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Substance use disorder , also referred to as substance addiction, drug addiction, alcohol use disorder, and more is a serious brain disease which not only ruins the lives of the addicted person and their family but can cause serious physical and psychological harm.
When cases of substance use disorder are severe enough, it can kill the addicted person.
Addiction has a history of being stigmatised, and its severity has been downplayed by many who are fortunate enough not to have experienced its effects.
However, neuroscientists and neuroscientific models are continuing to develop in a way which is highlighting the psychological and physical effects that addiction has on people.
To treat substance use disorder, there needs to be a range of treatments incorporated to optimise a patient’s treatment programme.
A fully comprehensive treatment programme designed by addiction specialists – and tailored to the individual and their specific requirements – will maximise their responsiveness to recovery methods and their chances of recovery.
Following a successful detox, they will proceed to undergo a vast range of therapeutic methods and relapse prevention planning strategies.
Motivational interviewing  is a form of motivational therapy which is used to increase the patient’s likelihood of recovering from their drug or alcohol addiction.
Motivational Interviewing was developed in the 1980s – by two people named William Miller and Stephen Rollnick – to treat alcohol addiction .
While it was initially developed to treat alcohol addiction, it is employed to treat a wide range of addictions (substance and behavioural), such as:
Forms of therapy such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Dialectical Behavioural Therapy may attempt to get to the root cause of someone’s addiction.
For example, a licensed counsellor leading these sessions may discuss varying topics related to the patient’s addiction and personal life to understand what is causing their addiction and how they can address these issues and overcome it.
However, motivational interviewing does not attempt to address these root causes.
Instead, the purpose of motivational interviewing (and motivational therapy in general) is to increase the patient’s level of motivation – and thus their participation – throughout the recovery process and addiction treatment.
It is not necessarily a form of therapy which should be employed by itself, but instead, it is a form of therapy which will highly complement and increase the effectiveness of other forms of therapy within the addiction treatment programme.
Motivational Interviewing, when used correctly and appropriately, can have a significant impact on a patient’s recovery progress.
This is because, after attending a few motivational interviewing sessions, the patient will have a new perspective on their recovery and their motivation – or drive – towards recovery will be thoroughly reinforced.
Motivational therapy and motivational interviewing are not only necessary but highly influential for some patients.
Each patient is different; their case of addiction is different, their personal lives vary tremendously, and their commitment to recovery will vary to the next patient.
Because of this, some patients require motivational therapy to help them achieve recovery.
While some patients may associate addiction treatment at a drug and alcohol rehab as the solution to their problems, other patients may associate rehabilitation facilities with negative connotations.
They may associate these places with struggle, confinement, pain, and more, which means that they will be reluctant to enter rehab and undergo a comprehensive recovery plan.
Motivational interviewing can help these patients transform their perspective.
Instead of viewing addiction treatment as something overwhelming, daunting, and requiring high levels of commitment and sacrifice, motivational interviewing can help them reshape their perspective to view addiction treatment as an opportunity full of positive connotations.
There is a vast range of benefits to be had from attending motivational interviewing sessions with a licensed counsellor.
Each patient is different, and the licensed counsellor will be able to tailor these sessions to cater to the patient’s unique needs and find new methods to motivate and sustain their commitment towards recovery methods:
While Motivational Interviewing presents a range of significant benefits to patients, it is not the only solution to drug and alcohol addiction.
Since Motivational Interviewing does not attempt to address the root cause of someone’s addiction, which could be due to biological factors, social issues, or psychological disorders, it cannot be used by itself to help a patient overcome addiction.
Instead, Motivational Interviewing is more effective when used concurrently and in addition to other forms of therapy.
It can even increase the effectiveness of other forms of therapy. By increasing the motivation levels of patients, they can expect to experience greater benefits from other forms of therapy.
Patients who are undergoing addiction treatment will need to be assessed and evaluated by licensed counsellors and addiction specialists.
This will help these health professionals to understand how the patient is suffering, and they can then proceed to implement the necessary treatment approaches which are catered to their unique needs.
The licensed counsellors will assess their addiction severity, the substance of choice, social and economic factors, and so on. Then they can then proceed to undergo motivational interviewing with these factors taken into consideration.
When the patient starts and attends these sessions of motivational interviewing, it will be conducted in a 1-1 format.
The licensed counsellor will assume the role of an interviewer, and they will proceed to ask a range of questions which are thought-provoking and evocative to get the patient to think about their addiction and why they want to recover from their condition.
Along with the evaluated information provided by the patient during the health and pre-admission assessment, the counsellor and patient will engage in a range of in-depth discussions.
These discussions will not only allow the licensed therapist to gain more insight into the patient’s addiction, root cause, and so on, but they can also become insightful for the patient.
Motivational interviewing can benefit the patient by helping them develop self-awareness and improving their emotional intelligence.
This helps the patient become more active rather than a mere participant undergoing therapy. Rather than letting the licensed counsellor control the session, the patient will learn to express themselves and become proactive in their recovery journey.
With the help of a range of intrinsic and extrinsic motivational factors, the patient will learn how to sustain their commitment towards recovery.
Some of the questions which may be asked during a session of motivational interviewing may include but are not limited to:
The Stages of Change Model was developed in the 1970s and can help us understand the patterns of motivation in a patient who is suffering from addiction but desires change.
Throughout various stages of life and stages of recovery, the patient’s motivation will change. Motivation is never static; it will change just as the patient’s perspective changes.
The stages of change include:
Motivational interviewing is not the only form of treatment which falls under the branch of motivational therapy.
There are other forms which are similar to motivational interviewing but stress different techniques to reach the same objective – to increase the patient’s motivation and commitment towards addiction treatment.
Contingency Management  is not only different to motivational interviewing but different to most forms of treatment traditionally used in a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility.
While its purpose is to increase the motivation of the patient to stick towards their newfound healthy lifestyle, it aims to achieve this in a very different way.
Additionally, one could argue that it is not a form of ‘therapy’ or ‘treatment’. Contingency Management does not involve the use of therapists or 1-1 sessions which rely on communication.
Instead, Contingency Management includes the use of incentives to help patients remain committed towards their targets.
The idea of incentivising addiction treatment for patients can improve the level of commitment towards therapy.
Although addiction recovery should – in theory – be a big enough incentive to attend therapy sessions and undergo addiction treatment, patients may remain more committed if their goals are broken down into smaller steps.
Contingency Management can make use of gifts, vouchers, and other items which are deemed valuable to the patient.
These incentives can be awarded to patients once they reach targets, such as remaining sober for a week, month, or year or having completed so many therapy sessions in succession without missing a session.
Additionally, Contingency Management provides patients with tangible evidence of their hard work. This can further encourage them to keep working because each goal that they reach is manifested in the form of a physical gift.
Motivational Enhancement Therapy  may be used synonymously with motivational interviewing. However, there are some differences which should be noted to differentiate the two.
While both are utilised to encourage and facilitate change, the biggest difference between Motivational Interviewing andMotivational Enhancement Therapy is their method of achieving these goals.
Motivational Interviewing is more beneficial towards patients who are reluctant to change, whereas Motivational Enhancement Therapy is aimed more towards patients who are ambivalent towards change.
Motivational Interviewing encourages the patient to become a more active participant in their drug and alcohol addiction recovery journey.
The licensed therapist takes a secondary role, asking questions to the patient, who is encouraged to become more active.
On the other hand, Motivational Enhancement Therapy requires the therapist to be more active, educating the patient on why therapy and treatment will benefit them and using a range of science and evidence-based research to reinforce these changes.
As previously mentioned, Motivational Interviewing, by itself, is not enough to ensure that someone overcomes addiction.
Patients must undergo a personalised and thorough drug and alcohol addiction treatment programme to ensure that they recover optimally.
Some of the other forms of therapy included throughout addiction treatment include but are not limited to:
At Rehab 4 Alcoholism, our priorities are to help you or your loved one recover from drug and alcohol addiction and return to a life of health and normalcy.
We understand the extent to which addiction can affect people and their families. With your motivation and our expertise, we can help you overcome addiction.
You can reach out to us by dialling the number 0800 111 4108 from the UK, or you can dial +44 345 222 3509 if you are based internationally. Once you reach out to us, we can initiate your recovery journey together.
 Substance Use Disorder https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK570642/
 Motivational Interviewing https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK589705/
 A Definition of Motivational Interviewing https://www.umass.edu/studentlife/sites/default/files/documents/pdf/Motivational_Interviewing_Definition_Principles_Approach.pdf
 Contingency Management in Addiction Treatment – Rehab 4 Alcoholism https://www.rehab4alcoholism.com/alcohol-treatments/contingency-management
 Effects of Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET) on the self-efficacy of individuals with alcohol dependence https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8132760/
 Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Alcoholism – Rehab 4 Alcoholism https://www.rehab4alcoholism.com/alcohol-treatments/cbt
 Family Therapy for Addiction – Rehab 4 Alcoholism https://www.rehab4alcoholism.com/alcohol-treatments/family-therapy
If you’re living with problematic or addictive substance use, at some point someone will mention counselling. You might have heard of it in relation to treating stress, mental health conditions, …