What Is Evidence Based Drug and Alcohol Treatment

What is Evidence-Based Drug and Alcohol Treatment?

Addiction destroys thousands of relationships and families every year. About 7.5 million children live in a home where at least one parent has an alcohol or drug use disorder.

Getting help can be difficult, but it is crucial to begin the journey to recovery as early as possible to avoid financial, interpersonal, and health consequences.

Addiction treatment isn’t one-size-fits-all. How effective it depends on the person’s unique life experience and values.

One highly effective healing modality is evidence-based drug and alcohol treatment. In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about this addiction treatment and if it is the right fit for you.

Keep reading to learn more.

What is Evidence-Based Treatment?

Evidence-based treatment (EBT) was first implemented by the medical industry during the 1980s but grew in popularity in the 1990s. Several models exist for different disciplines, including addiction treatment and mental health issues. 

For a method to be evidence-based, it must have published research proving its effectiveness by a reputable organization. EBT methods will include the following qualities:

  • The method is well-researched, studied, and published in a peer-reviewed journal
  • The method provides a positive outcome regarding the objectives of the treatment
  • The method is standardized
  • The method is heavily researched and studied in more than one kind of environment and still provides consistent results

Evidence-based treatments utilize different therapies and methods that demonstrate effective results for substance abuse and addiction recovery. These methods are scientifically sound and provide consistent results that promote long-term recovery. 

EBT is used for a wide range of illnesses, including:

  • Anxiety and depression
  • PTSD
  • Drug and alcohol addiction
  • Mental health disorders

Although most clients succeed with long-term programs that last for at least 90 days, short-term programs are available. Practitioners can work with individual clients, families, or peer groups depending on the therapy model.

Components of Evidence-Based Rehabilitation

AAlthough every EBT model is different, they share common elements. Let’s look at a few of the tools used to help patients.


Patients learn about how their mind works during treatment. They can gain insight into their:

  • Symptoms
  • Warning signals
  • Triggers

This education encourages self-awareness. Patients learn about their nature and disease and how to navigate the world with that information. These tools enable a patient better function both inside and outside the facility. This education has proven to be indispensable in the goal of long-term recovery.

Education and Training

Once patients understand their needs, therapists teach them to cope with their symptoms. Patients learn to develop distress tolerance and other coping mechanisms. Therapists teach these skills and practice them with their patients to prepare them for these triggering moments in the “real world.”

Relapse Prevention and Maintenance

Once clients are consistently relieved of the symptoms that brought them into treatment, they are ready to be discharged. The tools they have learned will help them continue to control their cravings and triggers on their own.

Why is Evidence-Based Therapy Important?

Evidence-based treatment is valuable because it ensures that clients receive the most effective care available to treat mental health and substance use disorders. These are severe conditions for patients and their families, and it is crucial to utilize the most reliable sources of medical knowledge.

At Sunshine Care Centers, we use evidence-based therapies that are customized to the patient’s unique needs. In our care, patients can be confident that they are getting the highest level of treatment.

Examples of Evidence-Based Drug and Alcohol Treatment

There are several types of evidence-based drug and alcohol rehab therapies used to treat addictions. Let’s take a deeper look at a few of them.

Twelve Step Facilitation Therapy

Twelve-step programs are a popular form of evidence-based therapy. They help patients practice long-term abstinence from their addictions by working through the 12 steps in a group setting and in sponsor-sponsee relationships.

These programs operate under the assumption that addiction is a chronic, progressive disease. The 12 steps address the psychological, biological, and spiritual aspects of addiction. Research shows that individuals who practice the 12-step program as nearly six times more likely to achieve long-term sobriety.

The 12-step programs focus on three key ideas: acceptance, surrender, and active involvement.

The first step requires members to acknowledge that the disease of addiction is uncontrollable on its own. Members learn that the only way to deal with their hardships is to surrender control to a higher power of their understanding. Those who practice the 12 steps are encouraged to attend meetings regularly to support their sobriety and support others.

The keywords that represent each of the 12 steps are as follows:

  1. Powerlessness
  2. Belief
  3. Surrender
  4. Self-examination
  5. Confession
  6. Willingness
  7. Humility
  8. Restitution
  9. Self-discipline
  10. Steadfastness
  11. Spiritual growth
  12. Services

An in-depth description of the 12 steps can be found here. The program of Alcoholics Anonymous has been proven to help addicts and alcoholics achieve long-term sobriety and provides vital support through a community of peers.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

EMDR is a type of psychotherapy focused on helping patients manage trauma-related stress, anxiety, depression, and PTSD. As the name implies, the practice involves eye movement exercises led by a therapist to help the patient safely process painful memories. This therapy may also involve light tapping on various body parts to rewire the overreactive neuropathways developed as coping mechanisms to traumatic events.

EMDR is often combined with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques. CBT therapists will help clients find harmful psychological issues rooted in negative or maladaptive thought patterns and teach them skills to change going forward.

Coupling CBT and EMDR helps patients process and resolve trauma, improve self-esteem, and ultimately lessen their dependence on drugs and alcohol.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the most widely-used and effective therapies to treat addiction. CBT focuses on learning coping mechanisms for maladaptive behaviors. The stress and resulting harm from these negative behaviors often lead to substance use as a way to avoid discomfort. CBT focuses on changing a person’s behaviors and attitudes and, ultimately, how they feel.

With this treatment modality, therapists teach patients to manage their emotions and how to deal with traumatic experiences. CBT is customized to the specific needs of the patient. It can train patients to:

  • Recognize triggers and learn how to cope with them
  • Plan for emergencies
  • Deal with cravings
  • Know high-risk situations and plan for them

CBT addresses underlying traumas and tries to reshape them positively. It is often combined with other evidence-based therapies, such as 12-step facilitation and contingency management. CBT can improve anger management, help resolve interpersonal relations, and, most importantly, prevent relapse.

Interactive Journaling

Interactive journaling is a simple EBT that allows clients to process their substance abuse issues through written self-reflection. Interactive journaling is an effective tool to help modify negative behavior, guide change, and set goals for the future.

Motivational Interviewing

Motivational interviewing is an evidence-based form of talk therapy. Clients talk through and resolve their conceptions about behaviors, attitudes, and substance abuse.

The Problem with Non-EBT Addiction Treatments

Many addiction treatment programs promise high-quality care but do not follow evidence-based treatment practices. These unsubstantiated therapies can lead to potential problems.

First, how do you trust a program will work if no evidence supports those claims? Clients may waste time and money. Most importantly, it increases the chance of relapse when working with dubious programs.

Not only can unreliable practices waste resources, but they can also physically and emotionally damage the client. If the therapy doesn’t work, it could discourage the patient from trying other treatment programs because they lost trust in the system. They may never achieve long-term sobriety without help. 

Unfortunately, some shady businesses look to take advantage of vulnerable individuals looking for help. These companies will persuade patients to pay large amounts of money for addiction treatment in a deceptive manner. This abuse often leaves the affected patients and their families without legal recourse. It is critical to find a drug and alcohol addiction treatment center that is reliable and trusted.

Sunshine Care Centers is proud to offer only the most effective evidence-based treatment options to ensure the highest level of care and give you or your loved one the best chance at long-term sobriety.

How to Find Evidence Based Rehab Programs

Looking for a reputable mental health and addiction rehab program for the first time can be overwhelming. Our first suggestion is to ensure that the facility offers evidence-based programs. As we have demonstrated, EBT is proven to be the most effective form of treatment. If a facility is not clear about whether or not they offer EBT, here are a few questions to help find that out:

  • Do they use proven practices for treatment methods?
  • Are these practices based on current research and treatment outcomes?
  • Do they personalize treatments based on individual needs?
  • How do they measure success rates?

These questions are a great place to start when looking for a trustworthy program. If you are looking for evidence-based mental health or drug and alcohol treatment in North Texas or Southern California, look no further. Sunshine Care Centers is here to support you.

Get the Reliable Help You Deserve

Addiction is one of the most common health conditions in the US. Believe it or not, 1 in 10 Americans will suffer from addiction at some point in their lives. If you or a loved one is ready to tackle mental health concerns or drug or alcohol use disorder, Sunshine Care Centers has your back.

Sunshine Care Centers has a suite of specialists with over 30 years of experience in drug and alcohol rehabilitation to assist you on the road to recovery. Whether in North Texas or Southern California, Sunshine Care Centers offers the highest level of care available. We pride ourselves on our clean, compassionate, and secure environment. We use evidence-based addiction treatment with flexible programs that cater to your needs. 

Don’t wait to receive the help you deserve. 

Speak to a specialist at Sunshine Care Centers by calling 883-597-CARE or message us today! 


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Children of Addicts