I'm Struggling With An Addiction: How To Find A Substance Use Counselor Near Me

Medically reviewed by Andrea Brant, LMHC
Updated March 10, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Addictions can be physical or mental. You might experience dependency on substances, relationships, shopping, sex, or other behaviors and substances that can cause a dopamine release. Once dependency occurs, it can feel challenging to overcome without support or treatment. Substance use is a common addiction 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 a substance abuse counselor to confide in and receive guidance from might be the first step toward a new beginning. You may try typing and searching "alcohol counseling near me" online to find counselors near you. In addition to in-person counseling, individuals may also consider the convenience and accessibility of alcohol online therapy options. 

If you are struggling with substance use and require immediate crisis support, contact the SAMHSA National Helpline at (800) 662-4357 to receive support and resources.

Are You Struggling With An Addiction?

How To Find A Substance Use Counselor Nearby

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. Treatment can improve your physical and mental health. A substance use counselor often offers support by monitoring your symptoms, helping you locate resources in your community, and providing coping mechanisms. 

To find a substance use counselor 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.

What Does Substance Use Dependency Look Like?

When someone has substance use 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 may look like a cycle of using a substance, thinking about when you'll use it again, and then using it again. Often, individuals struggling with addiction may use a substance 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 substance use addiction include:

  • Craving more and more of the substance to get the same effect over time 

  • Continuing to use the substance 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 stop consuming the substance

  • 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 for the substance. Addiction may impact multiple cognitive functions, including memory, behavior, judgment, and decision-making. When a person keeps using a substance, it can continue to change their brain and its wiring. 

As the person becomes accustomed to a substance, 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. With some substances, a person may need medical treatment from health professionals and mental health professionals to quit. 

Why Do I Struggle 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.  

The American Psychological Association explains that the impulse to use the substance 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.

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 counselor 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 substance use disorder may have an elevated risk of developing one. Psychological factors (such as trauma) and environmental factors (such as one's family or peer group engaging in regular substance use) may also contribute to the risk. 

Types Of Addiction Treatment Options 

You're not alone in your dependency, and support is available. Many forms of treatment, such as therapy, medication, support groups, and treatment centers, could help you recover from substance 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 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 substance abuse 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 Therapy 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 a substance. Group therapy may have similar benefits but with a licensed professional leading the session. 

Many substance abuse 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 Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous) are often a part of recovery for many individuals. 

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. 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. Speak with a medical professional before changing, starting, or stopping a medication. 

If you choose to see an addiction therapist, they will have 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 near you.

Ask For 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 counselors, an addiction specialist, 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 substance use rehab facilities to find addiction resources. If you want to go somewhere during the day, try to find an addiction or substance abuse treatment center that offers outpatient care. 

Try Online Therapy 

Online substance use 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.

Studies have shown that online therapy can help individuals recover from substance use disorder. One study published in Clinical Psychology Review looked at the effectiveness of internet-based therapy in treating tobacco dependence, gambling addiction, alcohol addiction, and other types of substance use. The study found that online substance use disorder counseling reduced addictive behavior and achieved positive behavioral changes. 

The report also noted that internet-based therapy has the potential to remove common barriers to treatment, making care more accessible and convenient. 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. 

Are You Struggling With An Addiction?


Recognizing that you are struggling with substance dependency can be vital in getting support for your addiction. Recovery from addiction may be possible, and you're not alone. A substance use counselor in your area or online may be able to guide you through the process of healing by coming up with a treatment plan that's most effective for your situation.

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