I'm Experiencing An Addiction: How To Find A Substance Use Counselor Near You

Medically reviewed by Andrea Brant, LMHC
Updated April 22, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team
Content warning: Please be advised, the below article might mention substance use-related topics that could be triggering to the reader. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance use, contact SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). Support is available 24/7. Please see our Get Help Now page for more immediate resources.
Content Warning: Please be advised, the below article might mention trauma-related topics that could be triggering to the reader. Please see our Get Help Now page for more immediate resources.

Addictions can be physical or mental. You might experience dependency on substances, relationships, shopping, sex, or other behaviors that can cause a dopamine release. Once dependency occurs, it can feel challenging to overcome without support or treatment. Addiction is experienced by people of all genders, ages, races, classes, and backgrounds. 

Dependence and addiction are commonly used interchangeably. However, there's a difference between dependence vs addiction. Whether you experience dependency on an illicit substance, alcohol, or tobacco, substance use disorder may impact many areas of your life. Addiction is a mental health condition that physically changes the brain. For this reason, quitting may be challenging, and many individuals experience shame when dependency occurs. However, healing from addiction is possible. Finding an addiction counselor or substance abuse counselor to confide in and receive guidance from might be the first step toward a new beginning and better outcomes. You may try typing and searching "alcohol counseling near me" online to find counselors. In addition to in-person counseling, individuals may also consider the convenience of alcohol online therapy options.

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Are you struggling with an addiction?

How to find a substance use counselor in your area

Seeking help for an addiction is often a vital step to recovery, and looking for an "addiction therapist near me" is one of the first steps to get there. Getting treatment can improve your physical and mental health. Addiction counselors often offer support by monitoring your symptoms, helping you locate resources in your community, helping you identify the underlying issues related to your addiction, and providing coping mechanisms. With the right mental health professional, you can gain relief from the emotional pain and fear associated with drug use. When researching who to see for help, it is important to find a trained and experienced professional. Many therapists have a master's degree in counseling or social work, and specialize in addiction treatment or substance abuse counseling.

To find a therapist online, use a search engine to search for "substance use counselors in (city name)." Then, send emails or make phone calls to counselors that look promising that accept your insurance. You can also ask your primary care physician for a referral if you are unsure of where to look for local counselors that are covered by your insurance.

What does dependency look like?

When someone has dependency, they may feel consumed with the thought of using a particular substance, such as alcohol. They may crave it to the point that it consumes their life. The craving could be physical or mental. 

Addiction and substance abuse may look like a cycle of using, thinking about when you'll use it again, and then using it again. Often, individuals struggling with addiction may use multiple times during the day and night or during inopportune moments. This cycle can also lead to physical and mental health risks, such as the risk of death, lowered blood pressure, or liver toxicity. Other signs of addiction include:

  • Craving more and more to get the same effect over time 
  • Continuing to use even when it's harming yourself or others
  • Going to profound lengths to acquire the substance
  • Experiencing problems in one's relationships
  • Withdrawing from previously enjoyed activities and loved ones
  • Having withdrawal symptoms if you try to quit
  • Participating in risky activities while using 
  • Lying or stealing to obtain the substance
  • Neglecting work or other responsibilities at school or home
  • Experiencing mental health issues like depression or anxiety

Science and addiction

When someone experiences addiction, their brain's wiring is impacted, which leads to intense cravings. Addiction may impact multiple cognitive functions, including memory, behavior, judgment, and decision-making. When a person keeps using, it can continue to change their brain and its wiring. 

As the person becomes accustomed to a drug or alcohol, they may desire more significant amounts of it to experience feelings of intoxication or feeling "high." This process is called tolerance. When someone is unable to obtain a substance, behavioral changes could occur. It’s important to note that, with some substances, a person may need medical treatment from health professionals and mental health professionals to quit. Recovery can take a long period of time, but it is possible.

Why is it hard to stop using?

At times, you might feel that your dependency controls your body and mind. Knowing that it would be wise to stop can exist alongside a struggle to stop due to the effects of addiction and substance abuse disorder.

The American Psychological Association explains that the impulse to use overrides knowledge of the associated negative consequences. This information may help you understand how addiction is a mental health concern that can require treatment from mental health professionals like substance abuse counselors.

Many people struggling with addiction may want to or attempt to stop but have difficulty following through. Addiction can seem illogical or confusing to onlookers or those impacted. However, support from a therapist can assist in the process. 

Who develops a substance use disorder?

Many factors can contribute to the development of substance use disorder. Genes often play a significant role, as an individual with a family history of addiction may have an elevated risk of developing one. Psychological factors (such as trauma) and environmental factors (such as one's parent's or peer group engaging in regular consumption) may also contribute to the risk of developing addiction and substance use disorders.

Types of addiction treatment options 

You're not alone in your dependency, and support is available. Many forms of treatment, such as therapy sessions, counseling services, medication, support groups, and treatment centers, could help you recover from addiction, including the following.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a form of mental health therapy that can be beneficial to people struggling with the mental aspects of addiction. CBT is a psychotherapeutic treatment that teaches individuals to identify their thoughts and feelings and how they impact their behaviors. 

CBT is a common therapeutic approach used by clinical psychologists and other mental health professionals to treat behavioral disorders, addiction, depression, and other mental health conditions. When CBT is used for addiction therapy by health professionals, it may teach individuals to identify the thoughts and urges that arise in addiction and methods for changing the behavioral patterns. CBT can help break up negative thoughts to help individuals change their thoughts, which may result in healthier choices.

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)

DBT works similarly to CBT in the sense that it works on changing thought patterns to alter unwanted behaviors. It effectively treats patients at high risk of harmful behaviors or those who have not experienced improvement through other forms of mental health treatment. 

Patients are encouraged to accept their circumstances and situations as a way of breaking the control that it has over their life. They may learn to identify inaccurate thought patterns and replace them with healthy behaviors, such as mindfulness. DBT may be utilized in a group or individual setting. Additionally, you might work through a workbook and have take-home assignments. 

Meditation and mindfulness

Meditation and mindfulness are relaxation and stress management methods that often have benefits when combined with addiction counseling. The skills learned while practicing mindfulness and meditation may teach a person to step back from a situation and identify and label emotions. 

They may learn to experience situations without passing judgment and understand how specific thought patterns impact their dependency. Learning how to control your breathing can have a significant impact on your physical health, as well. 



Biofeedback is a therapy in which you are hooked up to electrical sensors, allowing a doctor to monitor your body's health throughout counseling. It lets health professionals see brain waves, heart rate, or breathing patterns. 

You can see what changes you can make to improve the areas of the body you want to control. This process may aid you in gaining more control over your body to move past your cravings. Biofeedback may be done during a regular therapy session or with a medical professional in a clinical setting. 

Group counseling or support groups

Support groups are often a popular method for addiction treatment, as they allow individuals to meet with others experiencing similar patterns, behaviors, and feelings. Often, addiction support groups offer a sponsorship option to allow others in the group to help you stay accountable when deciding to quit. Group therapy may have similar benefits but with a licensed professional leading the session. 

Many treatment programs and health professionals encourage patients to participate in support groups following addiction mental health treatment. Support groups such as 12-step programs (like AA and NA) are often a part of recovery for many individuals. Other support groups may be led by licensed substance abuse counselors or other mental health professionals.

Addiction support groups may provide a way for individuals to tell their stories and connect with others undergoing similar challenges concerning addiction and their mental health. Engaging in support groups can allow people to ask for strategies for managing recovery. 

How to find a counselor 

Often, you may work with a team of professionals when looking to recover from dependency, including psychiatrists, therapists, medical doctors, and addiction specialists. 

An addiction psychiatrist may help patients manage addiction medications or medications related to other mental health conditions as part of their treatment plan. Generally, psychiatrists manage medications, whereas therapists may not be able to. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor with a medical degree. They can write prescriptions for antidepressants and antipsychotics and perform diagnostic testing. Consult with a medical professional before changing, starting, or stopping a medication. 

If you choose to see an addiction therapist or psychologist, they will have done research and training in providing therapy to help individuals manage, overcome, and heal from mental health challenges. Psychologists are mental health professionals who cannot write prescriptions when treating patients but can provide other types of therapy after a diagnosis.

There may be local and nationwide support groups that you can join online or in person, as well. Working through recovery with others who understand your struggles can be helpful. You may be able to find an addiction support group in your area, or you can ask your therapist about programs in your area. In addition to support groups, it may be beneficial to attend family therapy as addiction often impacts more than just the person experiencing the addition. 

Ask for counselor referrals

Referrals from doctors, therapists, family, or friends can help you find quality care for your addiction. Suppose you know someone that has struggled with addiction in the past. In that case, they may be able to point you in the direction of where to find reputable addiction specialists or treatment centers with qualified health professionals.

Look online

A quick online search may provide the information you're looking for. If you believe you need to go to an inpatient facility, you can search for rehab facilities to find addiction resources. If you want to go somewhere during the day, try to find an addiction treatment center that offers outpatient care which may be beneficial when managing withdrawal symptoms.

Try online therapy 

Online counseling may help you reframe any underlying thoughts that lead to addiction. If you are struggling with an addiction, getting care may be challenging due to struggling to commute to appointments. For example, if you have an alcohol or drug dependency, you may be unable to drive or utilize public transportation safely. Online counseling allows you to receive care from the comfort of your home. A simple search of "drug counseling near me" is all you need to have all the options in front of you, potentially making it simple to find a substance abuse counselor.

Studies have shown that online therapy can help individuals recover from the disorder. Research suggests that internet-based therapy can be effective in treating tobacco dependence, gambling addiction, alcohol addiction, and other types of addiction. The study found that online counseling reduced addictive behavior and achieved positive behavioral changes. 

If you're interested in trying online counseling, BetterHelp can be a beneficial option, as it offers a growing database of counselors and the option to choose your therapist. 

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Are you struggling with an addiction?


Recognizing that you have a problem with dependency or addiction can be vital in getting support for your addiction. Recovery from addiction may be possible, and you're not alone. By searching for a "substance abuse counselor near me" you can locate a professional who is trained to help people experiencing addiction. Working with a counselor or therapist may give you the practice and guidance necessary to start the journey of recovery.
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