impact on their lives. The most effective rehab programs include both individual therapy and sessions of group therapy or counseling. These facilities offer a wide array of therapeutic techniques, too. It’s not a one-size-fits-all process and therapists work with clients to tailor treatment to their unique needs.

24 Hour Rehab Helpline

It’s very normal for addicts to resist therapy. The addicted brain does not want to let go of its habits and comforts. Some people feel that therapy is pointless, overly emotional, or too painful. If you think of the mind as an engine that is driving your life, however, you may be able to understand strategic therapy as a type of mechanical diagnosis and fine-tuning. Good therapy can help you regain control of your life.

Our toll free helpline is open 24 hours a day and seven days a week. Call now.

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