ACT For Substance Abuse

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a cognitive behavioral approach that fosters acceptance of difficult thoughts and emotions instead of resisting them. By disarming the influence of negative feelings, ACT empowers individuals to overcome substance abuse and other mental health diagnoses.

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    What is ACT Therapy Used For?

    Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is used alongside other treatments to support people in their recovery from a variety of mental health challenges, including Substance Use Disorder and dual diagnoses.[3]

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    ACT and Substance Abuse Treatment

    Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) supports individuals in their recovery from drug and alcohol addiction by encouraging reinterpretation of painful events in the past, identifying triggers for escaping reality through substance use and addressing the difficult emotions associated with Substance Use Disorder.

    The research supports the benefit of using ACT in the treatment of substance abuse, with studies demonstrating a notable decrease in drug abuse and alcohol consumption following the completion of this therapy.[4]

    Process Addiction Treatment with ACT

    Process Addiction Treatment with ACT

    Overeating, excessive shopping, gambling, or sex addiction are all examples of process addictions that may benefit from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). By embracing negative emotions and accepting the temporary nature of thoughts, individuals can draw on ACT skills to redirect cravings into actions that align with their values.

    ACT for Eating Disorders in CT

    ACT for Eating Disorders

    Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) helps individuals struggling with eating disorders by addressing unique cognitive, emotional, and behavioral patterns. By emphasizing non-judgemental self-compassion, ACT combats negative self-perceptions and shame. Through mindfulness and experiential techniques, participants develop resilience, aligning actions with values for lasting recovery.

    ACT promotes purpose and fulfillment, empowering individuals to overcome triggers and improve their relationship with food and body image.

    The Three Main Philosophies of ACT

    Developed by Clinical Psychologist Steven C. Hayes, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy centers around three key philosophies:[1]

    1. Mindfulness: The practice of remaining present in the moment in order to reduce suffering and grow appreciation of the people, places, and feelings you’re experiencing.
    2. Psychological flexibility: The pursuit of developing the skills and resilience necessary to navigate around the challenges we all face in life in a healthy way free from any abuse of substances or other self-harm.
    3. Creative hopelessness: The ability to accept that sometimes ideas may fail, even if they worked in the past, and to be okay with the struggle on the way to finding a different solution.
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    Six Skills Learned in ACT

    ACT is designed to teach individuals how to succeed in their own personal recovery journeys beyond their time in treatment by equipping them with six foundational skills:[2]

    1. Ascertaining Values: Identifying and understanding personal values to guide decision-making and life choices, fostering self-awareness and clarity.
    2. Developing Self-Awareness: Emphasizing transcendent self-awareness, detaching from limiting properties like an aspect of one’s personality, to promote self-compassion and connection with others.
    3. Being Present: Building on the philosophy of mindfulness, this skill helps individuals focus on experiencing the present moment to reduce ruminations and hard emotions and remove the need to escape reality.
    4. Cognitive Defusion: Detaching from the idea that thoughts are reality and instead understanding that they do not necessarily represent reality or necessitate an action.
    5. Thought Acceptance:  Embracing negative thoughts instead of avoiding them but basing the next action on personal values and not a reaction to an emotion.
    6. Committing to Action: Cultivating commitment to take action based on value judgments, confronting obstacles, and persistently pursuing meaningful goals.
    Why is Depression and Substance Use Treatment Important?

    What’s the Best Way to Find Acceptance and Commitment Therapy?

    For ACT-based therapy for Substance Use Disorder or other mental health challenges, speak to your family physician, therapist, or a reputable rehabilitation care center in your area.

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    What’s the Best Way to Find Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in CT?

    Cost of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

    The cost of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) depends on the qualifications of your therapist and your location, and whether ACT sessions are part of an umbrella treatment program. Fortunately, insurance often covers part or all of the expenses.

    ACT as Part of A Holistic Treatment Plan

    When it comes to recovering from Substance Use Disorder and other co-occurring mental health diagnoses, the best course of treatment is individualized based on that person’s needs. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) will be used along with other, complementary therapeutic interventions.

    Treatment at Paramount Wellness begins with a comprehensive assessment to understand the client’s unique challenges and mental health history. This evaluation helps create a tailored treatment plan that aligns with the individual’s specific needs and circumstances.

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    ACT’s Role in Inpatient Rehab

    For clients requiring support through detoxification or other needs that require 24/7 medical supervision, inpatient rehabilitation offers therapeutic support in a safe setting that gives individuals a fresh start. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy will be introduced during this stage as a part of one-on-one psychotherapy and/or group therapy sessions. During ACT Therapy, clients will begin to learn mindfulness techniques, develop self-awareness, work on accepting difficult emotions, and identify the values they wish to live by. This is valuable across many different treatment journeys but can be especially helpful for clients with Substance Use Disorder going through detox.[5]

    Outpatient Treatment and ACT in Daily Life

    As clients progress through their treatment journey, they may transition to outpatient treatment. By continuing to practice the principles of ACT through a combination of part-time outpatient programs, support groups, and individual therapy, individuals are encouraged to practice mindfulness, acceptance of challenging emotions, and sticking to their commitment of value-driven actions while facing down triggers in daily life.

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    Frequently Asked Questions about Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

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