The Role of Counseling in Addiction Treatment
Overcoming addiction requires a lot of work. While some start taking drugs or alcohol to try to be cool or to fit in with friends, most addicts get hooked due to a psychological or emotional need. After long term use, the body gets used to these chemicals and it becomes more difficult to fight off the craving.
The detoxification process is the most well-known stage of addiction treatment, and it is so because it is also the toughest. Patients, despite having the will or motivation to stop using, might stumble due to cravings. But once this physical dependence on the substance is broken, this part of the fight is over. In fact, detox will last only a few days.
The rest of the treatment will focus on identifying and dealing with the psychological or emotional triggers that push patients to use drugs or alcohol. These are also stimuli that might make a recovered addict relapse. First is stress, especially from sudden or unexpected life changes or struggles. Second, environmental cues like a specific place may also trigger a relapse. Lastly, being around friends who are users will make it very hard to say no and stay clean.
To address these stimuli, counseling is included in the addiction treatment program. It allows the patient to face personal issues and develop coping strategies without turning to drugs or alcohol. There are different types of counseling therapies that are usually part of rehab programs.
- Individual Therapy
These sessions help the patient unlock problems that might have propelled him to start drinking or taking drugs. Sometimes their addiction is also connected to another mental condition like depression, and the goal of the therapy is to provide support and replace the addiction with healthier ways to deal with these problems.
- Group Therapy
In these sessions, patients who are going through the same challenges meet and share their experiences, with the goal of supporting and challenging each other during the struggle to be free from addiction. Some group sessions in Taylor Recovery have a 12-Step programs may also be unsupported by a psychotherapist but initiated by other recovered addicts.
In CBT, the therapist helps the patient recognize specific situations, moods, or thoughts that stimulate the craving for alcohol or drugs. These triggers can then be avoided, and negative thoughts and feelings are replaced by happier and healthier ones to be able to stay clean. This approach is a long-term solution to addiction, but unfortunately, few therapists are trained or are capable of doing CBT.
- Contingency Management Therapy
This approach positively encourages staying clean by providing incentives like vouchers, privileges and the like. However, there is a risk that once these incentives stop, the patient might relapse.
- Couples or Intensive Outpatient Family Therapy
Because an addiction affects the family and the people surrounding the user, it might help to get partners and other loved ones into therapy sessions. They may act as a source of motivation or even the driving force for finally quitting.
Without dealing with these other triggers and reasons for abusing drugs or alcohol, you can never really say that the patient has fully recovered. Therapy will look at you and treat him as a whole person, allowing him to rebuild a life beyond alcohol or substance abuse.