Is Alcohol Counseling Really For Me?
Updated May 12, 2021
Medically Reviewed By: Tanya Harell
Whether or not you feel that you have an issue with alcohol, talking to a therapist can be beneficial. A therapist can help you understand your relationship with alcohol and how to make it a healthy one. On top of that, therapy can be beneficial for all aspects of your life, and address any anxiety, depression, or relationship concerns.
Alcohol counseling can seem final and make you sound like you're an alcoholic, which means you can't stop drinking. For some people, however, it's the only way that they can stop. That's because alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a disease that affects your life, along with the people around you.
What Is Alcohol Counseling?
Alcohol counseling is a type of mental health therapy that assists someone with an alcohol use disorder or alcohol dependencies. The counselor will work with you to understand your dependency on alcohol or for some, how it became an addiction. They will teach you techniques for you to implement so that you can work toward living an alcohol-free life.
Am I An Alcoholic?
Deciding if you have alcohol use disorder and if you need alcohol counseling can be difficult for most people. If you have little control over how you use alcohol or if you require alcohol to cope with a normal day, a week or anything else, then you might have an alcohol addiction.If consuming alcohol has cost you relationships with your friends and family, then you’ll want to factor this into your decision as well.
Drinking can be a neutral occurrence, but if you struggle to control yourself when you drink or you feel like you can't stop yourself from drinking, then maybe it’s time to consider counseling. We'll take a look at the different types of treatment for alcohol use disorder and what you'll need to do to you get started on the process.
Types Of Alcohol Counseling
You can attend individual sessions to get started on alcohol counseling. These sessions take place with only you and the therapist you choose. You'll discuss what alcohol has done to your life, and you'll work out a plan to help you through quitting and getting your life back. You'll have to be open and honest with your therapist. This can be a difficult process but well worth it to regain an 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.
Group therapy is another method of counseling for alcoholism. 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 have the same disorder as you will help you overcome yours. The idea is that if you're struggling to cope being alcohol free, someone else in the group has been there and can help you with this. In turn, if someone else is struggling, you've been there, so you can help them. Each of you understands what the other is going through and each of you creates a support system for each other.
The Process Of Quitting
If you are thinking about quitting, 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 yourselfcan 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 best way to start the process and will allow you to start off on a more successful path. After all, if quitting is too hard it could prompt you to return to drinking.
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, 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.
Starting a process of therapy is the next step and will generally include a behavior modification process as well. Behavior modification allows you to learn new skills and coping mechanisms 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 returning to drinking.
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 can help you reduce the cravings that you might have, even after you've gone 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 not to replace the alcohol dependence with drug dependence, however, and eventually, you will need to learn to resist alcohol without the medication. Please consult with your doctor or primary care physician before considering any medication options.
The goal is to stop drinking. 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's always there, under the surface. If you ever choose to drink again, it could result in that addiction resurfacing. Becoming addicted again is easier than quitting, and that's why people experience relapses.
Why You Should Quit
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 fighting or car accidents. Alcohol is also a depressant, a“downer,” which means that it can make you feel more depressed.
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 addiction. 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 be helping yourself get healthier. The longer you go without drinking, the lower that increased risk gets. That means if you stop drinking, you could lower your risk of developing these health conditions, but it all starts with getting the help you need.
If you're looking for alcohol counseling, an in-person or online therapist can help. A professional with experience and expertise in alcohol use disorder will help you explore underlying reasons that led to your addiction. They will also provide you with techniques for how to replace old thinking patterns that keep you stuck in addiction. They will help you develop positive thoughts to replace negative ones. This will result in choosing behavior that benefits you, not your addiction.
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
BetterHelp is one of the places that you can go to get the help you need online. It's a completely online service with therapists. More than that, it offers you access to plenty of 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.
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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