What is Addiction Counseling & How Does It Work?

Across America, states are battling the current opioid epidemic. Between the 1990s and 2010s, prescriptions for opioids tripled. Many people with legitimate health issues were handed prescriptions for strong opioids that, when the prescriptions expired, left them desperate for more.

But, with the right treatment, overcoming opioid addiction is possible. More treatment centers are now taking a person-centered approach by addressing underlying mental and behavioral aspects of addiction, not just physical ones.

Addiction counseling is one way that counselors can uncover these underlying causes and help individuals create sustainable changes in behavior. If you’re wondering, “What is addiction counseling?” and want details on the process, read on.

What is Addiction?

Before exploring addiction counseling, let’s define addiction.

Decades ago, addiction was viewed as a choice that individuals made and that they could break with enough willpower. However, studies have revealed that addiction actually alters the chemistry of the brain.

The American Psychological Association defines addiction as a severe type of Substance Use Disorder:

“in which there is uncontrolled use of a substance despite harmful consequences. People with SUD have an intense focus on using a certain substance(s) such as alcohol, tobacco, or illicit drugs, to the point where the person’s ability to function in day to day life becomes impaired.”

Simply put, addiction can consume an individual and make them act in unpredictable and often harmful ways.

Addiction interferes with daily life, causes uncontrollable cravings, negatively impacts finances and hurts personal relationships. But people who struggle with opioid addiction can find healing with a treatment plan. The right treatment plan might consist of counseling.

What is Addiction Counseling?

Addiction is not just a physical dependence on drugs. It is a mental dependence, too. Social and psychological factors can trigger a relapse. These include things such as stress or environmental cues.

So, what is addiction counseling? Addiction counseling is a type of behavioral therapy that seeks to address the underlying causes of addiction in an individual and arm them with strategies and mechanisms for avoiding relapse. It is a way for patients to gain support, avoid relapse and learn to repair relationships. Addiction counseling helps people find a way to manage whatever life has in store without resorting to harmful substances.  

Patients who combine counseling with other treatments are statistically less likely to relapse. They were also more likely to stay in a treatment program.

How Does Addiction Counseling Work?

Now that we’ve walked through the purpose of addiction counseling, it’s time to examine the different types of counseling. Treatment is an individualized process, so one type of counseling may be more effective for one individual than another. Keep reading for a list of the different types of counseling.  

Individual Counseling

As the name suggests, individual counseling involves a certified counselor working alone with the individual. The frequency of the meetings can vary; you and your counselor will come up with a frequency that works for you. The patient and counselor develop a comprehensive treatment plan together.

Who can benefit from individual counseling?

People who want to work closely with one counselor in a private setting prefer this. People who want help setting goals and working through trials individually benefit most.

Family Counseling

Addiction affects the family around the individual. This type of counseling includes participation with any family member that an individual wants, such as a spouse, parent or siblings.

Who can benefit from family counseling?

For individuals who want to work through family issues, this counseling offers a mediator to facilitate healing. Here, the family comes together to discuss the challenges, causes and work together to find solutions.

Group Counseling

Group counseling is that which takes place in a group setting, where multiple people are counseled together. People get involved in groups their entire lives, whether it is religious, social, family, or cultural groups. This type of therapy capitalizes on the way groups shape behavior, self-image, and mental health.

Who can benefit from group counseling?

Group counseling is particularly good for those who need support from many people in times of trouble or pain.

Online Counseling

Online therapy can take the form of any of the counseling types listed above. The only difference is that it takes place online or over the phone.

Who can benefit from online counseling?

This is good for those who want the extra privacy of online or phone sessions. Also, people who are more comfortable at home might find this an easier setting for sessions. Online support groups have risen in popularity in recent years and allow you to access help no matter where you are.

Addiction Counseling Benefits  

Patients can gain a lot from counseling. Addiction counseling can help to unearth the causes of addiction and help an individual create coping mechanisms.  

Additionally, counseling improves mental health for many. The ability to be heard in a judgment-free setting and tackle problems rather than bottling them up can positively impact many areas of life. From improved relationships to better mental health, there are many reasons that patients participate in counseling.

While counseling is beneficial for some, others may not need this part of treatment. MATClinics allows patients overcoming addiction to choose whether they want addiction counseling.

Take the First Step Towards Healing Today at MATClinics

Success in overcoming addiction is based largely on the appropriateness of treatment. Treatment is not a one-size-fits-all process. At MATClinics, your prescribing doctor, case manager or counselor are available to discuss alternatives and what might be the best fit for you.

Contact MATClinics for more information.

Speak to a member of our team to schedule a New Patient visit, or just to get more information.

Thank you for your inquiry, we will reach out to you soon. If you don’t want to wait, please call or text us at 410.220.0720.
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