Therapy for Addiction: Types of Therapy in Colorado

If you're like many Colorado residents struggling with drug and alcohol addiction, you may struggle with a deep sense of hopelessness, unsure of where to turn for help. Therapy can play a key role in helping you win the fight of your life - the fight against the pain of addiction. AspenRidge offers first-rate therapy near Denver, but you can also pursue therapy independently of rehab or continue with therapy after you check out.

Understanding Alcohol and Drug Addiction in Colorado

Addiction affects Colorado in myriad ways. For those who've grown dependent on drug and alcohol, the consequences can be extremely painful, and even fatal.

Drug and alcohol overdoses are now the leading cause of accidental deaths in Colorado.

Prescription drugs alone account for nearly half of all drug-related emergency room visits in Colorado, and every year, alcohol kills almost 90,000 Americans.

Even if you escape with your health intact, the consequences to your social life and well-being are virtually unavoidable.

Addiction forces you to prioritize drugs and alcohol above all else. This can spur you to neglect your career, family, and finances, expose yourself to legal risks, and lead you down a path toward depression and anxiety.

Therapy and Addiction

Your loved ones will almost inevitably suffer. Though you might not recognize the severity of your addiction, the people who love you the most are almost certainly worried about you. They may stay up at night waiting for you to call, spend endless hours hoping and praying you'll seek treatment, or endlessly agonize about how best to help you. If you have children, they may feel abandoned or unloved. It's also common for addicts to steal from, abuse, or manipulate their loved ones. More than half of all child abuse and domestic violence incidents occur under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and 90% of acquaintance rapes trace back to alcohol use.

The effects of your addiction extend far beyond your own world, though. Most drugs help fund an underbelly of crime and an illegal black market.

Your drug funds may directly or indirectly contribute to violence against others. Some drugs even harm the environment. Methamphetamine, for instance, causes more than 10,000 explosions and fires each year, and runoff from meth manufacture pollutes lakes, streams, and rivers. Drug cartels in Mexico have given rise to massive local violence, and authorities have even found mass graves that trace back to these cartels. Drug-related kidnappings are a depressingly common occurrence abroad.

The trouble doesn't end there, though. Some drugs help fund terrorism, illegal wars, and international human rights abuses. Opium, which derives from poppies and helps manufacture heroin and other opioids, is the largest cash crop in many areas of the Middle East. Terrorist groups such as ISIS/ISIL and Al Qaeda routinely use the proceeds from the sale of this drug to commit terrorist activities. No matter how much you convince yourself that your drug use is harmless, the evidence suggests otherwise. Even if you can't see the damage, the harms your addiction has caused may be inflicted on innocent people halfway across the world. Drug rehab, drug counseling and substance abuse therapy are available to help you in Colorado!

The Disease Model of Addiction

Once you recognize the harms of addiction, it's easy to find yourself trapped in shame, guilt, and self-loathing. Many addicts feel so guilty about their drug and alcohol use that they continue to lie to themselves about how bad things have gotten. Others are so ashamed of the way they've treated loved ones that they sever these relationships. And some addicts even attempt suicide. But if you're struggling with addiction, there's no need to blame yourself. Addiction is a disease, not a choice. A good drug rehab in Colorado can help.

So how is it that something that seems voluntary can actually be the product of a disease? The answer lies within your brain chemistry. The brain is a marvelously complex organ that's constantly remaking itself based on environmental inputs. For example, when you learn a new language, your brain may rewire its connections or even create new ones. But when you do things that are bad for your brain - like use drugs or alcohol to excess - your brain also changes itself, and the changes aren't always positive.

The disease of addiction begins with your first use of drugs or alcohol. As you get high, your brain makes subtle changes to reduce the intensity of the high, thereby allowing you to preserve as much good judgment and emotional control as you can. This process continues for the first several months you use drugs or alcohol. The result is a reduced effect in a short period of time. For example, you might once have only needed one beer to get drunk. You might find now that you need two, three, or four. And if you continue drinking you may eventually find that you no longer get drunk at all.

This process of progressively more tolerance encourages you to continue using higher and higher doses of drugs and alcohol. You may also begin using more frequently, or find that you need to change the method of delivery. For instance, some methamphetamine users graduate from snorting or smoking the drug to injecting it. Though you may not feel as high as you once did, your drug and alcohol use continues to affect your body. The process of tolerance - and the increasingly high doses it leads to - helps explain the high rate of accidental drug overdoses.

Over time, you grow increasingly dependent on drugs and alcohol. Dependence begins with psychological dependence that convinces you that you cannot feel normal without getting drunk or high.

If you continue using, though, you'll also become physically dependent. When this happens, your body treats alcohol and drugs just like food or water. It becomes convinced it needs these substances to stay alive, and reacts violently when you try to quit.

This dramatic reaction is known as withdrawal. It's withdrawal - and the fear of it - that keeps most addicts using. Btu withdrawal isn't just an unpleasant inconvenience. It's a medical crisis that can cause severe damage. In some cases, withdrawal can even be fatal. A complex array of factors determine the severity of withdrawal, how long it lasts, and whether you get sick, but the process of withdrawal nearly demonstrates that drug and alcohol addiction is anything but a freely selected choice.

Some Common Withdrawal Symptoms Include:

  • Intense psychological anguish. You may experience depression or anxiety, in addition to suicidal thoughts.
  • Nightmares
  • Dehydration and malnutrition
  • Changes in body temperature; you may experience cold chills or night sweats
  • Tremors
  • Hallucinations and delusions
  • Feelings of hopelessness coupled with intense cravings
  • Skin issues
  • Decreased immunity; many recovering addicts get colds
  • Gastrointestinal problems such as vomiting, diarrhea, or nausea
  • Seizures

If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your doctor immediately.

Therapy and Addiction FAQ

Though a number of factors can conspire to make you an addict - including genetics, stress, and a previous history of addiction - the single biggest risk factor for becoming an addict is using alcohol or drugs. No matter how stressed you are or how many risk factors you face, you will never develop an addiction if you don't use alcohol or drugs in the first place.

Marijuana provides a compelling example of this phenomenon. Colorado recently legalized marijuana, and many people are able to use the drug either recreationally or medically without a problem. But there's no reliable way to detect who will and who won't become an addict. The result? Between 10% and 15% of marijuana users eventually develop addictions, and nearly half of regular users develop an addiction. If you want to avoid addiction, steer clear of alcohol and drugs. If you can't do that, then reduce your use as much as possible.

If addiction is a disease, you might be incredulous as to how therapy could possibly treat it. But therapy successfully treats a number of mental health conditions, and has even been shown to help people more effectively manage pain. Just as addiction changes your brain, the way you think, the interactions you have, and your response to addiction itself can also change your brain. Addiction therapy works to reverse some of the damage of addiction while offering you concrete, actionable steps for moving forward into a life free of addiction.

Research has repeatedly shown that even a single therapy session begins changing your brain almost immediately. After intensive therapy, your brain may process information completely differently than it once did. The therapeutic process won't work miracles over night, but slow and steady progress can quickly add up to significant changes.

If you've ever seen therapy portrayed in movies or on television, you may have some inaccurate ideas about what therapy really is. Therapy isn't just about talking about your feelings, and your therapist is not a paid friend. Therapists do much more than just listen. Instead, therapy is an interactive process that helps you gain insight into your behavior. In so doing, you can change problematic patterns, develop new coping skills, deepen your strengths, and work toward a life of permanent sobriety.

Because every addict's needs are a little different, no two therapy sessions will be exactly alike. In general, though, your therapist in Colorado will offer you at least the following:

  • A chance to set clear goals regarding your life and addiction.
  • Assistance exploring the reasons behind your addiction and your ongoing triggers for use.
  • Help honing your strengths.
  • Guidance to help you recognize long-standing problematic behavior patterns.
  • Advice on alternative stress management strategies that don't rely on alcohol or drugs.
  • Assistance talking to your friends and family about your addiction.
  • Support when you're struggling emotionally and have no one to talk to.

Drug therapy in Colorado is, by law, completely confidential. Your therapist cannot tell anyone what you say in your sessions unless you are a danger to yourself and others. And even then, your therapist can only reveal as much information as is necessary to protect you or others. You should feel free to say what you want in therapy, because therapy is a place of compassion, not judgment.

One of the most important reasons that therapy is so effective at treating addiction is that many addictions are an indirect result of mental illness. About half of all addicts have a mental illness such as depression, PTSD, or generalized anxiety disorder. Over time, these challenges can wear down your emotional resilience, expose you to intense stress, and undermine the quality of your judgment. Therapy can treat both addiction and mental illness. If you have a mental illness, therapy becomes even more important, because your therapist can help you find ways to manage both your addiction and your mental illness.

If you're not sure whether you suffer from a co-occurring mental health issue, some common mental illnesses and their symptoms include:

  • Depression, which results in intense feelings of sadness, worthlessness, and anger. Many people with depression have trouble sleeping, cannot enjoy once-beloved activities, lose interest in their loved ones, sleep for too long, or eat too much or too little. Depression is the leading cause of suicide.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder, which results from experiencing a traumatic event or near-death experience. People with PTSD are often depressed and anxious. They experience intrusive memories of the trauma called flashbacks, and may have unusual fears or phobias. Many people with PTSD avoid frightening circumstances or are triggered into flashbacks by apparently innocuous stimuli.
  • Generalized anxiety disorder results in long-standing feelings of fear, panic, and anxiety that is not connected to any single event.
  • Panic disorder causes its sufferers to experience intense panic attacks out of nowhere. Many people mistake their first panic attack for a heart attack.
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) reduces your ability to control your behavior, makes it hard to listen and concentrate, leads to hyper behavior, and can make time management challenging. ADHD also greatly increases your risk of developing an addiction.
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) causes its sufferers to engage in compulsive behavior - such as counting, tapping, cleaning, or saying a mantra to yourself - to reduce feelings of anxiety and panic.
  • Bipolar disorder causes you to cycle between intense feelings of happiness and intense depression.
  • Phobias result in irrational fears of otherwise nonthreatening objects.
  • Personality disorders undermine your relationships and change your personality in pathological and unhealthy ways.
  • Eating disorders change your eating habits such that you eat far too much, far too little, and experience a distorted body image. About 10% of people with these disorders eventually die due to the disorder.

Therapy isn't something your therapist can do to you without your cooperation. Instead, therapy's outcome is heavily dependent upon the effort you put forth. While your therapist will guide you through the process and give you plenty of opportunities to grow and share, it's ultimately up to you whether therapy works or not. Some steps you can take to increase the effectiveness of therapy include:

  • Being honest with your therapist. It's tempting to tell your therapist how you wish you were instead of how you actually are, but complete honesty is the only way you can change.
  • Letting your therapist know when you're uncomfortable with something that happens in therapy. Therapy is a collaborative process, and what works for one therapy client might not work for another, so speak up when something doesn't feel right.
  • Letting your therapist know when you've slipped up and used drugs.
  • Informing your therapist about any and all medical conditions you take, as well as any drugs -including herbal supplements and over-the-counter medications - you take.
  • Continuing with therapy homework outside of therapy. If your therapist asks you to evaluate something outside of therapy, to consider how something makes you feel, or to complete specific homework tasks, you'll get the most out of therapy if you follow through.
  • Allowing your therapist to challenge you, and accepting his or her insights when he or she does.
  • Showing up for regular therapy sessions.
  • Not wasting your precious time on side tangents. It might be fun to talk about what you did this weekend or your favorite hobbies, but unless these issues are relevant to your addiction, it's a waste of time to try to discuss them in therapy.
  • Not trying to impress your therapist. Your therapist's job is to accept you without judgment, not adore or worship you.

Therapeutic Setting: Individual, Family, Group, and Other Counseling Options

In movies, therapy always centers around a single person - often one who's lying on a couch. In real life, though, therapists meet with clients in a wide variety of settings. Some therapists even make house calls or meet with clients at their workplaces. It's up to you to decide what therapy setting works best for you, and many recovering addicts opt to blend several different options. Your therapist can help you determine what approach - or combination of approaches - is likely to work best for your needs.

Individual therapy is the single most important option for moving past addiction. No matter what other settings you choose, your therapist will likely recommend individual therapy. Individual therapy offers you complete confidentiality, in conjunction with the therapist's undivided attention. While other forms of therapy focus on your relationships with others, individual therapy is your chance to explore your mind, behavior patterns, and your relationship with yourself.

Group therapy in Colorado is a popular option for treating addiction because in a group therapy session, you can explore common issues with people who have been where you are now. In this approach, the therapist is more of a facilitator than an active participant. Instead, you'll draw on the group for support, and may explore common themes and challenges you all face while drawing upon the wisdom of people who are farther along in their recovery journey than you are.

Addiction is a family disease. Your loved ones may not use drugs or alcohol, but their lives are almost certainly affected by your addiction. Family therapy gives you the chance to treat the family issues your addiction has caused. Your therapist can help you make amends to your family, educate your family about the disease of addiction, or address underlying issues that led to your addiction. Family therapy is especially important for teen and young adult addicts, and for parents whose addiction has impacted their children.

If you're in a relationship, your addiction may have brought your relationship to the brink. Couples counseling in Colorado is a chance to treat the effects addiction has had on your relationship. Together you'll explore conflict management strategies, discuss issues with intimacy, and develop a plan for getting your relationship back on track. If you're unsure whether you should stay in your current relationship, couples counseling can help you make the decision together in a respectful manner.

Therapeutic Modality: Approaches to Treatment

Therapeutic modality refers to the specific philosophical approach the therapist uses to treat you. Most addiction therapists actually blend several different modalities to ensure you get therapy custom-tailored to your specific needs. But if a particular approach to therapy sounds appealing to you, don't be afraid to ask your therapist to try it.

As with other areas of science, psychology has had some bad ideas in its past. A handful of therapeutic methods are now discredited, and you should not pursue therapy with a therapist who uses them. These include:

  • Conversion therapy - sometimes referred to as reparative therapy, this type of therapy endeavors to reverse sexual orientation.
  • Primal scream therapy
  • Rebirthing therapy
  • Energy/chakra therapy
  • Shamanic healing
  • Crystal healing
  • Healing touch
  • Tapping therapy
  • Scared Straight
  • Moreno's psychodrama

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of therapy in Colorado that works to help you re-frame your thoughts, thereby allowing you to change your behavior. You'll steadily work to detect automatic negative thoughts about addiction, and then your therapist will work to help you replace those thoughts with more positive and accurate thoughts. Over time, this can help you combat cravings and move beyond depression. For instance, “I can't deal with this craving” might be replaced with “This craving will pass soon.”

CBT is highly effective, and works well for people who do not want to explore their childhoods or spend years in therapy. In many cases, you'll see results within a matter of weeks. You'll likely have to do lots of homework, though, since CBT's goal is to help you establish new and healthier habits. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is sometimes referred to as cognitive therapy or behavior therapy. An offshoot, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, is highly effective as well.

Dialectical-behavioral therapy (DBT) was originally developed to treat the relationship challenges people with borderline personality disorder face. But over time, therapists have realized that DBT can effectively treat a wide range of conditions, including addiction. DBT works by helping you more effectively manage the emotions that cause you to use drugs and alcohol. DBT therapists in Colorado meet with you one-on-one once per week, but you'll also have group therapy sessions. In most cases, you'll have to complete homework every week.

DBT is a formulaic approach to therapy, so you'll need to commit to following through with the entire program. If you back out after a few weeks, you may not get good results. IN most cases, DBT patients see results within a month or two.

Mindfulness-based therapies in Colorado are often blended with other approaches, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy. Mindfulness-based therapy draws on principles of meditation to train you to more effectively control your thoughts. In most cases, you'll be expected to meditate at least once per day, and you may also need to keep a thought log or actively work to “notice” your thoughts.

Psychodynamic therapy in Colorado, originally developed by Sigmund Freud, is the oldest and perhaps best known approach to psychotherapy. This approach builds upon the belief that early childhood experiences can heavily influence our lives. By exploring these early experiences, you'll build insight into your current behavior, develop stronger relationship skills, and gain mastery over your addiction. Psychodynamic therapy works well when blended with other forms of therapy, but can also work on its own.

This approach to therapy typically takes the most time. However, research has shown that its effects are also the longest-lasting. After completing psychodynamic therapy, you might not need to ever attend therapy again, and your risk of relapsing will be dramatically reduced.

Interpersonal therapy in Colorado is an approach to therapy that uses the relationship with the therapist as a proxy for other relationships. For instance, if you have a history of troubled romantic relationships, your therapist will use therapy sessions to explore the thoughts and behaviors that have contributed to those difficulties. This process allows you to better understand how your behavior affects your feelings, potentially freeing you up to combat your addiction with ease and skill. Interpersonal therapy typically blends several other therapeutic methods. For example, an interpersonal therapist may also practice CBT, DBT, or psychodynamic psychotherapy.

Humanistic approaches to therapy in Colorado - which can include person-centered, gestalt, and similar approaches - focus on your strengths. Through humanistic approaches, you'll find new ways to build upon old skills, celebrate your triumphs, and treat yourself as an expert on your own life. Rather than pathologizing addiction, humanistic therapists work to help you find better, healthier strategies rooted in your own needs and strengths.

Many therapists in Colorado describe themselves as client-centered. This simply means that they structure their approach according to the client's needs, prioritizing the client's lived experiences and listening to the client's perspective. Others may say that they're eclectic, which means that they blend several different modalities. AspenRidge provides therapy, drug rehab and alcohol rehab in Denver, Colorado.

How to Choose a Therapist in Colorado

Research has repeatedly shown that the relationship between the therapist and the client matters more than any single other factor for recovery. Thus if you want to move beyond your addiction, it's worth your while to choose a therapist with whom you feel comfortable. It's common to have to try several therapists before you find the perfect fit. After all, you don't instantly develop a friendship with each person you meet; nor should you expect to like every therapist.

In a Colorado drug rehab, you may not always have the chance to choose your own therapist. Instead, a therapist who meets your needs or who has experience with addicts like you may be assigned to you. This doesn't mean your right to ask questions disappears! Instead, give this therapist a chance, but if it doesn't work out or your don't feel understood, don't shy away from requesting a new or different therapist.

Addiction therapy works best when you're fully committed to the process. Your therapist may be the expert on mental health, but you are the expert on your own life. Don't be afraid to assert your needs, and know that speaking up when something doesn't work is an important part of the therapeutic process.

Asking lots of questions can help you determine whether you've found the right match, and in so doing, help you avoid spending lots of money on a therapist who is not right for you.

Before beginning therapy, consider asking the following questions. And if your therapist is hesitant to answer, find someone else. Good therapists are eager to spend the first session talking about their treatment philosophy:

  • What specific therapeutic modality do you use? How do you implement this modality? If you use an eclectic approach, how do you blend several different approaches?
  • How long will it take for me to get better?
  • How can I know if I am making progress?
  • If I disagree with you or with something you recommend, how will you respond?
  • Are you licensed to practice in my state? What is your license number?
  • Have you ever been disciplined by a professional board or oversight committee?
  • How long have you been practicing? How long have you worked with addicts? What are your other areas of expertise?
  • Do you endorse a specific religious or political philosophy? You may find you're more comfortable with someone who shares your values. An addict who is committed to women's equality, for instance, might feel uncomfortable with a therapist who endorses more rigid gender roles.
  • Where did you attend school? What specific training or certification do you have in addiction treatment and management?
  • How much will therapy cost?
  • How often should I attend therapy sessions?
  • What can I do to maximize the effectiveness of therapy?
  • Can loved ones come to therapy with me if I want them to?
  • Do you mind if I record our session? Some addicts find that listening to sessions later can help them get more out of therapy.
  • What steps do you take to protect my confidentiality?

AspenRidge: First-Rate Therapy and Addiction Treatment in Colorado

Located in Colorado, AspenRidge unequivocally endorses the healing power of therapy. The right therapists have the ability to change lives, help their clients move closer to their dreams, and even save clients from a premature death. When you're struggling with addiction, the right therapist truly could be the only thing standing between you and a life of pain.

Many addicts feel completely alone and isolated. Some don't have the benefits of a best friend or a loving family, and almost all addicts go through life feeling ashamed, guilty, and totally unvalidated.

At AspenRidge, we want to offer you something better than loneliness and ostracism. Our therapists really listen. We understand, respect your values, and meet you where you are.

Rather than forcing you to do something you're not ready for, our therapists work with you to design a customized recovery plan that feels safe and comfortable. Whether it's just addiction, a combination of addiction or mental illness, or a lifetime of pain and trauma, our therapists will help you finally, at long last, achieve the peace you deserve. We use an active approach. We don't just sit and nod. We listen. We get you. We help you.

We know it can feel a bit intimidating to open up to a total stranger. But therapy isn't about handing your brain over to someone you don't know. We know you're the expert on your own life. WE don't know everything, and we're eager to learn from you what the world feels like for you. We then use that knowledge to help you. Therapy is a collaborative process, not something you're passively subjected to. And the results of therapy are heavily dependent on what you put into it. Many of our clients report that therapy was the first time they felt cared for, the first time they felt in control, the first time they felt safe, in years. We want to offer that to you, too.

Addiction can leave you feeling hopeless, but AspenRidge is a place where hope thrives. We offer so much more than therapy, too. Our program provides comprehensive treatment to people who are finally ready to take control of their lives. We know it takes immense courage to seek help. We value that courage, and we'll show you how to remain courageous even when the going gets rough. We don't promise that the journey will be easy, but we do commit to making it as easy as possible. And we're absolutely sure that, when you're sober, happy, and finally living the life of your dreams, you'll agree all the work you've put toward your recovery was absolutely worth it.

You didn't ask for your addiction, and we operate from a place of accountability, not a culture of blame. You do, however, control what you do next. We hope you'll agree that you no longer deserve to live with addiction; indeed, you never deserved this pain. It's up to you to take the first step toward getting the help you need. We're just a phone call away, and we're standing by ready to help with our premier Colorado drug rehab program. Don't lose another second of your life to the pain of addiction.

You deserve so much better, and we'll show you the path out of the pain. Call us today!

Talk to a Rehab Specialist

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