Psychoeducation is an aspect of therapy that offers information, awareness and support for people in treatment for drug and alcohol addiction or compulsive behaviors such as gambling, sex addiction or eating disorders. It is also an effective therapy for people who struggle with mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety. It engages the left or rational hemisphere of the brain to process the given information and to regulate the often strong feelings/affect, which come with addiction. It empowers patients to take control of their lives again, making sense of the old saying that "knowledge is power".
When used as one part of a comprehensive treatment plan, psychoeducation increases the chances of long-term recovery in many ways:
- Addiction is a chronic disease that affects the brain. Psychoeducation provides ways to understand the complex science of addiction in simple terms.
- Completing treatment and resuming life with all its challenges can be stressful. Psychoeducation provides valuable information that helps alleviate worry and anxiety.
- Psychoeducation provides an opportunity for clients to ask questions – even if the subject is difficult or embarrassing.
- People in treatment sometimes feel tremendous guilt caused by unfortunate stereotypes and social stigmas about addiction. Psychoeducation reassures clients that addiction is a chronic, treatable disease – not a moral issue or a sign of poor character.