Substance abuse is the consumption of alcohol or drugs in excessively harmful amounts. This is a disorder that often involves heavy use of substances like alcohol, amphetamines, cocaine, opiates, and hallucinogens; to name a few. Last year, there were 500,000 deaths in the United States of America related to drug use. Alcohol is one of the top 3 substances that users abuse most.

In addition to alcohol treatment centers, making lifestyle changes and learning the effects of substance abuse can influence one’s sobriety. Here are some successful treatments:

1. Equine treatment
Equine therapy is a form of animal-assisted treatment for those dealing with substance abuse. It involves learning how to interact with horses. This is still a new form of therapy; but results have been positive over the last several years. It is known that direct interactions with animals can alleviate symptoms associated with mental disorders as well as substance abuse. Horses are considered pack animals. This means they can sense and adapt to the feelings of other creatures; including humans. For someone dealing with substance abuse, this provides immediate feedback to a person‘s emotions. Learning about horses also provides an opportunity for dialogue between patient and therapist. This provides a solid foundation for trust-building. Equine therapy also provides a non-judging relationship. People battling addiction often deal with negative thoughts and damaged relationships. The gentle nature of horses can help rebuild relationship confidence in people battling drug abuse.

2. Support groups
People dealing with substance abuse should know they are not alone. This is the main objective to this form of treatment. By hearing other people’s stories and perseverance, one can receive the support and encouragement they need for sobriety. Support groups also give a person the chance to express their feelings without consequence. Opening up and sharing feelings is an important component to the healing process of substance abuse. As a result of this, a person’s hope is increased. This type of treatment can also provide one with valuable information. Being in a room with others who are battling similar issues is a good way to learn new coping skills and literature specific to your situation. Support groups are generally the cheapest type of treatment. Most support groups are actually free, removing expense as a barrier to people who need help. One of the most rewarding aspects of support groups is that your presence and dialogue will be helping other people. Just as you will be encouraged by hearing other people’s testimonies, they will be uplifted by hearing yours as well.

3. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
CBT is a type of one-on-one therapy that addresses substance abuse; created during the mid-1900s. It works by addressing different thought patterns and emotions that influence addiction. Cognitive behavioral therapy is very productive in substance abuse treatment because it provides the addicted individual with comprehension; of why they act in certain ways. This has been implemented in alcohol treatment centers and substance-abuse therapies around the world. By understanding what causes addiction-like thoughts and actions, a person can develop protocols for dealing with their triggers.

Drug and alcohol abuse is an ailment that impacts millions of people. This can cause negative complexities in a person’s life; and in the lives of loved ones. Seeking proper treatment can alleviate addiction symptoms and encourage sobriety.