I Need Mental Help: Is Alcohol Mental Counseling Really For Me?

By BetterHelp Editorial Team|Updated August 31, 2022

If you feel you could use some alcohol counseling or alcohol screening for sorting through alcohol related issues or finding alcoholism treatment, seeking alcohol treatment from an alcohol mental counselor can be beneficial for alcoholism. You may worry that “alcohol counseling” treatment is an admission that you're addicted to alcohol. However, alcohol counseling is generally an effective way to get treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD), which is a disease surrounding alcohol that negatively affects your life and often your friends, family members, and close relationships as well.

Even if you don’t experience alcohol use disorder, and simply wish to develop a better relationship with how you drink, have alcoholic parents, or are trying to better understand its potential roles in your life, alcohol counseling can be beneficial. Don’t get too caught up in names – there are many, many types of therapy and mental health professionals devoted to all different aspects of life, such as grief counseling, family counseling, support groups, online counseling sessions, substance abuse therapy, and ADHD counseling, among countless others; alcohol counseling is simply devoted to this particular topic, much like the others are primarily devoted to their respective topics.

alcohol addiction, alcohol treatment

I'm Unsure If Alcohol Counseling Is Right For Me

Help With Alcohol And Alcoholism: Counseling

Alcohol counseling is a specific kind of therapy that assists someone with an alcohol use disorder or alcohol dependencies. The counselor or treatment provider will work with you to create a treatment plan that helps you understand and recover from your dependency on alcohol, or, for some, addiction. They will teach you techniques for you to implement so that you can work toward living an alcohol-free life, or one less reliant on it.

Am I An Alcoholic?

Deciding if you have alcohol use disorder and if you need alcohol counseling with a mental health professional can be difficult for many people. If you have little control over how you use alcohol or if you require alcohol to cope with a normal day, week, or anything else, then you might have substance use disorder. If consuming alcohol has negatively impacted your relationships with friends, family, or yourself, then you may want to factor this into your evaluation as well.

Drinking can be a relatively harmless thing for many, but if you struggle to control yourself when you drink or you feel like you can’t stop yourself from having more than one drink, then it may be time to consider counseling or substance abuse treatment. Let’s take a look at the different types of treatment for alcohol use disorder recovery and what you’ll need to do to get started with the process of understanding and healing.

Types Of Mental Counseling

You may wish to attend individual sessions to begin alcohol counseling. These sessions will take place with only you and a therapist, social worker, psychologist, or other health professionals. One exception is if your counselor or treatment centers also recommend one or several family therapy sessions to repair relationships with family members. You’ll discuss the impacts that alcohol has had on your life, and together you’ll work out a plan to help you through quitting and getting your life back on track. You’ll have to be open and honest with your therapist. This can be a difficult process but well worth it to regain equilibrium in your life. Individual therapy isn’t your only option, though, but something that you may want to consider if you’re uncertain about getting started.

Another method of counseling for alcohol use disorder is group therapy. Several programs are well known, including Alcoholics Anonymous, but that’s not the only program out there. These methods of therapy revolve around the idea that being with other people who are experiencing the same or similar struggles as you will help you overcome your own. For example, if you’re struggling to cope with being substance free, the others in the group have also been there and can help you with this when you want to drink. In turn, if someone else is struggling, you’ve been there, so you may be able to help them. Each of you understands what the other is going through, and each of you contributes to a unique support system for one another.

The Mental Process Of Quitting

If you are thinking about quitting drinking altogether, then it’s important to get help before you decide to do it alone. Even if you have the strong desire to do it, quitting drinking by yourself can be difficult. The process of withdrawal can be risky, and for those who try to quit without medical intervention, it can even be dangerous. Talking with your doctor is the first step to start the process and will allow you to start off on a more successful path.

Alcohol Detoxification

The detoxification process is the first part of quitting, and this is the part that you may have heard the most about. It can be difficult, and for some patients in recovery, it even requires medication or inpatient treatment. For approximately one week, you may experience shaking, hallucinations, convulsions, or confusion as you attempt to detox from the alcohol. The physical symptoms can be treated with medication, and this is why it’s best to talk with a doctor before you try it on your own. They can get you the medication and the supervision that you need to get through the withdrawals with a safety net of support and resources.

Seeking An Alcohol Counselor

Starting a process of therapy is the next step and will generally include a behavior modification process as well. Behavior modification, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), allows you to learn new skills and coping mechanisms for certain behaviors and thought patterns that can help you throughout your life. Because consuming alcohol tends to start as a social activity or a mechanism for dealing with problems, it’s important to learn new ways to do each of these things. That way, you will still be able to enjoy yourself and overcome obstacles without relying on drinking.

Medication Treatment

Medication can make it a little easier to get through the process of fully quitting. It can help you to associate negative feelings with alcohol or it may help you reduce the cravings that you could have, even after going through the detoxification process. Getting prescription medication to help you with the process is an option to minimize the side effects of withdrawal and make it easier for you to quit. It’s important, however, not to replace the alcohol dependence with drug dependence, and eventually you will need to learn to resist substance without the medication. Be sure to consult with your doctor or primary care physician before considering any medication options. This article is by no means a substitute for professional medical advice.

Alcoholism

For those with alcohol dependence, the goal is typically to stop drinking entirely. While some people can drink socially and never develop an alcohol use disorder, someone who has had this disorder will likely have it their entire lives. That means you can stop yourself from drinking and break the addiction, but it is likely to remain under the surface. If you ever choose to drink again, it could result in the addiction resurfacing. Becoming addicted again can seem easier in the short-term than quitting, and that’s why some people often experience relapses.

Why You Should Quit Alcohol

With all the difficulty that’s involved in quitting, you may be wondering why you would even want to bother. Other than the potential damage to personal and professional relationships, including loss of friends, family, and even jobs, there are plenty of health reasons to stop drinking. Drinking can cause damage to just about any part of your body, as you’ll read below, and can also lead to potentially life-threatening events such as physical altercations or traffic accidents. Alcohol is also a depressant, or “downer,” meaning that it can make you feel more depressed, particularly if consumed regularly.

Heart disease, different types of cancer, cirrhosis, gastritis, dementia, erectile dysfunction, and other neurological disorders all occur with a higher frequency in those with alcohol use disorder. Mood disorders and psychological disorders like anxiety and depression are also higher in those who have alcohol use disorder. By getting treatment right away, you’ll help yourself to get healthier. The longer you go without drinking, the lower these risks become. That means if you stop drinking, you could lower your risk of developing these health conditions. In any case, it all starts with getting the help you need.

Getting Treatment For Mental Health 

If you’re looking for alcohol counseling, an in-person or online therapist can help immensely. A professional with experience and expertise in alcohol use disorder will help you explore underlying reasons that helped lead to the alcohol dependence. They will also provide you with techniques for how to replace old thinking patterns that enable you to return to the addiction. They will help you develop positive thoughts to replace negative ones; over time and with courage and work, this can result in choosing behavior that benefits you rather than harms you.

A study found that online therapy for alcohol use disorder was just was effective as face-to-face therapy. Rate of attrition was similar to in-person therapy, and participants found this mode of therapy to be satisfactory. Of the participants, 82% would recommend online therapy to friends and family.

How BetterHelp Can Support You With Alcoholism

I'm Unsure If Alcohol Counseling Is Right For Me

BetterHelp is one of the places that you can go to get the help that you need online. It’s a completely online service with therapists. More than that, it offers you access to information about different mental health topics. That means you can get everything you need all in one place. You can also find out more about how to treat alcohol use disorder. When you meet with a licensed professional, you won’t have to leave your home. Instead, you can just log on to the website when your session is about to start and get comfortable, and you do this at a time that’s convenient for you. BetterHelp has many therapists and counselors with expertise in alcohol use disorder who give you the emotional support, understanding, and techniques to help you start living your life alcohol free. Below are some reviews of BetterHelp counselors from people experiencing similar issues.

Alcoholism Counselor and Counseling Reviews

Rebecca is a phenomenal counselor, her background and experience in a few areas like the judicial system and drug and alcohol treatment offers great insight for those who may have loved ones working through those issues. They are highly available, always willing to open up additional appointments if you can’t find a time that works for you, respond quickly through chat. I would highly recommend anyone who is interested in working with cognitive behavioral therapy to reach out and see if they are available for a chat.

Samantha Toney has been a very positive influence in my life since I began counseling with BetterHelp. She helped me navigate my way through the end of my relationship and coping with my partners addiction as well as becoming a single mother. I highly recommend her to anyone going through struggles in life no matter what they may be.

She is awesome and is helping ne work out how to move forward with my issues and the worksheets she has provided are great. She checks in with me if I have not gotten back to her. Which is wonderful. I do not feel judged and feel better and see there are healthy solution to my stress anxiety and substance abuse.

 

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