Benefits of Drug Addiction Counseling in Addiction Recovery
According to the NIDA, “Behavioral therapies––including individual, family, or group counseling––are the most commonly used forms of drug abuse treatment.” The reason for this is the multiple benefits of drug addiction counseling and other forms of behavioral therapy on the recovery of addicted individuals. While medication and other treatments can be beneficial, many individuals receive the most help and strength from regular drug addiction counseling.
Why is Drug Addiction Counseling So Helpful?
There are many reasons why drug addiction counseling is beneficial to a person’s recovery and why so many patients use it as part of their treatment plans. First of all, it does not necessitate the use of more drugs. Many individuals do not wish to use another drug to get them off the drug to which they are currently addicted. This type of treatment, without medication, is called natural drug addiction treatment and is preferred by many. Even though medications can be a beneficial part of addiction treatment, counseling can and should be used in both types (natural and pharmacological) of addiction treatment.
Other reasons people choose drug addiction counseling are:
- It teaches them new ways to view their addictions, and a new perspective can help with recovery.
- It teaches them ways to cope with triggers and cravings.
- It gives them someone to talk to about their feelings during a difficult time with no judgement.
- It helps them discover and treat possible psychological disorders they may not have known they had, which can also be reasons that helped cause their addictions in the first place.
- It introduces them to other individuals who feel the same way they feel and are dealing with similar issues.
- It can help heal relationships with friends and family members.
- It can be altered and different approaches can be used and combined to cater to the needs of the individual which is an incredibly important part of addiction treatment.
- It can be continued after a foundation for recovery is obtained by the patient, and the individual is even encouraged to continue afterward.
A New Perspective
For many individuals, drug addiction becomes something that encompasses their entire lives, and it can be difficult to see the forest for the trees. Many individuals feel that they should be able to quit their addictions cold turkey, but counseling can help them realize that this perspective is not only unnecessary but, in many cases, completely incorrect.
The NIDA states, “Years of research have shown that addiction to any drug (illicit or prescribed) is a brain disease that can be treated effectively.” Patients who learn this in treatment are able to realize that their compulsive need to abuse drugs is not because of a weakness but to a mental disorder that occurs as a result of long-term drug abuse changing the way the brain works. This helps many patients realize that treatment is necessary for recovery and that their struggle to stop abusing drugs is not due to weakness but to changes in the brain that must be reversed over time.
Triggers and Cravings
Triggers and cravings are two of the most difficult issues patients have when it comes to long-term recovery from addiction. In the case of some substances, like cocaine, “strong cravings for the drug” may surface, “sometimes even years” after treatment has ended (NLM). Learning to deal with these issues is incredibly important to your overall recovery which drug addiction counseling will place a large focus on, especially in the method of cognitive-behavioral therapy.
Patients are taught:
- How to avoid situations where triggers might occur
- How to cope with cravings
- How to say no to others
- How to self-monitor and watch for the potential issue of cravings to appear
All of these methods can help patients avoid many of the issues that go along with triggers and cravings which can help protect their recoveries for much longer.
The treatment of co-occurring mental disorders is one of the most beneficial parts of drug addiction treatment. According to the NIDA, “Because drug abuse and addiction––both of which are mental disorders––often co-occur with other mental illnesses, patients presenting with one condition should be assessed for the other(s)” as well as treated for all possible issues (NIDA 1). This can help patients fully realize some of the issues that helped to cause their addictions and then treat those issues which can lead to a more well-rounded recovery.
Group and Family Therapy
Many facilities use group counseling for drug addiction which can allow patients to meet other individuals who are dealing with the same general issues. This can help them see their own needs and problems more clearly, while being able to be instrumental in the recovery of others which can be largely beneficial to their own recoveries.
Family therapy is also a wonderful type of drug addiction counseling which is offered in many facilities and allows patients and their families to both see a trained counselor or therapist about their feelings toward the individual’s drug abuse. This type of treatment can actually mend relationships between the patient and loved ones. This is highly beneficial as addiction can cause major problems in the close relationships of the drug abuser.
Drug addiction counseling can be done anywhere, anytime, whether the individual is staying in an inpatient facility, receiving daily treatment at an outpatient facility, or has been living and working with their recovery for years. Many people continue drug addiction counseling long after their initial treatment has ended. It helps many people keep their recoveries strong and constantly reminds them of their commitment to stop abusing drugs.
Drug addiction counseling may be attended every day, once a week, or whenever it is really necessary, depending on the needs of the patient. Mutual-help groups like Narcotics Anonymous can be found meeting almost every day and in nearby places if you are in need of counseling immediately, and most people will continue to visit their counselors or therapists on a regular basis even after they recover from drug addiction, just to stay strong and fortify the basis for their recovery whenever necessary.