I'm Struggling With An Addiction: Can I Find a Substance Abuse Counselor Near Me
By: Stephanie Kirby
Updated May 21, 2020
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 stop doing 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 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 suffers from 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 desire and craving for that substance along with the changes in the brain make it feel impossible to resist the urge to use again.
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.
What Types of Treatment Help with Addiction?
The good news is you don't have to struggle alone and that there is help and hope available. Many forms of treatment available 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. 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 helps result 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 fact that it works on changing thought patterns to change unwanted behaviors. It's been found to be effective in treating patients that are 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 instead of alone when dealing with situations like a substance addiction. 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 it 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 form of treatment 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 helps you to gain better body control and to see how things like meditation and breathing techniques help you control your body and move past urges and cravings.
First Things First
The most important thing to start your process off right isn't about finding a counselor. It's actually 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 problem the substance or substances are having on their life, or they say that they say things like, "I'm not addicted. I can stop whenever I want."
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 any form of treatment.
How Do I Find an Addiction Counselor Near Me?
So, if you are ready to find addiction counseling 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. Addiction psychiatrists are often used when medication is needed as part of the treatment being offered. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor that specializes in the mental health field. This means they can write prescriptions for things like antidepressants and antipsychotics.
An addiction psychologist has received training in providing therapy to help people manage, overcome, and health 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 support groups, like AA, that you can join. It can be incredibly helpful to work through recovery with others that understand what you're going through.
Ask for Referrals
You can start by asking your doctor, family, or friends for a referral. If you know someone that has personally struggled themselves in the past, they may be able to point you in the right direction.
A quick online search provides the information that you're looking for. If you believe that you need to go to an inpatient facility, commonly referred to as rehab, search for substance abuse rehabs. If you want to go somewhere during the day, look for substance abuse facilities 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. You can also search for Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous to find the meetings closest to you. You can also search for individual therapists that provide substance use counseling.
Another option is online counseling. BetterHelp is an online platform where you can be matched with a qualified professional counselor. You can get started right away and all you need is an internet connection and a smartphone, tablet, or computer. You can have live sessions with your counselor (video, phone, or chat) and you can also exchange messages on the platform, similar to email messages.
Get the Help You Need
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.