Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatments: Do They Work?

When it comes to mental health and substance abuse issues, many patients and their loved ones are skeptical about the effectiveness of treatment. Since conditions like addiction, depression, bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder are so personalized and complex, many individuals have doubts concerning the effectiveness of treatment. However, there are several treatment options which have proven successful in the battle against various types of mental and behavioral health problems.

Treating Disorders Pertaining to Mental Health and Substance Abuse


Although various types of medication are often used in the treatment of mental illness and addiction, studies show that counseling and other types of psychotherapy are effective at treating the long-term effects of these conditions. Psychotherapy, also known as counseling or talk therapy, is designed to help individuals work through their mental health and substance abuse problems through discussion and behavior modification. And unlike medications, which often vary according to diagnosis and other factors, psychotherapy has proven effective in treating a broad range of conditions, some of which include the following:

Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatments: Do They Work?

  • Addiction to drugs and alcohol
  • Depression
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Sex and gambling addictions
  • Extreme fears and phobias

There are several different types of psychotherapy treatment, the most common of which include the following:

Behavioral Therapy

This type of psychotherapy works by identifying and modifying the individual's self-destructive or otherwise unhealthy behaviors. Although behavioral therapy can be used in various types of individuals, it is most often used in those suffering from depression, substance abuse, anxiety and phobias.

Cognitive Therapy

During cognitive psychotherapy session, individuals are encouraged to work on their problems by pinpointing and changing dysfunctional patterns in thoughts, emotions and behaviors. The point of this type of therapy is to bring subconscious thoughts and actions into the conscious mind so that the individual is aware of unhealthy behavior patterns and has the opportunity to change their behavior.


During psychoanalysis treatment sessions, the individual is encouraged to speak openly so that their thoughts and behaviors can be analyzed. This can help counselors to determine the source of issues concerning mental health and substance abuse, as well as possible long-term solutions to these problems.

Group Therapy

Like one-on-one counseling sessions, group therapy creates a safe environment in which individuals can discuss their problems with mental health and substance abuse issues. In group sessions, clients meet with other like-minded individuals, where they are encouraged to speak openly about their thoughts, feelings and experiences. Group therapy provides various benefits to individuals in recovery from mental health or substance abuse problems, including the support, accountability and shared knowledge of peers.

Studies show that the types of therapy mentioned here not only help in the short-term, but also provide the individual with the coping skills to sustain long-term health and recovery. Through the use of these treatments, patients can experience numerous advantages pertaining to mental and behavioral health.

Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatments: Do They Work?

Ben Brafman, LMHC, CAP is the President and CEO of The Sylvia Brafman Mental Health Center, a licensed mental Health treatment center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Ben has more than 20 years of experience in the addiction and mental health fields, which led him to develop a combination of innovative treatment protocols at The Sylvia Brafman Mental Health Center. He has been published on various topics including dual diagnosis and chemical dependency, and gives back to the community by educating other addiction counselors at his Academy for Addiction Professionals.