Lately, evidence-based therapy is trending. And, while we’ve all probably heard of evidence-based therapy for co-occurring treatment of addiction and mental health disorders, what exactly is it?

What is Evidence-Based Therapy?

Evidence-based therapy, or evidence-based practices (EBP), are treatments that have been either academically or scientifically studied, and which studies have both shown efficacy in treatment and have been replicated by other scientists. While more traditional treatments center on talk therapy and prescribed medications, EBP relies on evidence or proven practices.

Types of EBP

The most commonly used EBP involve cognitive and behavior therapies, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). CBT focuses on changing clients’ thoughts so that they are better able to control their emotions and behavior. DBT helps clients cope with severe emotional ups and downs, thereby improving tolerance and acceptance of stressful situations.

Other types of evidence-based therapies include:

  • Exposure therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Motivational interviewing

Benefits of EBP

Evidence-based practices benefit clients because they are proven to work. While some argue that they are not as individualized as traditional therapies, others say that they are better at treating certain types of disorders. For example, behavioral therapies like CBT and DBT have been shown to be effective for treating addiction. They do so by offering incentives to stay sober, helping clients change their attitudes toward using drugs or alcohol, and improving skills to cope with triggers and stressful life events.

EBP in Integrated Treatment

EBP is especially useful for treating co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders. While talk therapy might engage a client to determine why they started using, proven evidence-based therapies help clients get to the bottom of their addiction—the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that let them continue using drugs or alcohol. Overall, however, many agree that a combination of traditional and evidence-based therapies will work best for treating addiction and dual diagnosis.

There are many types of EBP that can be used for integrated treatment. CBT and DBT, as discussed, allow clients to regulate their thoughts and feelings, thereby altering their behavior in stressful or triggering situations. Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) and mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) techniques instruct clients to focus on thinking—and accepting—their thoughts without judgment. Compassion-focused therapy (CFT) encourages clients to develop self-compassion, helping to eliminate feelings of shame and criticism.

How Cornerstone Recovery Center Can Help

At Cornerstone Recovery Center, we offer a fully integrated treatment program for dual diagnosis, including specialized treatment with CBT and DBT for co-occurring addiction and mental health problems. If you or a loved one needs help for a primary mental health disorder and/or a substance use disorder, please contact our admissions counselor online or call 1-888-711-0354 today. All communications with our staff are confidential.