How Does Contingency Management Work As An Addiction Treatment Program?

Posted on: 16 May 2022

If you are struggling to control an addiction, then you can consider trying new treatment programs. For example, a contingency management treatment might help you modify and control your addictive behavior and habits.

How does contingency management work in this context? How might it help you?

What Is A Contingency Management Treatment?

Contingency management uses rewards to help people keep their addictions under control. These programs use positive reinforcement to reward positive behavior and, sometimes, to give a consequence to negative behavior.

For example, an addiction treatment program with a contingency management plan might offer a drug addict a series of incentives to stay clean. These rewards are usually tangible. For example, they might include vouchers to shop in stores or entries into prize draws to win cash or prize items.

Contingency management rewards are typically awarded on an evidence-based system, such as weekly drug tests. If you have a clear drug test, then you might earn a specific reward, entry into a prize draw, or points toward a rewards total.

However, if you fail a drug test, then there might also be a consequence. In some cases, you simply don't get any reward; in others, you might lose some or all of the points you are saving toward a specific goal.

In some cases, people use an informal type of contingency management as part of a different therapy or program. For example, a therapist might ask the parents of an addicted young adult to create a set of positive management rewards, such as access to a car or family vacation, as an incentive to stay clean.

What Are The Benefits Of Contingency Management?

Contingency management programs work on an incentivized basis — they give you a positive and tangible reason to try to keep your addiction under control. This principle taps into behavioral psychology.

People can often set up patterns of healthier life choices and behavior if they get a positive reaction to doing something good. So, you might feel even better about yourself if your first weekly drug test is clear and you are given some reward points.

Your unconscious starts to accept that good behavior has value. You also have a specific reason to try to stay clean. Soon, earning weekly rewards becomes a habit. It gives you a focus. So, you might find it easier to get your problem under control.

As with any treatment for addiction, contingency management can be used in tandem with other treatments. To find out more about how this program works and how it might help you, contact addiction treatment program providers.