Millions of Americans struggle every day with an alcohol or drug addiction. Unfortunately, many of them never end up getting the help they so desperately need in order to get clean and sober. Battling a substance use disorder, or addiction is extremely difficult, and many individuals require outside help in order to stop using drugs or alcohol. Professionals consider drug or alcohol addiction to be a disease of the brain. It is something that takes rigorous, and often constant, maintenance in order to manage and keep under control. Many times, it is difficult to see the warning signs. Much like how someone needs to take insulin every day for their diabetes. For drug or alcohol addiction, however, treatment comes often in the form of counseling combined with complete abstinence from the use of drugs or drinking alcohol. But, does counseling work for drug addiction?
Getting clean and sober is a huge achievement, but few will deny that the road to success is a difficult path to take and often requires help. There are many reasons why people begin using drugs or alcohol in the first place, but a large share of addicts have likely suffered many different forms of trauma in their life. This trauma and environmental factors can lead to people trying drugs or alcohol for the first time. Also, the abuse of drugs or alcohol can serve as a coping mechanism for the trauma experienced by the individual. Either way, there are many reasons why counseling and therapy are a much-needed service to treat the underlying contributors to the disease. Here are several reasons how counseling can help an individual to recover from alcohol abuse or drug addiction.
How Does Counseling Work For Drug Addiction Treatment?
Helps Develop Coping Strategies
Drugs or alcohol eventually become a coping mechanism after people begin abusing either of these substances. Struggling to cope with the hassles of their day-to-day life, an individual will often return to the drug of their choice. This builds tolerance and makes abuse more prevalent. When a person gets clean and sober, that urge to use drugs or alcohol doesn’t simply go away. The person feels an intense need to use in order to cope, sometimes even for the most common struggles in life. Counseling can teach the individual new and healthy coping strategies. This makes counseling very effective on their path to recovery. Drug and alcohol addiction counselors teach addicts how to deal with stress in a healthier way, which proves much more effective in the long term.
Creates A Strong Support System
Having a strong support system is extremely important to someone who is recovering from a drug or alcohol addiction. A lot of times, people in need of drug and alcohol treatment feel as though they have no one to talk to when times get tough--even if they are lucky enough to have a meaningful relationship left in their life. Having a drug and alcohol addiction counselor allows the individual to feel like there is someone in their life who cares about them, especially someone that isn’t going to judge them or overreact to something they might say.
Be Aware of Co-Occurring Disorders
There can be underlying reasons why someone turns to drugs or alcohol. Self-medication for dissociative disorders, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, bipolar disorder, and other forms of mental health issues are extremely common. Drug abuse from illicit drugs can sometimes be a coping mechanism, which can prevent common forms of addiction treatment from working.
Gaining A New Perspective
Drug and alcohol addiction counseling is perfect for helping someone gain a new perspective on life. This shift in focus can be crucial to a person’s recovery from mental health disorders. Many addicts will often avoid admitting certain key facts – even to themselves. Something as simple as the fact that they are unable to stop using drugs on there is often avoided. Going to drug and alcohol counseling can help people identify behaviors that are self-destructive. Identifying behaviors that have led them to abusing drugs and alcohol in the first place ultimately teaches healthier and happier behaviors that won't be destructive in their future.
Building A Relapse Prevention Plan
Anyone who has ever gotten clean and sober after an addiction to drugs or alcohol knows that relapse is often part of the process. Many people who are new to recovery will end up using drugs or alcohol again. That’s just a fact. So, if you do relapse, just know that you are not alone. Understand that it is even more important during a relapse to reach out for help as there is always hope for recovery. If you have a drug and alcohol counselor, they will work with you in building a relapse prevention plan. This means helping to identify triggers, creating a plan to help you deal with them, and then providing the support necessary to help you get through those relapse triggers if needed.
Access to Additional Resources
Drug and alcohol addiction counselors are a great tool for helping someone to access additional resources. Aside from the emotional support, helping to learn new and effective coping strategies, and teaching how to manage triggers, a lot of people may not be aware of some of the additional resources available. Creating access to their local community services or even nationwide resources is part of the job descriptions for drug and alcohol addiction counselors. Not to mention, drug and alcohol addiction counselors often have access to resources that aren’t available to the general public.
Helping Repair Relationships
A major consequence for someone actively struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction is the major damage inflicted to many of their close, personal relationships. Sometimes even total loss of these relationships. When people fall prey to drug and alcohol addiction, they regularly alienate themselves from their loved ones and they often lie, steal, and cheat in order to continue abusing drugs or alcohol. These actions can cause a lot of damage to relationships in that person's life. Another benefit of working with a drug and alcohol addiction counselor is that they can offer advice on how to repair and maintain these relationships during recovery. And a counselor can offer advice and guidance on how to create new and healthy relationships as well!
These are just a few reasons why counseling for alcohol and drug addiction works. However, sometimes counseling alone is simply not enough. Thankfully, there are many different levels of treatment available in order to help manage drug and alcohol addiction. That is why it is important to reach out to an addiction specialist as soon as possible to get a proper assessment.
If you or a loved one are suffering from a substance use disorder, please reach out to our highly trained staff at More Than Rehab. We have a wide range of treatment levels and can provide the most specific and tailored treatment necessary, depending on the individual’s specific needs. The majority of our treatment programs offer drug and alcohol counseling so you can be sure to get the best treatment possible.