I'm Struggling With An Addiction: Can I Find a Substance Abuse Counselor Near Me
By: Stephanie Kirby
Updated February 11, 2021
Medically Reviewed By: Kristen Hardin
If you ask five different people what "addiction" is, there's a chance that you will get five different answers. Some people think that addiction is merely a choice that people make. They think that if a person wants to quit a certain behavior, then all they need to do is stop. However, real addiction is not simply a choice.
Addiction is a disease of the brain. And while most people connect addiction to drugs or alcohol, there are also plenty of non-substance addictions that people have. A few of the most common include shopping, food, pornography, and gambling. However, in this blog post, we are going to focus on substance-related addiction.
When someone has an addiction, they are consumed with the thought of using a certain substance. They crave it to the point that it consumes their life. It can become a cycle of using, figuring out when they will be able to use next, and then using again.
Does Science Prove This?
When someone experiences addiction, their brain's wiring has been impacted. This leads people to have the cravings that they experience. It impacts multiple areas of the brain including memory, behavior control, judgment, and decision-making.
As a person continues to use the substance, it continues to make changes to their brain and the wiring. And, as the person becomes more and more used to the substance they are using, they continue to need larger amounts of it to experience the feelings of intoxication that they're seeking. This is called tolerance.
Why Can't I Just Stop?
If you've never struggled with addiction before you may be wondering why people don't just stop using the substance. If they know that drugs or alcohol are negatively impacting their brain, their decisions, and their life then why do they keep using it?
But, if you have struggled with addiction before, you know it's not that simple. Knowing that it would be wise to stop is one thing, actually stopping is another. The American Psychological Association explains that the impulse to use the substance overrides knowledge of the associated negative consequences.
Many people struggling with addiction have said many times they will stop using, but haven't been successful in following through. It's the same thing as when a person tries to quit smoking cigarettes. People may know that they could improve their health if they were to stop smoking, but they have a hard time breaking the habit and urge to smoke. Just because a person knows they are doing something harmful does not make it easy to stop. Addiction is not logical.
Who Develops a Substance Use Disorder?
According to the American Psychological Association, there are many factors that may contribute to the development of substance use disorder. Genes play a significant role, as an individual with a family history of substance use disorders increases one’s risk of developing one as well. Psychological factors (such as trauma) and environmental factors (such as one’s family or peer group engaging in regular substance use) also can contribute.
What Types of Treatment Help With Addiction?
The good news is that you don't have to struggle alone, and there is help and hope available. Many forms of treatment such as therapy, medications, support groups, and resources like treatment centers can help you recover and heal from drug and alcohol addiction.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive behavioral therapy is one form of treatment that is beneficial to people struggling with addiction as well as other mental health issues. CBT is a psychotherapeutic treatment that works on getting people to identify their thoughts and feelings, and how they impact their behaviors.
When CBT is being used for addiction therapy, it helps by teaching people how to identify the thoughts that lead them to want to use again. They can spot triggers and learn how to break up the negative through the influence that's happening, which results in them being able to make better choices. The theory behind CBT is that if a person can learn how to control their thoughts, they will have a better chance of controlling and changing their behavior.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
DBT works similar to CBT in the sense that it works on changing thought patterns to change unwanted behaviors. It's been found to be effective in treating patients that are at high risk of harmful behaviors, or for those who have not experienced improvement through other forms of treatment. Patients are encouraged to accept their circumstances and situations as a way of breaking the control that it has on their life. Then they learn how to identify inaccurate thought patterns and replace them with healthy, rational thoughts.
DBT is made up of multiple parts including individual therapy, group therapy where skills are learned and practiced, and phone sessions between appointments.
Meditation and Mindfulness
This is an alternative form of therapy that often has the best results when used as a supplemental therapy combined with substance abuse counseling. The skills learned while practicing mindfulness and meditation teach a person how to step back from a situation and remove their feelings from it. They can experience a situation without passing judgment on it. And they can control their thoughts and overcome anxiety and fear.
These are important skills to have if you are struggling with addiction. It also helps you to learn how to control your breathing and relax, which makes a big impact on other parts of your body as well. When breaking the habits and urges that come with addiction, these can be crucial things to know how to do.
This is a type of therapy that many people aren't familiar with. During treatment, your therapist will hook you up to electrical sensors. This allows you to monitor different parts of your body. It allows you to see things like brain waves, heart rate, or breathing, and then helps you see what changes you can make that improve the areas of the body you want to control. This aids you in gaining better body control, and in understanding how things like meditation and breathing techniques can help you control your body, and move past urges and cravings.
First Things First
Sometimes, the most important thing to do when starting the healing process isn't necessarily starting substance abuse counseling. It's often about you being able to acknowledge and accept that you have a problem and you need help. Many people refuse to admit that they are struggling with addiction. They either are in denial about the effects the addiction is having on their life, or they say that they say things like, "I'm not addicted. I can stop whenever I want."
The American Psychological Association discusses the five stages of change and the importance of understanding this model for behavior change. If an individual is stuck in the precontemplation stage (where they are unaware of problematic behavior or unwilling to make a change), they are not yet ready to commit to recovery.
Even if you see the best therapist in the world, they won't be able to help you unless you are in a place where you are ready to acknowledge and accept. When you reach this point, you become open to the things that a therapist can help you with. Before you reach this point, you likely will not get a lot of benefit from treatment programs or substance abuse programs.
How Do I Find an Addiction Counselor Near Me?
So, if you are ready to find an addiction counselor nearby, we'd like to start by letting you know that you're not alone. Many people struggle with drug and alcohol addiction, and you should feel proud of yourself for deciding to seek professional help.
You may need to work with a team of mental health professionals to reach full recovery. An addiction psychiatrist helps patients when medication is needed as part of the treatment being offered. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor that specializes in the mental health field. They can write prescriptions for medications like antidepressants and antipsychotics.
An addiction psychologist has received training in providing therapy to help people manage, overcome, and heal from mental health challenges. Psychologists are not able to write prescriptions. While psychiatrists can provide therapy options, as well, most work directly with psychologists or therapists for that piece of the treatment puzzle.
There are also numerous local and nationwide support groups that you can join. It can be incredibly helpful to work through recovery with others who understand what you're going through.
Ask for Referrals
You can start by asking your doctor, family, or friends if they have a referral for specific substance abuse counselors, or treatment centers. If you know someone that has personally struggled themselves in the past, they may be able to point you in the right direction of reputable addiction counselors or treatment centers.
A quick online search can provide the information that you're looking for. If you believe that you need to go to an inpatient facility, search for substance abuse rehab. If you want to go somewhere during the day, look for substance abuse treatment centers that offer outpatient care. This can be really beneficial because you go several times a week, and can usually get both group and individual sessions. Or, you can search for individual therapists that provide substance abuse counseling.
Most drug or alcohol treatment programs encourage individuals to participate in support groups following treatment. Support groups such as 12-Step programs (like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous) are a vital part of recovery for many individuals. These communities provide a way for individuals to share their stories and connect with others undergoing similar challenges. Engaging in support groups allows people to share strategies for managing recovery and provides a sense of accountability. You can search for Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) to find the meetings closest to you.
Confronting Addiction With BetterHelp
Studies have shown that online therapy can be a useful option for substance abuse counseling. One study, published in Clinical Psychology Review, looked at the effectiveness of internet-based therapy in treating tobacco dependence, gambling addiction, and alcohol and other substance use. The study found that online substance abuse counseling reduced addictive behavior, which is in line with similar studies that prove the efficacy of online counseling services for addiction, and a wide range of other mental health issues. The report also notes that internet-based therapy has the potential to remove common barriers to treatment, providing increased accessibility to those who may not otherwise seek help.
As mentioned above, online substance abuse counseling can help you reframe the underlying thoughts that lead to addictive behavior. BetterHelp is an online platform where you can be matched with a qualified professional counselor. If you feel like you don’t have the time to drive to an office and sit in a waiting room, online therapy is a more convenient option. Without waiting to talk to a therapist in person, just reach out to your licensed counselor, and they will get back to you as soon as possible. If you or someone you know are having trouble managing addictive behavior, online therapy can help.
BetterHelp offers online counseling services for individuals living in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Read below for reviews of BetterHelp counselors, from those experiencing similar issues.
“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…”
“So far my experience with Corazon has been great, she has given me a plan to work towards and I feel like I'm going to achieve my goals I set myself on my counselling journey. I'm looking forward to working more with Cora and I feel like she understands what I'm trying to achieve.”
You can overcome and recover from addiction. The journey might be hard, but walking through it with the help of an experienced therapist can be just the thing to get you through. It's a decision that you won't regret when you are done. Imagine the life you could be living and schedule an appointment with a therapist to start your journey. Take the first step today.
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