If you’re considering treatment for a substance use disorder, you may already be on the track to recovery. That’s because one of the toughest parts of recovery is often the beginning: admitting you might have a problem. This article will explain how to find a therapist who specializes in helping people with substance use disorders, so you can begin exploring treatment options that work for you.
When searching for a substance abuse counselor or therapist, it is important to consider their office location and expertise in treating conditions such as substance use disorders, as well as their training in effective drug counseling techniques. Additionally, their understanding of the psychological dynamics involved in addiction and their ability to provide accurate diagnoses can help patients in their recovery journey.
If you are looking for substance abuse counselors or substance use therapists who specialize in drug or alcohol use disorders, we will outline some resources for you in this article. Taking the time to research and ask for help is a significant step. It may be one of the most important ones that you can take to help get back to the life you deserve.
What Is Substance Use Counseling?
It can also be helpful for behavioral addictions. Programs with an addiction therapist can involve inpatient or outpatient treatment. Regardless of where you seek treatment, you’ll likely talk to a licensed and trained substance abuse counselor or addiction therapist in a clinical environment. In substance abuse counseling, you’ll speak to a mental health professional to identify factors contributing to your substance use behaviors. In talk therapy, you may discuss addiction causes, develop coping skills, practice those skills, and attend group therapy. Some people also find twelve-step programs for substance use helpful.
Acknowledging dependency is hard, but addiction can be debilitating and potentially deadly. Substance use disorders can exist alongside or even be caused by depression, anxiety, past trauma, or another mental health disorder. All these issues can be treatable. You’re not alone, and there is hope.
How To Find An Addiction Counselor Or Addiction Therapist In Your State
"How to find a substance abuse counselor near me?" Searching for an addiction therapist near me or an addiction counselor online will likely yield many results, but you might feel uneasy if you don’t know how experienced a counselor is in their field. Having a referral from someone you know, a mental health professional who has a master’s degree or doctoral degree, or from another trusted medical or mental health professional is one way to find a counselor for substance use treatment. Still, it can be difficult if you’re nervous about revealing you have a substance use issue. Another option is to call a national helpline such as SAMHSA’s National Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
You can also look into treatment facilities for substance use disorders. These facilities often have experts who understand addiction, and their counselors are typically trained to help people through substance use recovery.
Substance Use Treatment Facilities
Substance use treatment facilities are places where individuals can seek treatment for substance use issues either in-patient or out-patient, depending on their needs. These facilities usually house teams of clinicians, addiction therapists, and other experts who understand substance use disorders and how to treat them. The first component of addiction treatment is the evaluation process. An evaluation establishes your background and needs so that you can receive personalized treatment. Addiction treatment settings often include social workers, clinical psychologists, addiction counselors, psychiatrists, and an entire clinical team.
Individual counseling with a licensed therapist who specializes in substance use can help you gain a deeper understanding of addiction, learn coping skills, and prevent relapse. The most commonly used types of therapies for substance use recovery include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), motivational enhancement therapy, family therapy, and twelve-step facilitation (TSF). Group therapy is another option, and it can be a powerful resource for recovery in both the short and long term as you build close relationships and learn more about the lives of the people in your group. Sometimes just knowing you are not alone can make a difference. Most facilities offer both individual and group counseling.
What’s An Addiction Psychiatrist?
The addiction psychiatrist's expertise lies in addressing mental health concerns that co-occur with substance use disorders, utilizing a deep understanding of the brain and thinking patterns. They provide short medication management sessions, checking to see how medications are working and making adjustments as needed. You may consult with an addiction psychiatrist to determine whether you need medication for substance use to prevent relapse. Medication can help with the cravings that can result from a substance use disorder, as well as help to prevent relapse and manage withdrawal symptoms.
An addiction psychiatrist may be equipped to handle your unique situation. If you’re having trouble with a particular substance, tell your psychiatrist, and they may be able to provide a more personalized treatment process.
Find The Right Addiction Therapist Or Drug Counselor
Some individuals find an addiction or drug counselor through the recommendation of a family or friend, while others receive a referral from a general physician. When you find a licensed addiction counselor, you should consider checking their credentials. They should possess the appropriate education and up-to-date certification to work with substance use issues. Searching online reviews may also help confirm that a counselor is ethical and has worked well with others in the past.
If you think you’ve found a good fit with a counselor or addiction therapist, you may want to call them for a phone consultation before scheduling your first session. You do not need to make an in-person appointment until you feel comfortable doing so. After an in-person meeting with a substance use counselor or addiction therapist, consider whether the session felt productive and safe. If so, you might want to keep going. If not, you have the right to explore other options to find your best fit. No professional counselor will take your decision personally. Keep in mind, though, that it might take more than one session to know whether your counselor suits your individual needs.
Addiction Treatment Is Crucial
Getting help with addiction is a unique challenge because you are treating more than just substance use—you are also addressing potential underlying mental health issues. Many people experience addiction as a way of coping with something else like mental health issues or trauma, for instance. The process of uncovering and addressing these underlying challenges takes time. A mental health professional can help you make a plan to take back control of your life, one day at a time.
Online Therapy Can Help
In addition to pursuing help through treatment facilities, you might find that subsequent therapy with a mental health professional and different therapy options can support your recovery, help you set achievable goals, and prevent relapse. Alternatively, if your substance use disorder stems from underlying issues like trauma, anxiety, or depression, you may want to focus on the issue at its source by keeping up a regular schedule of mental health counseling. For these and other services, online therapy from BetterHelp might be helpful to you.
Seeking in-person counseling for a substance use disorder comes with its own unique challenges. Often, people experiencing these disorders may feel too ashamed or embarrassed to talk to a therapist in a traditional setting. Reaching out online can feel like a safer alternative for these individuals. With online substance use and mental health counseling, you can meet with your therapist from the comfort of your home. You can also make appointments outside of regular business hours, which can be helpful if you’re experiencing related issues like sleep disturbances.
BetterHelp can match you with a licensed mental health professional who can help you continue your recovery journey. Online therapy with BetterHelp is convenient, flexible, and affordable. There’s no need to arrange in-person appointments or deal with traffic and waiting rooms. Instead, you will be able to get care when you need it in whichever format—video chats, phone calls, emails, or in-app messages—is the best fit for you.
Researchers in the field of addiction and mental health have found that online counseling for individuals experiencing substance use disorders can be an effective alternative to traditional, in-person approaches. A recent systemic review uncovered similar outcomes for individuals with these disorders, especially when video conferencing was used as a tool in online therapy.
The reviews below show how BetterHelp has been able to support others on their substance use recovery journeys.
"I absolutely love and adore him so much. He has helped me cope with my addiction and stress problems in so many different ways. Even though it’s been over the phone or online this entire time and states away, he makes me feel like he is sitting right in front of me talking to me like I’m a real person. There’re so many more things I could say about Steven in a positive manner but that would take me another paragraph or two. He is probably the best counselor I have ever come across and he listens to everything, with a very neutral understanding. He does not make me feel pressured to do certain things by a certain time. He works on my schedule. The only down part is no immediate text back and forth but he DOES respond as soon as he possibly can and is always willing to do a light session unscheduled. I will recommend Steven to everybody I have ever known seeking help. We have barely scratched the surface together, honestly. But he knows me better already than most of my closest friends / or family."
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What does it mean to be addicted?
“Addiction” is a word that seems simple but can cover a complex range of human experiences. Addiction involves a compulsive need for a substance, behavior, or activity, usually something that brings negative consequences. Today, the term “drug abuse” is now referred to as drug use disorder or substance use disorder.
The concept of addiction is commonly associated with drug and alcohol substance use, but in truth, you can become addicted to anything. For example, an emerging form of addiction is internet addiction: overuse of the internet for non-productive activities, usually social media or similar recreational sites, in ways that impede day-to-day functioning and health and can lead to other severe problems.
Other examples of behavior addictions include gambling addictions and sex addiction. Some individuals experience addictions to having sex with other people, usually strangers, which can lead to STIs or other sexual consequences.
The line between a habit and addiction can be blurred. A habit tends to form over a long period of time, and it can be good or bad. With a less intensive approach like cognitive behavioral therapy, you can change a negative habit. However, intense brain chemistry makes treating addictions and recovering from addiction more difficult than changing a habit.
What is the role of an addiction counselor?
Addiction counseling involves helping clients or patients who have an addiction, drug abuse, or substance use disorder. In general, addiction counseling involves building trust between the clients and the counselor, so the client can express their emotions and experiences without feeling judged, which can offer them great insight.
With a client’s permission, a drug counselor may speak with a family or their entire family during therapy sessions to create an emergency plan, but counseling is classified. One counselor or addiction therapist may employ several techniques, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, which can reduce the link between addictive thoughts and habits. Other therapists or counselors may evaluate a client’s thoughts, behavior, environments, people, or other concepts that trigger addictive cravings and promote a higher risk of addiction, especially during vulnerable states.
What does a drug therapist do?
A drug therapist works with a client to detox them of the drugs they are addicted to, then works with them to fight the addiction. This can be for a short or long period. Drug therapists and other mental health professionals helping clients overcome addiction may use different therapy techniques to change how one thinks and behaves in order to reduce cravings. Drug therapists also focus on relapse prevention.
What is the best therapy for substance use?
Substance use is treated through various forms of therapy, which also range in therapy costs. Therapists know that each person is unique and may need different therapies to aid in their recovery. Here are some therapies used:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Cognitive behavioral therapy is a versatile, evidence-based form of mental health therapy that explores the relationship between thoughts and habits. In the context of addiction therapy, CBT tends to involve the thoughts that may feed into addiction; changing thoughts can sometimes change habits, and vice versa.
- Dialectal behavioral therapy (DBT) involves working with a mental health professional to reduce the cravings one experiences, as well as their severity, through increasing emotional and cognitive control—balancing thoughts and feelings to avoid undesired behaviors.
- Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) involves a patient working with a mental health professional to learn to think more rationally and positively to help change their emotions and thereby their behaviors.
- 12-step programs are quite popular and consist of meetings where individuals can meet discreetly to discuss their recovery journeys.
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