Addiction therapy offers many positive benefits for those struggling with a substance abuse disorder. Detox is often the first step in ridding the body of the physical influence of drugs and alcohol, but counseling can be considered detox for the mind. Counseling for addiction helps patients identify negative behavior patterns, past trauma and triggers that lead them back into substance abuse. This type of behavioral therapy helps patients regain control and become more motivated to finish addiction treatment.
Addiction Therapy Increases Motivation For Recovery
Recovering from addiction is difficult. Substance abuse takes a heavy toll on the body and mind. Finding the motivation to stop abusing drugs or alcohol is a huge and sometimes understated challenge in addiction recovery. The damage of substance abuse might be very obvious to your friends and family members, but you might be entertaining thoughts of denial. It’s common for recovering addicts to think that they’re not really addicted and that they can quit by themselves at any time. This can be even more likely when they get out of detox and feel better. That’s why addiction counseling is where the real work happens to help patients start down the road to recovery.
Counseling Helps Change Negative Behaviors
Addiction most likely made you lose total control of your life. You probably engaged in a number of destructive behaviors that hurt your health, your self-esteem, your relationships, your finances and more. Your counselor can help you see the thoughts and behaviors that may have led you to abuse drugs or alcohol in the first place. Psychotherapy techniques like cognitive behavioral therapy are proven effective treatments for addiction. During counseling sessions, you will learn how to change compulsive behaviors and thoughts and also how to replace them with healthier patterns.
Substance Abuse Counseling Can Prevent Relapse
Relapse is a very common occurrence during addiction recovery. It can happen a few weeks, a few months or even a few years after you stop using. Stress, social pressure and personal hardships can easily become triggers for turning back to substance abuse. Counseling can help prevent relapse through the following methods:
• Helping you recognize relapse warning signs
• Helping you build strategies to cope with strong stress and emotions
• Helping you learn how to develop new networks of social support
• Giving you resources to stop a small moment of weakness from turning into something bigger
You might think you’re in the clear if you’ve been sober for a while, but that’s not always the case. However, there are some common warning signs for relapse, including the following:
• Fearing the future
• Inability to plan
• Loss of self-confidence
Addiction Therapy Can Help You Build Stronger Relationships
Another sad side-effect of substance abuse is damaged relationships. If you’re recovering from addiction, you might feel worried and depressed when you realize how you’ve hurt relationships with your friends, family, children and significant other. Fortunately, there’s hope. Many people are more forgiving than you think, and your therapist can help you learn how to restore these relationships.
Address Mental Health Issues Through Counseling
An addiction therapist specializes in helping patients deal with and recognize their underlying mental health issues that are likely contributing to their struggles with addiction. Research shows that over a quarter of adults in America who have mental health issues also have a problem with substance abuse. The relationship between the two takes various forms, including the following:
• Disorders like PTSD, anxiety and depression often cause people to use drugs and alcohol to self-medicate
• Some symptoms of substance abuse can mirror mental illness
• Substance abuse rewires the brain, which might cause mental illness or make existing mental illness worse
Addiction counseling is very good at exploring mental health issues as well as triggers for relapse.
Learn To Recognize and Understand Triggers
Most people with addiction experience a compulsive need to use drugs or alcohol based on certain triggers. Some of the most common triggers include isolation, stress, negative emotions and social groups or situations that encourage drug or alcohol use. It’s also possible for positive things to encourage substance use. Some examples might be celebrating an important milestone or achieving a personal goal. Sometimes, people are even tempted to use drugs or alcohol after a period of treatment. They may feel like they have a handle on their addiction and can use whenever they want without getting addicted again.
Counseling is aimed at helping people recognize their triggers and either avoid them or use strategic coping methods. This process strongly increases the potential for a lasting recovery.
Types of Counseling
There are three main types of counseling in rehab programs for substance use disorders. These include individual counseling, group counseling and family counseling. All three are helpful in resolving elements of substance use disorder. Individual counseling is the most common and often the core of any rehab program. However, it’s advisable to pursue the other types of counseling as well.
This type of counseling is often the core treatment at addiction rehab facilities. You will meet one on one with your therapist, and they will help you get to the root of your addiction. You can expect to be asked many questions about your background and personal history regarding substance use. One of the most important factors in this type of treatment is the rapport between the patient and therapist. You should feel comfortable talking to your therapist and expressing your feelings and thoughts.
You may take part in group counseling along with individual counseling during treatment. Even if you might prefer private counseling, it’s still a good idea to explore group counseling. You can expect to meet with a group of peers in treatment as well as one or two therapists. Group counseling can help you understand that you’re not alone in your struggles with substance use. It’s common to feel nervous and anxious in the beginning, but you will eventually start feeling comfortable sharing your thoughts and ideas and providing feedback to others.
Finally, family counseling can also be a very important part of treatment for substance use disorder. If you’re like most addicts, you’ve probably damaged several relationships during your struggle with substance use. Family counseling can happen during rehab or at some point after it. You can potentially involve parents, siblings, your spouse or children in this type of counseling. Your family will get the opportunity to talk openly about how your addiction may have affected them. You will also get the opportunity to listen and commit to healing the relationship.
Addiction Therapist in Los Angeles
Dr. Howard Samuels is an addiction therapist in Los Angeles with real lived experience in addiction and substance abuse. If you or a loved one are struggling with a substance use disorder, drug and alcohol counseling can help. Give Dr. Samuels a call today to find out more.