Handling drug abuse and addiction problems is never an easy or fast process, but it can bring about a greatly improved state of mind and outlook on the future. Full recovery is made up of many different important phases, and physical detoxification treatment is only the beginning. Once an individual has established a more stable physical condition, they can work on addressing the mental and emotional causes and effects of their drug use and build the foundation for a healthier, happier future. This is the purpose of counseling services.
Why Drug Use?
Most drug use begins when the individual encounters some problem in their life that they feel either unwilling or unable to address and resolve. In taking drug substances, the individual experiences relief from their problems when the undesirable symptoms of these problems are suppressed and other, desirable symptoms are stimulated. This can drive the individual to believe that drugs are helpful to them in some way, and the individual continues to use these substances.
Since the individual does not take the time to address the underlying problems that pressed them into drug use in the first place and since drug substances can only temporarily relieve the symptoms of these problems, the individual’s choice to use drug substances is essentially a choice to remain committed to the use of these substances indefinitely. Over time, their body will grow to tolerate these substances, and the individual no longer experiences the same desirable effects they once did. This drives them to consume even larger quantities of drug substances more frequently. Drug tolerance can continue to build time and again, until the individual is consuming dangerously high doses of drug substances on a regular basis without experiencing the same effects they once did.
Finally, the individual’s body grows to depend upon the drug substances that have constantly interrupted its normal functioning, and the individual no longer has any choice or control over their drug use habits and patterns. When this occurs the individual may want desperately to be free from their drug use, and they may even believe that if they can just abstain from drug use for some time they will be able to recover from these dangerous substances. However, resolving the physical effects of drug use is only the beginning of successful recovery, as the individual must also take a look at what drove them into drug use in the first place.
The Importance of Counseling
There are many things that may drive an individual into drug use in the first place, including stress, relationship difficulties, physical pain and more. If left unresolved, these same things that drove the individual into drug use in the first place can also drive them to relapse into drug use after working on their recovery. Additionally, the pressures of recovery can cause unexpected stress, environmental triggers and drug use by others to drive the individual into relapsing. These are things that the individual cannot just “wish away” through abstinence, and will have to face and handle in order to successfully overcome. They will also benefit greatly from learning different ways to cope with their cravings and other obstacles during recovery so that they can remain firmly on the path to full recovery.
Types of Counseling
Like all other rehabilitation treatment services, there is no single type of counseling that is guaranteed to work perfectly for everyone. Each individual needs to consider their own specific needs, and find the counseling services that will work best to help them further recover from their drug abuse and addiction problems. Some of the basic forms of counseling include:
In individual therapy, the recovering drug abuser or addict is aided in uncovering the root causes for their initial drug use as well as in learning how to cope with the same or similar problems in their future without the use of drug substances. They can also work on repairing their self-confidence, self-respect and self-esteem, and begin to take responsibility for the damages their drug use caused.
While individual therapy allows the recovering drug abuser or addict a safe, private atmosphere in which to dig deep in their drug use problems, group therapy can allow the individual to give and receive help and support from others who are working through many of the same problems and challenges they are themselves working through. This support can be especially helpful when the individual is encountering particularly tough obstacles on the road to recovery and feels like giving up.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, also known as CBT, is very helpful in empowering the individual to recognize what may cause their drug cravings and how they can avoid or handle these triggers when they occur. Moods, thoughts and situations that would normally contribute to the individual’s drug use can be addressed and handled, the individual learning how to replace negative thoughts with more positive ones, and how to face and overcome challenges rather than trying to escape from or suppress them. Many individuals find that the skills they learn through CBT are not only applicable to their immediate recovery, but indeed to the rest of their entire life.
Contingency Management Therapy
Contingency management therapy helps an individual through recovery by rewarding them for abstaining from drug use. Vouchers for goods and services are common incentives used in contingency management therapy, often with great results. Of course, in order to transition smoothly back into one’s normal life environments and routines while maintaining one’s sobriety, the individual will need to come up with new rewards and incentives for their life as they will not continue to receive rewards and incentives indefinitely from their counselor.
Many drug abusers and addicts suffer under the impression that they cannot do anything to overcome their problems with drug abuse and addiction. The actual truth is that they are the only person who can do something to permanently overcome their problems with drug abuse and addiction, although they may need help and support to bring about full recovery. Motivational interviewing can support the individual in finding their own personal reasons for recovering from drug use. They may feel motivated by love for their spouse, children and family, or they may feel motivated by their desire to pursue further education or a more interesting career. This can help the individual recognize their own power in taking back control of their life and future.
Couples and Family Therapy
The problems of drug abuse and addiction affect the individual’s own life, as well as the lives of their spouse and family members. It is safe to say that the individual, then, is not the only one who needs recovery treatment. In couples and family therapy, the relationships damaged through drug use can be repaired and strengthened. This can allow the individual’s spouse and family members to remain more supportive for the rest of the recovery process, thereby strengthening the likelihood of lasting recovery.
Building a Better Future
There is no single solution to the problems of drug abuse and addiction, and the individual who takes the time to address and resolve every single aspect of their drug use is better prepared for a healthier, happier future. Counseling services can be incredibly helpful in allowing the individual to really improve their mental and emotional health, overcoming those things that drove them into drug use in the first place and preventing against future drug problems.
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