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Pre-addiction treatment
How is pre-addiction treated?

How is pre-addiction treated?

Pre-addiction can be reversed! The goal of treatment at the pre-addiction stage is not...

Pre-addiction can be reversed! The goal of treatment at the pre-addiction stage is not perfection, but building healthier choices and an improved state of mind. This looks different for different people. 

In pre-addiction treatment, the focus is to improve resilience and protective factors against addiction and to reduce negative consequences from substance use. But like changing your diet, this can be hard to do on your own and some things work well for certain people but not others!

The weight loss industry is a good parallel, with a range of options, including coaching, therapy, clinical interventions, groups, and DIY approaches. At Confidant, we’re here to help you pick the path that’s most likely to help you succeed, this sometimes means trying different strategies. 

Some things that can help people achieve success in reducing pre-addiction are:


Coaches provide non-clinical assistance, such as:

  • Defining and reaching your wellness goals 
  • Forming and sticking to an action plan
  • Identifying resources to support you
  • Providing judgement-free support as well as accountability 
  • Serve as a sounding board 
  • Share strategies to reduce cravings and deal with setbacks
  • Add motivational support
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There are a variety of therapeutic interventions that can be used, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one of the most common. Therapy can be used to improve overall mental health and challenge negative behaviors. Some therapies are better suited at dealing with past trauma, such as Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR). The type of therapy that is best suited to your needs should be identified by a trained professional, but it can be helpful to ask about these practices. Therapy can help with:

  • Changing problematic behaviors
  • Reversing negative thinking
  • Coping with past trauma 
  • Defining and reaching your wellness goals
  • Overcoming fears
  • Treating mental health conditions 
  • Improving your relationships 


While medications are often a frontline treatment for individuals with addiction, they’re used less commonly for individuals with pre-addiction. That said, there may be cases where medications are appropriate. Some individuals looking to cut back their drinking may benefit from naltrexone, a medication that can help change drinking behaviors. Additionally, if an individual's substance use is related to a mental health condition, such as anxiety or depression, they may be a candidate for medications to treat these conditions. If you are screened for pre-addiction at Confidant but your provider determines you have a more severe substance use disorder, they may also discuss medication treatments with you. Medications might be prescribed to people with:

  • Problem drinking
  • Opioid use disorder 
  • Anxiety or panic attacks
  • Depression 
  • Insomnia
  • Other related mental health conditions 
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Our team will call you to answer any questions you have or to help you schedule an appointment.

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Support Groups and Mutual Aid Groups

Groups can be focused on different philosophies or topics. Some meet on a regular basis, others are curriculum based. Groups can help with:

  • Building community, connection, and support systems
  • Accountability
  • Acceptance
  • Identifying resources
  • Building skills such as communication or self care

Virtual Interventions

Some of the therapeutic practices and exercises that are used in therapy have been digitized to provide DIY, asynchronous options to help you reach your goal. You can engage with Confidant’s chatbot, Alfie, to work on some goals related to pre-addiction. 

This article has been medically reviewed by
Erin Hillers
Erin Hillers
Erin Hillers
Nurse Practitioner

Erin is a Nurse Practitioner with 8 years of experience in midwifery and women's health. She has spent the past 5 years specializing in the treatment of opioid and alcohol use disorders.

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