Substance Abuse Counselor Los Angeles
Substance Abuse and Dependence Therapy
Substance dependence or abuse can be one of the most difficult mental health issues to cope treat. There are a variety of opinions, methods and modalities when it comes to helping someone struggling with illicit drug use. One thing is for certain – trying to conquer addiction without the help of a professional is often a recipe for disaster. With the appropriate therapeutic techniques and approaches however, there is definite hope for recovery.
The Impacts of Drug Abuse
While everyone has a different opinion on what constitutes unhealthy drug or alcohol abuse, there are some common indicators that point to a need for intervention and treatment. Generally, any illegal use of a substance, whether it be prescription narcotics or illicit street drugs is seen to be a cause for concern. Abuse can also be typified by the consequences that an individual faces as a result of their drug or alcohol consumption, even if it is legal. Often, clients find themselves struggling to get out from under a habit that stemmed from consumption that was initially legal. Sometimes a surgical procedure will lead to being prescribed narcotic painkillers, which can inadvertently lead to addiction. Alcohol can also pose a huge problem, even though it is legal. Some of the possible impacts of drug abuse can include:
● Strained or Broken Relationships
● Financial Difficulties
● Academic Problems / Truancy
● Problems in the Workplace or Inability to Sustain Employment
● Physical / Psychological Dependence
● Declining Physical Health
While this is a short list, many of these problems can have an enormous impact on the lives of individuals who are suffering from drug abuse.
Finding a Solution for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse
As difficult as life can be when drugs and alcohol are a part of the picture, there are solutions! It is important to work with a therapist who is experienced in working with addiction. Substance abuse is a multi-faceted problem, and has to be addressed uniquely. Developing new coping skills is crucial in order to help a client find new and healthier ways to navigate daily living. An effective therapist will work with clients on setting goals, developing strategies, and getting involved in a healthy community so that they can overcome dependence.
Methods for Working With Substance Disorders
There are a number of effective approaches when it comes to incorporating a therapeutic component to struggles with substance dependence.
CBT is one of the most widely used and validated methods for treating a variety of mental health issues. It has proven to be especially helpful in reframing self-destructive behaviors that can contribute to relapse. It helps clients to learn and practice new behaviors and strategies in place of maladaptive behaviors that can worsen existing issues. There have even been studies showing that CBT is as effective as medications in treating mild to moderate depression and anxiety. CBT in the context of substance abuse helps clients to identify critical behaviors, figure out whether those critical behaviors are excesses or deficits, gauge the frequency, duration and intensity of those behaviors and then respond and moderate appropriately.
Motivation interviewing places the therapist in the position of facilitating the change process of a client. This process treats therapy as a democratic partnership and is focused on empowering the client to go through the process of actualizing change in their life. The empathic nature of the therapist is important and a collaborative partnership is formed with the individual undergoing therapy. There is generally a level of ambivalence present when working with an individual struggling with drug misuse or alcohol consumption, and this technique accepts and allows for that while moving through the stages of change.
One of the most popular methods is also the introduction of a 12 step program into client’s lives. Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and a variety of other 12 step fellowships can be extremely helpful for clients as they explore and create new and healthier relationships and find themselves enmeshed in a positive community. Many individuals find that through participating in 12 step programs they are able to overcome their drug and alcohol dependence and move towards a healthier future.
Drug Addiction Therapy
Considering the enormous increase in opioid-related deaths that has taken place recently, dealing with drug addiction is as important as ever. Addiction can take hold of the entire family when just one member is afflicted. Bringing counseling into the mix is a powerful way to not only allow the person dealing with the substance abuse to heal, but the whole family as well.
A Safe Therapeutic Environment
In order to facilitate healing of the whole family unit, a safe therapeutic environment has to exist. This means that any work done is met without judgment, and the client is treated as a human being. Helping the family members of an addicted loved one learn how to respond and react appropriately and meet the addiction with love and boundaries is an important part of the process. Client confidentiality is always kept, but family involvement in the process is highly encouraged.
Counseling Approaches for Addiction
The psychotherapeutic techniques applied in counseling are designed to not only help clients overcome their substance abuse issues, but to improve their quality of life overall. Helping a client to become motivated by setting effective and realistic goals is one of the important aspects of this approach. Providing support and guidance whenever there are bumps in the road is another part of a useful therapist-client relationship. While it is normal for clients to sometimes become defensive and reluctant when it comes to looking at their drug and alcohol abuse, they are met with acceptance and helpful guidance on overcoming these mental barriers.
Working to Overcome Drugs and Alcohol
Any effective therapeutic protocol for working with drug and alcohol dependence takes the participation of both the client and the therapist or counselor. Working together and striving towards a healthier and more manageable outcome is a huge piece of the puzzle! When this approach is taken, huge strides and progress can be made.