Prescription and Illicit Drug Abuse

Frequently Asked Questions

27. What types of behavioral treatments are available?

Behavioral treatment helps people change the way they think about the abused substance and teaches them how to handle or avoid situations that trigger strong drug cravings. Behavioral therapies can make treatment medications more effective, help people stay in treatment longer, and prevent relapse.

There are four main types of behavioral treatments.

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy seeks to help people recognize, avoid, and cope with situations in which they are most likely to abuse substances.
  • Motivational incentives offer rewards or privileges for attending counseling sessions, taking treatment medications, and not abusing substances.
  • Motivational interviewing is typically conducted by a treatment counselor and occurs when a person first enters a drug treatment program. It aims to get people to recognize the need for treatment and to take an active role in their recovery.
  • Group therapy, preferably with one’s own age group, helps people face their substance abuse and the harm it causes. It teaches skills for dealing with personal problems without abusing medications or drugs.