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a group comforting a woman showing the benefits of group therapy

Benefits of Group Therapy

Substance abuse disorders, alcoholism, and addiction affect 1 out of every 7 Americans in their lifetime. Addiction is a chronic and progressive disease that doesn’t discriminate. That means anyone, regardless of age, race, and background, can develop a substance abuse disorder. While there is no cure for addiction, treatment can allow you to learn how to manage your symptoms and successfully maintain lifelong sobriety and abstinence. But what are the benefits of group therapy and how can it help you beat addiction? Addiction can impair your judgment, lower your inhibitions, and cause changes to your behavior. Supporting an addiction can be difficult and strain your relationships with friends and family members. Treatment centers use evidence-based treatments, like group therapy, and holistic ones to provide you with the support you need to navigate recovery.

The Stages of Addiction

Addiction is a mental health disease that causes you to compulsively abuse your substance of choice, even if you have a strong desire to quit using it. Since all psychoactive substances are neurotransmitter inhibitors, they cause euphoric effects as they force your brain to release more pleasurable neurotransmitters than it should. Over time, this leads to a significant neurotransmitter imbalance. Every time you use, your brain releases a rush of neurotransmitters. When the effects of intoxication end, you’re left with a sudden depletion of neurotransmitters. This depletion causes negative emotions, like anxiety and cravings. Your brain can also become completely dependent on your substance of choice in order to release neurotransmitters. During addiction, your brain associates your substance of choice, as well as everything that reminds you of it, with pleasure. When you’re exposed to triggers, which can include people, places, or things, it can intensify cravings. Cravings can make it difficult to resist using. Certain substances, like opiates and alcohol, can cause a physical addiction, which means you’ll encounter withdrawal symptoms if you suddenly stop using. Common withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Aches and pains
  • Nausea, stomach pains, and vomiting
  • Dehydration and insomnia
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Disorientation, confusion, and seizures

The Benefits of Group Therapy

Inpatient and outpatient treatment centers use a combination of evidence-based and holistic therapies, including group therapy. Among the benefits of group therapy is that it can be used in combination with other treatments, like mindfulness exercises and acceptance and commitment therapy. Group therapy can integrate other evidence-based treatments, like cognitive and dialectical behavioral therapy. Improving your communication skills and connecting with other people in recovery are two other benefits of group therapy. Learning how to express your thoughts and feelings in a healthy way can also reduce stress, anxiety, and feelings of isolation. One of the other benefits of group therapy is that it strengthens your conflict resolution skills. Since group therapy involves sharing and expressing your thoughts and feelings with others, it can teach you how to handle conflict. During addiction, it’s common to use drugs and alcohol to mask negative emotions. Self-medicating ultimately worsens underlying issues and conflict and can be a difficult habit to break without treatment. Feelings of isolation and loneliness can also become a barrier to your recovery, which is why another one of the benefits of group therapy is providing you with a healthy and sober support network.

Starting Treatment Today

When you or a loved one is struggling with alcoholism, addiction, or a substance abuse disorder, you can feel emotionally exhausted, hopeless, and trapped. Luckily, it’s never too early, or too late, to find recovery. Treatment ensures you have a supportive and therapeutic environment to work on your recovery. It also allows you to learn how to handle things like cravings and triggers. To find out more about the benefits of group therapy, or to discuss your treatment options, contact us today at 1.713.528.3709.

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