Substance Abuse Counseling

Teen substance abuse counseling can help a teenager stop abusing any addictive substance. As teens take steps to recover from addiction, whether in a drug rehab or with the help of others, substance abuse counseling can assist in their recovery process.

One of the most difficult things that someone can attempt to do is to quit an addiction “cold turkey.” While some people can manage it, most people need some sort of support and guidance as they work to stop abusing a substance. Addiction is so difficult because it creates changes in the body and mind. Indeed, significant changes in brain function can result because of substance abuse. On top of this, in most cases of addiction, the body becomes so accustomed to having the substance that it is unable to function properly without the drug. This means that cravings can result, as well as withdrawal symptoms including a number of uncomfortable - and even painful - physical ailments. Mental and emotional problems can also arise when someone deprives the body of a substance it is used to.

Another issue is backsliding. Relapses into substance abuse can occur years after quitting. While there is no way to completely protect against a relapse into drug use, in many cases those who quit cold turkey, without the benefit of learning coping mechanisms, can be more prone to substance abuse in the future. Indeed, addiction never really goes away. Some sort of desire for the substance will always be there, and temptation will arise. Many find, though, that substance abuse counseling can help reduce the chances of backsliding, since many counselors teach techniques that help addicts focus their attention elsewhere until the craving subsides.

Substance abuse counseling

The whole point of substance abuse counseling is to provide an addict with guidance in techniques to overcome addiction, as well as strategies to replace undesirable drug using behaviors with more positive behaviors. It is also important to note that substance abuse does not always mean just illegal drugs. It is possible to become so thoroughly dependent on alcohol, tobacco and prescription drugs that a personality is altered through addiction. Substance abuse counseling can help with these types of addictions as well as problems with illegal drugs.

Substance counseling can be done in groups, or one-on-one. In many cases, the addict is encouraged to participate in both types of counseling. It can help to go through support group and group therapy sessions, in addition to working on an individual basis with a counselor. In some cases, it can also help to have family members accompany an addict to counseling, and learn techniques for support and help.

In many cases, substance abuse counseling consists of helpful cognitive behavior therapy techniques designed to help an addict overcome cravings. Counselors can recommend different strategies, including:

  • Increased exercise
  • New hobbies
  • Skills development
  • Social activities with friends and family who do not abuse substances
  • Relaxation and meditation exercises to help take one’s mind off the cravings

The idea is encourage new behaviors that can replace the behaviors associated with substance abuse with newer, more positive behaviors. Counselors often act as guides who can help develop these new habits, as well as supporters who can listen to - and validate - concerns that drug users have. Sometimes it can help to have someone to talk to when overcoming substance abuse, and a counselor can provide that. Group therapy can also be helpful, as counselors facilitate conversations about substance abuse that others can relate to. The fact that someone isn’t alone, and the fact that he or she can associate with people who understand, can be a big help in overcoming addiction.

Substance abuse counselors might also recommend help from legal drugs designed to help reduce dependence on substances. In some cases, anti-depressants are used to aid in combating feelings of depression that can come as one tries to overcome addiction. However, pharmacological means of overcoming addiction are usually not effective long-term when used alone. This is why many substance abuse counseling programs make sure to include behavioral and cognitive methods to support pharmacological methods. This way, when the addict is stepped down from off the medication, there is a strong foundation for good habits and behaviors to continue.

Even though it is possible to stop abusing substances without help, most people benefit from the help of substance abuse counseling to help guide them though this tough time.

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