What do chemical dependency or substance abuse counselors do?
Deciding to stop using drugs and alcohol is a life-changing process and major lifestyle changes are never entirely easy. Counseling is an important part of the treatment. It works hand-in-hand with other therapies such as medical assessment and treatments, biochemical restoration, psychotherapy, family therapy and complementary treatments such as acupuncture, bioresonance, reflexology, yoga and many other traditional and emerging possibilities in this area.
If you’re thinking about going to a treatment center for help with chemical dependency, you may be wondering what to expect and exactly how an addiction counselor can help. Addiction counselors are professionals with specialized training and skills that help in many ways. For example, they:
- Address addiction, as well as any underlying issues or co-occurring disorders that interfere with a happy, productive life. Counselors are trained to help identify and deal with depression, anxiety, PTSD, bipolar disorder, or other mental health problems that act as barriers to recovery.
- They use various approaches that help clients focus on changing their behavior. If clients are reticent about treatment and unsure if they really want to stop the addictive behavior, counselors help them manage these potential limitations in a caring and understanding way.
- Provide education and information that help clients understand why they crave drugs, alcohol, or engage in addictive behavior such as compulsive eating, gambling or sex.
- Help people address problems that occurred as a result of substance use, they help restore broken relationships or help address trust issues with friends and family. They also assist in breaking free from old relationships that do not serve clients any longer.
- Use a variety of techniques such as Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) and Mindfulness that help clients examine unhelpful or even destructive thinking and acting patterns. As a result, clients learn healthier coping techniques and recognize thoughts that can trigger cravings and relapse.
- Provide self-help techniques that help clients recognize clues and warning signs that can lead to relapse.
- Work with family members to help them understand chemical dependency and provide skills to help them support their loved one.
- Inspire motivation and give positive feedback to help clients navigate the process of recovery.
Addiction is a complex disease that doesn’t get better on its own. However, it is treatable, and counselors are an integral part of effective rehabilitation. A skilled counselor can help clients manage their emotions more effectively, change their behavior and their actions and lead happier, value-based lives.
It’s never too late to start the recovery process.