If you have a history of misusing drugs or alcohol, you probably understand that you enjoyed some type of benefit or reward from their use, at least in the beginning. There was probably a euphoric effect that kept you coming back. This is the link in the chain that must be broken, and can be assisted with the technique of contingency management. Contingency management is a type of evidence-based therapy that uses rewards and incentives to promote positive action. It is used in tandem with recovery programs to make sure it gets completed.
Contingency management is a type of behavioral therapy that is used in many recovery centers. The strategy focuses on promoting positive changes in behavior and further promotes abstaining from using. It utilizes the powerful, and traditional, theory of positive and negative reinforcement otherwise known as operant conditioning. Positive being that a reinforced idea will continue because of humans’ pleasure seeking inclination. Negative being that humans will avoid things that cause pain or discomfort. A classic example of CM (Contingency Management) is the urine test. For example, in many CM treatments, patients leave urine specimens a few times every week and get rewarded when they come back negative. These rewards often consist of vouchers that have a monetary basis and can be exchanged for retail goods and services such as gift cards, certificates, sports equipment, movie tickets, etc. This technique can also be used for less critical addictions such as marijuana dependency or cigarette smoking. By encouraging the positive behavior, the value of the reward overshadows the value of continuing the negative behavior.
The reason for this aid in typical treatment is to keep people on their track to sobriety. Many people just don’t follow through. Some addicts are forced into treatment by court order; some are pushed into it by family while others do enter on their own but want to jump ship a few weeks into the program. The American Psychological Association accounts for as much as 80 percent of cocaine abusers failing to complete treatment programs. To support the theory of contingency management, the APA has used Dr. Stephen Higgins research citing 15 out of 16 studies that showed significant results in favor of contingency management due to its increased effectiveness in keeping recovering cocaine addicts from using.
However, contingency management alone is not likely to result in sobriety right away, or keep someone in rehab. Because of the powerful nature of addiction, contingency management is merely an aid to help in healing.
Contingency management can be used in different rehab settings, and at Asana Recovery we utilize them in different scenarios such as outpatient rehab sessions and reoccurring patient milestones. This can be positively enforced by physical items such as gift cards or a positive emotional recognition. To learn more about what we can do for you or your drug-afflicted loved ones, please contact us at (949) 438-4504.