Substance Abuse Counseling: How It Can Help You Recover from Addiction

The road to recovery is a constant one, but with the help of substance abuse counseling, you can continue living your best life in recovery.

Many people believe recovery from addiction starts with detoxification of the chemicals in your body. However, this is not where it ends. If eliminating drugs from the system was the only thing necessary for recovery, there would be no relapses.

But there are relapses. Research shows that 85% of people relapse within a year after entering recovery.

The reasons for relapse vary but include biological and environmental factors. Even when alcohol, heroin, marijuana, and any other drug are detoxed from your body, you still face cravings, triggers, and temptations that are hard to resist.

You don’t have to be in this 85%, though.

Commit to knowing that recovery begins right after detox and continues until you have learned the skills needed to maintain sobriety. These skills are taught in substance abuse counseling programs.

What is Substance Abuse Counseling?

There are many types of counseling to help people cope with their issues like grief, Alzheimer’s, depression, anxiety, and, yes, substance abuse. They all have similarities, like meeting with a licensed therapist, attending support groups, and for some, medication management.

Substance abuse counseling consists of a team of professionals working with one goal in mind, to help you heal and get back to living life without drugs or alcohol. Your team should include professionals, peers, friends, and family who can offer support for every issue that may arise throughout your recovery.

Below are some of the ways substance abuse counseling during an intensive outpatient program can help you.

Medication Management

If you received medication during detox to curb cravings and ease withdrawal symptoms, you might need to continue those afterward, even though the toxins have been eliminated. Cravings don’t stop after detox. While they gradually disappear, it can take months for some to feel confident in their ability to resist a craving.

Medicines like buprenorphine offer numerous people a better chance at recovery by reducing the obsessive thoughts about relapsing. Buprenorphine prevents opiates from attaching to the brain’s opiate receptors. As a result, you can’t feel the effects of an opiate.

Working with a psychiatrist allows you to continue a medication-assisted program so you can worry less about withdrawal symptoms and more about learning how to stay sober, like with individual therapy.

Individual Therapy

Many people find it beneficial to attend an inpatient rehab right after detox because it gives you around-the-clock care and supervision of medical staff and counselors. However, attending individual counseling on an outpatient basis is crucial in remaining in recovery after you complete rehab.

Individual therapy involves you meeting with a therapist weekly. Individual counselors can teach you how to implement the necessary skills for addiction recovery. Learning to cope with emotions, communication, relationship building, anger management, decision making, and self-care are a few examples of the skills you need to succeed.

Your therapist will use different methods to teach you each skill, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), motivational enhancement therapy (MET), and psychodynamic therapy. In addition, if you faced traumas in your past, you might need additional trauma therapies. The most effective types are eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), trauma resilience model (TRM), and trauma-focused CBT.

Your therapist can provide family therapy to help everyone learn how to support your recovery properly. With substance use disorders, there can be family members who are enablers, co-dependent, or may also be struggling with an addiction. To sustain your recovery, your loved ones need help overcoming well-meaning but destructive behaviors.

Both you and your loved ones can benefit from adding support group meetings to your weekly schedule.

Support Groups

Support groups have been around for many years, even when they weren’t defined as support groups. There are several types of support groups you can access for addiction recovery, depending on your individual needs. One is a therapist lead support group.

1. Therapist Lead Support Group

There has been much research on the benefits of group therapy. In group sessions lead by a therapist, you can expect to learn essential recovery skills and get to know yourself and your addiction better.

2. Community Lead Support Group

You have likely heard of Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous and the 12 Step programs. This type of substance abuse counseling is run by peers, others who are entering recovery or have been there a while. Members understand what you are going through.

The more support groups you attend early in recovery, the better. Some people feel they need to participate several times a day, while others join groups several times a week. Each meeting consists of introductions, stories, sharing successes and struggles, and sometimes speakers offer motivational messages. You are not required to share and can gain a lot from listening to how others are recovering.

Your family can also attend community support groups like Al-Anon. They, too, need to know they are not alone in this struggle against addiction. Al-Anon groups are lead much like that of AA and NA. The difference is that the topic of the groups focuses more on healing themselves, not the person with the addiction. When they learn healthy boundaries and behaviors, everyone benefits.

Intensive Outpatient Substance Abuse Counseling

Sometimes you need a combination of medication, individual counseling, and group therapy to get you through the more challenging moments of recovery. Intensive outpatient services for addiction treatment include all three, giving you the most support possible without being in an inpatient setting.

Many treatment facilities offer virtual outpatient services. Meaning, you can get all the counseling benefits from the comfort of your home.

You can continue a daily routine of working and completing family responsibilities while also receiving crucial educational and therapeutic guidance.

In conclusion, if you feel you could benefit from any form of substance abuse counseling to help you recover from addiction, help is available. Seeking help is a sign of strength that can open the door to a new future. A future free from the hold drugs and alcohol can have over your life.

With substance abuse counseling, you can get back to the happy and healthy life you deserve.


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