In detail

4 useful techniques to treat addictive behaviors

4 useful techniques to treat addictive behaviors

The addictions They can also be understood as a type of dependency and this can be related to the consumption of a specific substance or to the performance of a specific action. Further, dependence on certain substances or behaviors, affects the ability to make decisions and causes imbalances both emotionally, physically and mentally, which frequently destabilize family and friendship relationships, as well as the person's work environment.

In many cases, it is really useful to turn to a specialist in psychology who can track the case through sessions of psychotherapy and it is at this point that we would like you to know the 4 techniques that the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) proposes for the treatment of addictions related to alcohol, the tobacco or the drugs:


  • 1 Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • 2 Facilitation in 12 steps
  • 3 Motivation stimulus
  • 4 Couple behavioral therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Through the cognitive behavioral therapy, the person is guided during a learning process in which they will deepen by developing patterns that are useful when it comes to modifying the behavior of the addiction. In this way, the person who has an addiction problem related to alcohol, tobacco or drugs, will assimilate the behaviors that are linked to the addiction and try to correct them, so that the substance abuse is totally interrupted and improving the situation of other usual problems that occur simultaneously.

Through this therapy technique, the person's self-control is also increased and the different consequences - positive and negative - that are the result of the consumption of these substances are explored, as well as any situation that may be an incentive for relapse.

Anticipating possible problems and that the patient receives all the help that is necessary to personally develop strategies that allow him to achieve change, is essential when applying cognitive behavioral therapy in people addicted to alcohol, tobacco or drugs .

12-step facilitation

This technique It is commonly used to treat people with problems of addiction to alcohol, opiates or psychoactive substances. It is based on reaching the patient's commitment and increasing the chances of the patient being integrated into therapy groups that help him overcome the abstinence syndrome.

In the technique of “facilitation in 12 steps” we can identify 3 stages: acceptance, delivery and active participation of the person. During the acceptance stage, the individual becomes aware that his addiction is a chronic disease that prevents him from controlling the use of these substances, which completely nullifies his willpower.

During the delivery stage, the person who has an addiction problem gets in the hands and is guided by the therapist, as well as by other addicts who will help him in his recovery process and that will support him in the development of the different activities or sessions of which the program consists. Finally, in the stage of active participation, the individual is involved in meetings or projects that take place in the different phases of the treatment.

Motivation stimulus

The motivation stimulation technique is generally used to treat addictions related to alcohol, nicotine, cannabis or marijuana. This tool, also known by the acronym MET, helps the patient to modify the behaviors that prevent him from overcoming the dependence of these substances, eliminating conflicting emotions or feelings that may influence the person's participation in the treatment.

Through the “motivation stimulus” the process of change and the recovery of self esteem, previously assessing the patient's condition and the degree of addiction he presents towards a certain substance. Therefore, the objectives to be marked will go through the elaboration of an action plan and the strengthening of motivation in the person, thus avoiding that certain situations may pose a risk of relapse or crisis.

Couple Behavioral Therapy

The sessions of couple behavioral therapy, are usually integrated with other types of therapy such as individual or group therapy. This technique, also known by the acronym BCT, is commonly used in people who have a problem of alcohol or drug addiction and who live or share their lives with a romantic partner, as the sobriety and abstinence contract that is acquired with the another person reinforces the renunciation of alcohol or drug use and improves emotional stimuli, as well as the motivation received through the other person.

Alfonso Santos
Addiction Coordinator in Inspiring Transformation