Addiction Counseling, Substance Abuse Counselors

What is Addiction & Substance Abuse?

What is Addiction and Substance Abuse?

Addiction is a chronic and often misunderstood illness. Many believe addiction and drug and alcohol or substance abuse are a sign of moral weakness, while stopping the addictive behavior is simply a matter of willpower. Scientific studies, however, have proven this is not the case.

When an individual engages in compulsive behavior such as drug or alcohol substance abuse - despite harmful consequences to themselves and those around them - they are likely struggling with a chronic illness called addiction. Addiction is a brain disease that affects a person's inhibitory control over their behavior as well as the brain circuits involved in motivation, reward, memory and learning. Specifically, drug or alcohol substance abuse can lead to significant changes in the structure and function of the brain, making addiction recovery a very complex process subject to frequent relapses.

Even though the initial decision to drink or take drugs may have been voluntary, changes in brain chemistry caused by repeated drug or alcohol substance abuse make stopping the addicted behavior challenging. Addiction treatment often requires a combination of medication and addiction counseling or substance abuse therapy. In addition, many drug addicted individuals also suffer from other mental disorders, such as depression, anxiety, trauma and PTSD, which need to be addressed for a full recovery.

Under the guidance of a professional addiction counselor an effective recovery must address all aspects of a patient's life. Addiction and drug or alcohol substance abuse can be detrimental to all aspects of a person's life. Therefore, addiction counseling and treatment methods must go beyond the addictive behavior and address any co-occurring medical, psychiatric and underlying social problems. Only until the underlying problems are addressed will an individual regain the ability to make sound decisions and employ self-control over the intense impulses to continue to abuse drugs, drink alcohol or resume their addictive behaviors.

With substance abuse therapy specifically, a holistic and continuous treatment program that address both medical and mental health is crucial to a person's success in achieving and maintaining a drug-free lifestyle. In addition, a patient must remain in treatment for an adequate period of time. For many a complete recovery may require long-term or repeated episodes of addiction counseling to achieve their goal.

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Finding an Effective Recovery Program or Addiction Counselor

Do you or a loved one need help with alcohol dependence, drug abuse or other addictions such as gambling, food or sex? Search the therapist directory and find an addiction or substance abuse counselor that is right for you.

Remember, addiction is a complex but treatable disease that affects brain function and behavior. Addiction and substance abuse can be successfully treated - with medication and addiction counseling - leading to a healthy, productive life. When evaluating addiction treatment or substance abuse therapy programs look for the following key principals:

  • Does the addiction counselor address multiple facets of life - mental, physical, psychological and social?
  • Does the addiction treatment program utilize addiction medication, addiction counseling as well as other behavioral therapies?
  • Can the addiction treatment process be custom tailored to meet your specific needs and addiction(s)?
  • Are all aspects of the recovery program and follow-up addiction counseling convenient?
  • Will the addiction or substance abuse counselor evolve as needed to meet your changing needs?

Addiction is a chronic disease, involving cycles of relapse and remission. Without treatment or engagement in recovery counseling, addiction is progressive and can result in disability or even premature death. Search the therapist directory and find an addiction or substance abuse counselor and begin the road to recovery today.

Addictions or Drug Abuse Blogs

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