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Behavior Modification in Recovery

Behavior Modification for Addiction Recovery in Orange County

Behavior modification is most effectively used when recovering from any addictive behavior or to change a habit.  Addiction is a mental health disorder characterized by compulsive behavior or engaging in certain high-risk behaviors despite the negative consequences they may cause. Addiction is a complex and chronic brain disease that affects the way a person’s brain functions, leading to changes in behavior, emotions, and cognition. Addiction can co-occur with other mental health disorders including depression, anxiety, ADHD, and post-traumatic stress disorder. It can be a way of self-medicating to cope with these disorders.

Behavior modification in recovery is a highly personalized process. What works for one person may not work for another. It will involve primarily behavior modification and can include mental health treatment. It may involve inpatient or outpatient care, recovery support services including coaching and emotional, social and recreational recovery to make it easier for individuals to enjoy activities and social situations without their addictions. Fortunately, behaviors can be modified and any addictive behaviors or habits can be managed.

Changing any behaviors will vary depending on the specific behaviors and or addiction, the behaviors needing to be modified and the individual seeking treatment, but generally behavior modification in recovery includes the following steps:

  1. Acknowledging the problem: The first step in behavior modification recovery is admitting that there is a problem, and that help is needed. This can be a difficult step. An addicted person may contemplate seeking help but must reach the stage where they are ready to begin the journey to recovery.  The patient’s motivation and commitment are essential to achieving behavioral and lifestyle changes to build long-term success. Dr. Pazak will help you to explore these very personal issues.
  2. Detoxification: If the problem is substance abuse, detoxification may be necessary to remove the drugs or alcohol from the body. This can be a challenging and sometimes dangerous process, so it may require medical supervision during this step.
  3. Comprehensive assessment: Comprehensive assessment requires psychological and social assessments to determine the patient’s needs in order to create a personalized behavior modification recovery plan.
  4. Developing a recovery plan: A recovery plan can help individuals set goals and establish strategies for changing behaviors. This can include identifying triggers and developing new coping mechanisms, creating a support system to help handle triggers to avoid relapses, and building skills that support lasting recovery including developing healthy ways to manage stress and anxiety.
  5. Treatment: Treatment can take many forms, including inpatient or outpatient programs, individual or group therapy, support groups, and medication-assisted treatment. The specific type of treatment will depend on the individual’s needs and the severity of the addiction.
  6. Continuing care and support: Recovery is an ongoing process, and it’s important to continue to prioritize self-care and sobriety after treatment has ended. This may involve ongoing therapy, coaching or support group meetings, regular check-ins with a Dr. Pazak, and avoiding triggers and risky situations.

Recovery may include an array of professionals. Seeking help and support from trained professionals such as Clinical Psychologist Dr. Susan Pazak, and support from loved ones can be key factors in successfully overcoming addiction.

Common principles that many behavior modification recovery programs, and Dr. Pazak follow, include:

  • Evidence-based practices: Many behavior modification and recovery programs use evidence-based practices that have been shown to be effective in treating addiction. These may include cognitive-behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, and medication-assisted treatment. For instance, when treating addictions to opioids the first line treatment is medication combined with behavioral therapy or counseling. Medication may also be used to detoxify the individual.
  • Individualized treatment plans: Behavior modification recovery programs are individualized treatment plans that consider a person’s unique needs, preferences, and circumstances. Treatment plans should be flexible and able to be adjusted as needed throughout the recovery process.
  • Comprehensive care: Behavior modification recovery programs should provide comprehensive care that addresses a person’s physical, emotional, and social needs. This may include medical care, therapy, social support, and help with finding employment and housing. It may also include helping the family affected by their loved one’s addiction with family counseling and support groups.
  • Aftercare and ongoing support: Behavior change, and recovery is an ongoing process, and addiction recovery programs should provide aftercare and ongoing support to help people maintain sobriety and prevent relapse. This may include ongoing therapy, support group meetings, and regular check-ins with a healthcare provider.

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Behaviors can be changed or modified at any time when we choose to change. Addiction is a chronic but treatable disorder and can be successfully managed. Recovery is not a cure. It is an opportunity to change deeply rooted behaviors to avoid relapse. Treatment can enable the individual to reclaim control of their lives, lead a productive life and counter the disruptive effects of addiction on their brain and behaviors.

Contact Orange County therapist Dr. Susan Pazak. Dr. Pazak specializes in therapy for behavior modification. Schedule a consultation to learn how she can help you discover and implement change to regain your life and achieve at your highest potential.

At a Glance

Dr. Susan Pazak, MD

  • Bachelors, Masters and PhD in Clinical Psychology
  • Voted best psychologist in Laguna Niguel 3 years
  • Studied marital & sexual satisfaction in couples
  • Learn more

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