Why Counselling Is Essential in Addiction Recovery?

Giving up the use of prescription medications, illicit drugs, or alcohol – or any other substance use problem – is a significant accomplishment. You have plenty to be proud of, but there is still work to be done. Detox is merely the beginning of a lengthy journey in which you will learn to manage urges and avoid relapse. Counselling is an important part of many people's treatment for substance use disorders.

You can stay clean with the support of cognitive behavioural therapy, family counselling, and other forms of treatment. Other mental health disorders that frequently play a role in substance misuse can also be treated with psychotherapy. Substance misuse is not something to be taken lightly. It happens when you use alcohol, prescription medication, and other legal and illicit substances excessively or incorrectly.

Addiction is not the same as substance misuse. Many people who struggle with drug misuse are able to quit or adjust their destructive behaviour. Addiction, on the further hand, is a medical condition. It implies you won't be able to stop utilising even if your condition causes you damage. When most individuals discuss substance addiction, they are usually referring to the use of illicit narcotics.

Abuse drugs do more than just change your mood. They can impair your judgement, distort your perceptions, and change your reaction times, putting you in danger of an accident or harm. Some claim that casual, recreational use of some substances is not dangerous and is only usage, not abuse. Marijuana smokers are the most ardent supporters of recreational drug use. They contend that marijuana, unlike "harder" narcotics, is not addicted and has many good properties.

When it comes to illicit substances, society has judged that their usage is detrimental and has imposed legal restrictions on their use. 2 This aims to safeguard both people' well-being and society from the expenditures associated with connected healthcare resources, lost productivity, disease transmission, criminality, and homelessness (although the impact of criminalising this use has been open to considerable controversy).

Why You Require Counselling

A substance use disorder is more than just an addiction to drugs or alcohol. Even after detox, when your body is no longer dependant on the drug, you are at significant risk of recurrence. Certain psychological and social elements can be significant relapse triggers:

  • Stress, particularly unexpected life pressures
  • Environmental cues, such as a visit to a nearby community
  • Social networking sites, such as spending time with friends who continue to use them

These items might elicit a strong desire to use again. Counselling can help you overcome cravings and learn to cope with life's challenges without the use of drugs or alcohol. Several counselling techniques are available to help people with drug use problems.

There is no evidence that one approach is superior than another. Similarly, no single strategy to opiate addiction works for everyone. The best treatment approach will be personalised to your addiction and personal requirements.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy:

CBT, or cognitive behavioural treatment, teaches you how to identify feelings, ideas, and events that trigger drug cravings. A therapist will instruct you on how to avoid these triggers. You'll discover how to replace negative ideas and sensations with positive ones that will help you stay clean. Because the skills you'll gain will last a lifetime, this is an effective therapeutic strategy. However, not all therapists have received training in cognitive behavioural therapy procedures.

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy:

Acceptance and transformation are central to dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT). DBT was developed in the 1970s to treat suicidal persons, but it has now been adopted for various purposes, including drug use problems.

The emphasis in treating drug use disorders is on reducing substance use and the behaviours that contribute to it, as well as promoting healthy behaviours (such as initiating meaningful relationships) that assist the person avoid using.

Individual and Group Therapy

While any type of drug misuse treatment is preferable than none, group therapy is often favoured over individual therapy. You are more likely to be challenged and supported by others who are also going through treatment in group therapy.

Peer support groups can also be found in 12-step organisations such as Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous. They can be a vital element of your rehabilitation plan. However, keep in mind that they are not conducted by a certified psychotherapist and are not the same as group therapy.

Individual therapy can be helpful if you have depression, bipolar disorder, or any serious mental health problem that necessitates treatment apart from your drug use disorder.

Outpatient vs. Residential Treatment

Residential therapy eliminates you from the atmosphere and circumstances that lead to your drug use. You will be placed in a specialised institution for a period of weeks to months. You'll acquire new habits or skills for sober life while you're there.

While this technique works well in the short term, there is no evidence that it helps you stay away from drugs any longer than outpatient programmes, which you will attend for ranging from a few hours to several hours per day while living someplace else.

You can explore what caused you to use drugs or alcohol, share and process your feelings, increase awareness of negative thought and behaviour patterns, learn healthy coping skills, identify potential triggers, and create a long-term plan to maintain your sobriety with the help of an addiction counsellor. Both inpatient and outpatient treatment programmes rely largely on addiction therapy, which can be done individually or in groups.

An addiction counsellor’s role is to:
  • Conduct general assessments and substance abuse examinations.
  • Throughout a therapy programme, provide patients with unbiased emotional support.
  • Psychoeducation should be provided.
  • Process groups and group exercises should be facilitated.
  • Administer drug and alcohol testing on a regular basis.
  • Create a treatment plan that is tailored to your specific requirements and goals.
  • Assist you in developing an aftercare plan based on the services available in your region.

Drug rehabilitation counselling or addiction counsellors will also lead group therapy sessions, which frequently include family members or other patients suffering addiction treatment.

Group therapy can lead to conversations about family dynamics and how poor relationships can produce or fuel addiction. Once these dysfunctions have been diagnosed, the patient can begin establishing critical post-treatment arrangements.