Has your relationship with substances become an issue you can no longer ignore? Do you worry that you may be relying on drugs or alcohol too heavily as a way to cope? Have those close to you expressed their concern which has you thinking it may be time to take action?
Perhaps your use of alcohol or opioids has increased over time. What began as an occasional drink after work with friends may have become a nightly habit. Perhaps you turn to substances to calm your social anxiety or to manage other stressors in your life, such as work or relationships. Or maybe substance use is a way to self-medicate your underlying anxiety or depression.
Somewhere along the line, you may have realized that it’s become harder to stop than you thought it would be. Perhaps you resolve to cut back or stop substance use altogether, only to slip after the first day or two. You may be dealing with physical effects—such as headaches, upset stomach, and lack of focus—but due to the addictive nature of substances, these symptoms don’t stop you from using.
If your use—or abuse—of substances has gotten out of hand, your close relationships are likely under strain. Concerned for your well-being, your loved ones may have confronted you about your substance use, pleading with you to cut back or, better yet, stop using altogether.
It’s okay to admit that you may have a problem. You might not be ready to consider rehab but can admit that substance abuse counseling could help you moderate your drug and/or alcohol use. Or, if you have already undergone a period of sobriety, you may need help getting back on track after a slip-up. Fortunately, Whole Health Psychological Center has therapists who specialize in addiction treatment.
Substance abuse is a prevalent issue in today’s society. A recent survey published by the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics’ reflects that “21 percent of people have used illegal drugs or misused prescription drugs within the last year and 20 percent have an alcohol use disorder.” Although anyone can develop an addiction, we are at higher risk if substance use disorder, dysfunctional family dynamics, or mental health disorders run in our family.
Given the current cultural climate we’re living in, it’s no wonder that substance abuse remains an issue that so many struggle with. After all, using alcohol or opioids in the form of prescription medication may have become our way of dealing with stress. And everywhere we turn, we’re faced with grim headlines, hectic lifestyles to make ends meet, and we are stretched to our breaking point.
Once we start, some of us struggle to manage our drug and alcohol use. But rather than viewing it as a sign of personal weakness or lack of values, we must acknowledge the physiological component of substance use disorder. In addition to fulfilling emotional needs, using drugs and alcohol can easily become habit-forming and addictive. Without professional intervention, we may not be equipped to quit by ourselves.
Luckily, there is support. Whether you just want to cut back or you are at the point where you are ready to make lasting changes and abstain from use, counseling for substance abuse can help you meet your goals.
It takes courage to admit that you may have a problem with alcohol or other substances. We are happy that you’re considering making changes that could lead to healthier life choices. When you decide to seek therapy for substance abuse, you will work with a nonjudgmental counselor with no agenda other than to listen intently and support whatever decisions you make.
Therapy provides you with a safe place to explore the factors that lead to substance use as well as what has sustained your use over time. We will also support you in developing the skills needed to manage your use, whether your goal is moderation or abstinence.
Your counselor will meet you where you are, whether it’s your first experience with substance abuse counseling or you are transitioning out of an intensive treatment program. And, if at any point you determine you may need a higher level of care, we will support you in that decision.
After we understand your history and what lead you here, we will delve more deeply into the underlying issues that contribute to your substance use. For example, exploring your family dynamics, patterns of behavior, or, perhaps, a history of trauma may shed light on why you turn to substances or, perhaps, use them to self-medicate.
From there, we will help you create an action plan to reduce or eliminate substance use, including coping strategies—such as relaxation exercises or techniques to address cravings or triggers—and identify people who can support you in sobriety. A support system is one of the most important components to address substance use disorder.
We have therapists who work from a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) lens and others who work more dynamically with clients, integrating family systems theory, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR), psychodynamic theory, and some who utilize a motivational interviewing technique to help you address the ambivalence about quitting that you may be feeling.
With CBT, we will examine the thoughts, emotions, beliefs, and behaviors you have related to substance use. You will be encouraged to challenge the distorted or false beliefs underlying the reasons why you turn to substances. By bringing awareness to flawed thinking patterns, you will become more aware of the patterns that keep you stuck in substance use behaviors and learn to replace them with healthier coping mechanisms.
When you live with addiction, it is common to struggle with decision-making and feel uncertain about whether to stop using. Recognizing this, motivational interviewing will help you realize that your own motivations and values can help you overcome whatever conflicting emotions you may have about quitting. With empathy and validation, your therapist will help you assess your readiness to make positive changes in your life.
Taking the first step in seeking counseling for substance abuse can be hard. But we are here to support you on your journey, wherever it may take you. Helping you change your relationship with substances can bring a level of contentment, happiness, and fulfillment into your life you may not have realized was possible.
What you decide to work on will always be up to you. Your therapist will follow your lead in addressing your substance use or abuse. If, for example, moderation is your goal when you begin therapy rather than abstinence, then that will be our goal, too. And if your goals change once addiction counseling is underway, we can adjust as we go. For now, let’s take it one moment at a time.
You might believe that if you quit drinking, you will no longer be sociable or that it will be awkward being around others who are drinking when you are not. And although it may seem like everyone drinks, that actually isn’t true. By teaching you tangible coping strategies and ensuring you have a good support system in place, we can help you discover other ways to socialize as well as become comfortable with not drinking when others are.
While Whole Health doesn’t prescribe medication, we can offer you referrals to qualified physicians who can. Additionally, we can help you coordinate inpatient rehab care if it’s something we mutually determine may be a helpful addition to substance abuse counseling, helping make this transition seamless. Whether you decide upon a psychiatrist or residential treatment, we will coordinate our therapy with any other provider involved in your substance use care.
We’re here to support you in whatever decision you’re ready to make. If you would like to find out more about counseling for alcohol or substance use disorder please visit our page or call (561) 721-6400 to schedule a consultation.