Substance Abuse And Addiction Counseling

When used as part of a comprehensive addiction treatment program, substance abuse and addiction counseling can help a person overcome addiction and build a stable, healthier life.

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Drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs provide a safe, compassionate space for a person to heal and rebuild their life after addiction. Counseling and therapy sessions form the backbone of this vital therapeutic community. Individualized addiction counseling emphasizes a whole patient approach that focuses on improving mind-body-spirit wellness.

Addiction is a mental illness, and, like other forms of mental illness, it requires comprehensive care that works to balance both mental and emotional health. Individualized substance abuse and addiction counseling help to restore balance and wellness, so that a person has a greater opportunity for better physical health and sobriety.

This person-centric care is built on a shared vision that is established by the counselor and individual in treatment. Through a collaborative partnership, the counselor and the client discover and nurture ways to build a drug-free life.

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The Goals Of Substance Abuse And Addiction Counseling

The aim of counseling and therapy in addiction treatment is to help a person heal, find balance and renew their mind. Change can be overwhelming, especially when a person is confronted with the instability of an addictive lifestyle. Because of this, the counselor or therapist will work with a person to identify areas of their life that need to be changed.

General goals of addiction counseling include:

  • Helping a person understand the root causes of their addiction.
  • Identifying and addressing any mental health problems.
  • Improving a person’s mental and emotional health.
  • Identifying harmful thoughts, feelings, and emotions and teaching a person how to build positive ones in their place.
  • Repairing relationships that were broken or damaged by addiction.
  • Identifying and removing negative relationships from a person’s life.
  • Identifying and removing other triggers, such as locations or social events that prompt thoughts of using.
  • Teaching dynamic sober livings skills that are adapted to a person’s life.
  • Teaching a person important habits of self-care.
  • Teaching a person how to trust again.

The exact steps and goals of a person’s journey through treatment will vary and likely be determined by an in-depth clinical assessment.

The Benefits Of Substance Abuse And Addiction Counseling

Counseling can help a person understand negative patterns in their life caused by addiction. It can also help them develop coping skills so they grow beyond these issues in a more healthy and positive way. Counseling sessions offer encouragement, accountability, and support during what can be one of the most trying times of a person’s life.

Specifically, counseling can:

  • Provide a community of support
  • Provide unbiased support
  • Build confidence
  • Build self-love
  • Build trust
  • Repair damaged relationships
  • Heal past wounds
  • Help a person cope with traumatic experiences
  • Uproot dysfunctional feelings and behaviors
  • Teach positive and lasting sober livings skills
  • Teach relapse prevention skills
  • Teach stress management techniques
  • Teach responsibility
    Reduce the symptoms of mental health disorders

Counseling can be of great benefit to anyone facing addiction, however, it’s especially beneficial for people who don’t have an active support network at home.

Individualized Substance Abuse And Addiction Counseling Services

The best drug addiction treatment programs use an individualized treatment model to guide their client’s recovery. Instead of offering a one-size-fits-all treatment plan, these facilities customize treatments to each client’s specific needs.

This includes the type and duration of counseling or therapy sessions used during rehab. In order to determine the best line of treatment and counseling methods for a person’s needs, certain questions may be asked:

  • What substance(s) is the person addicted to?
  • How long has the person been abusing the drug for?
  • How severe is the addiction?
  • Does there person have any health or medical conditions that influence their treatment needs?
  • Does the person have any co-occurring mental health disorders?
  • What is the person’s support system like?

Personalized treatments give treatment participants a greater incentive to stay in treatment. Instead of offering only broad, generalized suggestions about recovery, individualized counseling sessions help a person to identify and overcome the issues that matter most to them.

The most effective addiction treatments go beyond addressing only the physical and psychological effects of the substance abuse. Chronic drug abuse can change a person’s thoughts, emotions and behaviors in a way that affects almost every area of their life.

The best rehab programs recognize this and examine the ways these changes damage a person’s health, relationships, family life, career and educational pursuits. In addition to this, addiction counseling can help a person cope with difficult situations in their life that may have led to or resulted from addiction, such as:

  • Career problems
  • Chronic medical problems
  • Grief or loss
  • Mental health disorders
  • Relationship or family troubles
  • Traumatic experiences

Some people opt to use substance abuse counseling as a standalone treatment for addiction, instead of receiving this care as part of an integrated addiction treatment program. While some people do find success and become sober this way, counseling is typically far more effective when supported by other treatment methods in a rehab program.

The Role Of Counseling In Addiction Treatment

Each person’s journey through treatment and recovery is different. But in general, the addiction treatment process has four main steps: intake, detox, rehabilitation, and aftercare. A person’s continuum of care may include all or some of these elements. For instance, not every addiction requires a medically supervised detox. People working to recover from an alcohol, benzodiazepine or opioid addiction are more apt to need this care.

Though the role of counseling may change from one treatment service to the next, counseling may be integrated into every step of the treatment process:

Intake: A counselor is one of several individuals who may be responsible for evaluating a person’s substance abuse problems. This clinical assessment is similar to an interview. During it, counselors and/or other addiction specialists assess the scope of a person’s addiction, in addition to their health and medical history. A person’s mental health should also be evaluated at this time. These findings shape a person’s treatment plan.

Medical Detox: The primary aim of detox is to treat physical symptoms of withdrawal, however, counselors may be on standby to address any emotional or mental health concerns that arise as a person withdrawals. Providing compassionate support, encouragement and even a listening ear can help to make this transition less overwhelming.

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Rehabilitation: Counseling plays an integral goal in rehab, whether it be during outpatient, intensive outpatient or residential inpatient treatment.

While counseling can be primary treatment in each of these programs, inpatient drug rehab counseling sessions generally give a person a better opportunity for healing and personal development.

Aftercare: Aftercare is a critical component of recovery, especially relapse prevention. Many treatment centers provide aftercare and alumni support programs to their program graduates.
Like treatment, each client will have different needs and experiences in aftercare. This includes counseling.

Aftercare counseling helps an individual upkeep important recovery principles and sober living skills. Additionally, these sessions can target specific areas of a person’s life that might threaten their recovery, like relationship problems or coping with a chronic illness. Counseling sessions can be enhanced by other aftercare services, such as mentorship programs, peer support groups and online recovery resources.

Types Of Addiction Counseling

Addiction can change the way a person thinks about themselves, their relationships and their role in the world around them. As drug or alcohol abuse intensifies, a person’s self-confidence and ability to take care of themselves frequently suffers too.

Chronic substance abuse can also change the way a person’s brain and thought processes function, making it difficult for a person to think clearly, balance their emotions and make good decisions.

Because of this, the most effective programs offer counseling opportunities that help a person heal individually, within relationships and through the support of others facing addiction. In rehab, these could include:

Individual Addiction Counseling

Individual counseling sessions provide clients with a one-on-one opportunity to identify the issues and circumstances in their life that are linked to addiction. Once this happens, counseling can help a person develop the motivation to change areas of their life that are unhealthy or harmful to their recovery.

A counselor may have a person use homework assignments or journaling activities to chart their progress. These activities can also help a person pinpoint additional areas of their life that they need to work on, or, when successful, areas they need to celebrate. Role-playing exercises may also be used to boost a person’s confidence and skill at managing stressful situations.

Family Counseling And Support

Addiction is often referred to as a family disease. Addiction changes the landscape of a family’s day-to-day life, causing dysfunction, communication breakdowns, financial problems and instability. In turn, negative emotions like blame, shame, resentment, fear and anger can pollute the home.

When a family member is struggling with alcoholism or drug addiction, family counseling can help the entire family to heal and grow together. These sessions will also:

  • Educate family members on addiction.
  • Teach family members coping skills.
  • Teach family members how they can support the person seeking treatment.

Group Addiction Counseling

Group counseling delivers counseling in a peer-based format. In addition to the guidance of the supervising counselor, group counseling gives a person a unique opportunity to learn and get support from other individuals who face similar struggles with addiction.

Group counseling and therapy gives a person a better lens by which to see addiction and the impact it’s having on their life. Interacting with other people in recovery helps a person to see that they’re not alone. These sessions can also help a person develop self-forgiveness, self-compassion and hope, all things that are essential after the devastation of addiction.

Many programs use behavioral therapies to restore psychological health and teach sober living principles. These include cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy and motivational interviewing. Alternative treatment methods may also be used, such as art, equine or wilderness therapies.

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Counseling In Specialized Addiction Treatment Programs

Every experience with addiction is different. Because of this, many people find the greatest benefit in a specialized addiction treatment program.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Dual diagnosis programs provide research-based treatment for people who have both a mental health and substance use disorder, or a co-occurring disorder. Counseling sessions address the ways these disorders influence one another and teach coping skills that help manage each condition. Counseling sessions may be used to help people with:

  • Anxiety
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders
  • Personality disorders
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Schizophrenia

Gender-Specific Treatment

Men’s- and women’s- only treatment programs provide care that is sensitive to the unique challenges of a person’s life. Substance abuse can affect men and women differently and create different treatment needs between the genders. When used with other treatments, gender-specific counseling sessions can help a person to feel more comfortable opening up about their journey with addiction.

Medication-Assisted Treatment

Counseling is frequently used in conjunction with behavioral therapies and medications to treat alcohol and opioid use disorders. This evidence-based approach is called medication-assisted treatment. Medication-assisted treatment can help a person to reduce their substance abuse and maintain sobriety.

Other specialized addiction treatment programs that use counseling include faith-based (religious), holistic, LGBTQIA+ friendly, luxury, professional (executive), 12-step and non-12-step treatment programs.

Contact Addiction Campuses today to learn more about the transformative power of addiction counseling.

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