Substance abuse counseling is the exploration and treatment for those who are struggling with drugs and/or alcohol. Furthermore, substance abuse also applies to addictions such as video gaming, gambling, shopping, and social media. A substance abuse counselor provides a supportive environment that allows an individual to talk openly, share emotions and feelings with someone who is objective, neutral and nonjudgmental. Substance abuse counselors also assist individuals by talking through the complexities and roots of their substance use.
What Does Counseling look like for Substance Abuse?
An important part of substance abuse counseling is the development of healthy coping strategies to cope with life stressors. Negative emotions or significant life changes can often fuel substance use therefore meeting with a substance abuse counselor to acquire tools and skills for handling stressors can help maintain sobriety and abstinence.
Substance abuse counseling involves the following:
- Identifying other mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, mood disorders, and trauma
- barriers to change
- Harm reduction strategies
- Relapse prevention
- learn coping skills to handle daily life stressors
- learn more about the science behind addiction
- talk with family members and provide guidance and support
Substance abuse counseling is a combination of methods that best fit the client’s unique needs. Methods, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, assists in identifying and changing negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that contribute to substance use.
Do I need to have an addiction to see a substance abuse counselor?
A frequently asked question is “Do I need to have an addiction to see a substance abuse counselor?” The answer is…NO!
Individuals seek out substance abuse counseling for many different reasons. Often, an individual may seek out substance abuse counseling if they feel they are leaning on substances to cope with daily life stressors and wish to acquire healthy coping skills.
Additionally, family members of those struggling with substance abuse seek out a licensed professional who specializes in addiction because of their ability to empathize, educate, and support the family through the difficulty of addiction.
Could substance use counseling benefit you or a loved one? Take consideration of the following:
- There is an urge to use that interferes with daily life tasks
- Feeling as if you need to use the substance frequently
- Requiring more of the substance to achieve the desired effect
- Spending a lot of time trying to acquire the substance
- Relationships or personal roles are being affected by the substance use
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when the substance is not consumed
If you said “oh, that’s me” to any of the above….reach out to L & B Counseling for an appointment to explore your concerns with substance use.
This article was written by Kirsten Cole, LCMHCA, LCASA