The Different Types of Treatment for Addiction

Therapy is an essential element of addiction treatment. Today, therapy options have come a long way, and the offerings are quite vast. Ranging from traditional therapies to modern and holistic options, many different types of treatment for addiction are available to successfully help individuals overcome substance abuse to best suit their needs.  

In recent years, it has been well documented that traditional therapies, while successful, may not be the best treatment options for everybody. Thus, various alternative therapies have been developed to better suit alternative care needs or desires of those seeking addiction treatment. Alternative therapies are commonly categorized as either modern therapies such as art therapy, music therapy or wellness and exercise therapies, and holistic therapies which encompass treatments such as yoga and meditation.  

Modern Therapy

Modern therapy practices typically encompass experiential forms of therapy. Different land holistic therapies which we will discuss a little bit below, modern therapies tend to be less meditative in nature and more “hands-on.”

Art Therapy

Art therapy allows individuals in recovery the opportunity to express emotions and enhances opportunities for creativity. Art therapy can also serve as a distraction from old habits that were once triggering for addictive behaviors. Most art therapy techniques center around the creation of pieces of art as a therapeutic exercise. However, some programs have also included the interpretation of famous works of art.

Music Therapy 

Music therapy was first introduced about 40 years ago to help patients express emotions they were unable to by other means. Writing lyrics, playing an instrument, dancing, and listening to music are all therapeutic exercises used in a music therapy session. 

Exercise and Fitness Therapy 

Most addiction treatment programs’ goal is to retrain the body in the brain to function as they did before any physical changes associated with addiction took place. Substance use disorders interfere with the brain’s reward centers, and fitness therapy can help restore these balances. Fitness therapy is also a common element of most 12 step programs due to their emphasis on a healthy mind and body. Many addiction treatment centers offer some form of fitness therapy. Some popular forms of fitness or exercise therapy include hiking, strength training, and team sports. 

Holistic Therapies

Different from modern therapies, many holistic therapy models focus on various types of meditative or relaxation training. 


Yoga is frequently recommended for individuals suffering from anxiety, stress, and a host of other disorders. The practice of yoga involves using a series of poses accompanied by controlled breathing techniques. In addition to yoga’s proven mental health benefits, 12 step programs and many rehab programs emphasize the importance of physical health, making yoga an excellent low-intensity complement to addiction treatment. Yoga may also help individuals in recovery by changing the way the brain works. As with regular exercise, yoga helps the body regulate stress hormones while releasing endorphins. It is also a great way to quiet the mind, maintain calmness, and regain feelings of control over one’s mind and body.

Massage Therapies

Massage therapists often describe massage therapy as the opposite of talk therapy. This is due to the focus on the body as opposed to the emphasis on the mind. However, the effects of massage therapy have been shown to improve physical as well as mental wellness. People in recovery often feel uncomfortable as one symptom of withdrawal is a sharp decline in the release of dopamine or “happy” hormones. During the massage, the body releases fewer stress hormones and more dopamine and serotonin. This is why massage is a valuable holistic treatment tool that is gaining popularity in addiction treatment centers.

Meditation Therapy

Meditation and mindfulness practices helped strengthen certain brain pathways while weakening others that are rarely used. This helps to result in profound changes in thinking and behavior. These changes are especially useful for those in recovery who want to quit bad habits, curb cravings, and maintain ongoing sobriety.

Traditional Therapies

Traditional therapies are the most commonly known types of treatment for drug or alcohol addiction. Psychotherapy, sometimes referred to as talk therapy, is a treatment method that involves applying one or more therapeutic interventions to addiction treatment. Common types of psychotherapy include cognitive-behavioral therapy or CBT and dialectical behavioral therapy or DBT. Other common forms of traditional therapy often utilized at addiction treatment centers include family therapy, individual therapy, and group therapy. The types of therapies used can and should vary from person to person, as each addiction is different. Many forms of traditional therapy, including family therapy, can occur in both an individual or a group setting, depending on what is best for the individual seeking treatment and their family.

If you are considering seeking addiction treatment and are curious about the luxury treatment options we offer at Rise in Malibu, contact us today!

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