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What Is Substance Abuse Counseling?

Substance abuse is a serious problem. While any mental health problem can be life-threatening and can seriously affect the people around the sufferer, substance abuse has a particular reputation for ruining lives and families. If you or someone you know has a substance abuse problem, you must get help before lives are destroyed. You simply cannot afford to wait.

Substance abuse counseling is counseling with a professional trained in dealing with people who are suffering from an addiction to a dangerous substance, usually some form of drugs or alcohol. These counselors may be social workers, psychologists, or some other professional trained in dealing with sufferers of substance abuse.

Who Can Benefit from Substance Abuse Counseling?

Anyone who is suffering from an addiction can and should avail themselves of substance abuse counseling. Furthermore, friends and relatives of those suffering from substance abuse should also consider seeking counseling. Having a loved one suffer in the grip of a substance abuse addiction can be extremely difficult and stressful, and it is important to get the proper support for yourself so that you can offer the necessary support to the one you care about.

How Does Substance Abuse Counseling Work?

The forms that substance abuse counseling can take can vary widely. Many people choose to approach substance abuse counseling through some form of 12-step plan like Alcoholics Anonymous, where the individual admits powerlessness over the addiction and works through twelve steps to recovery with the help of a sponsor. While the popularity of these programs may lend them some credence, there is only anecdotal evidence as to their effectiveness. Someone may also find themselves in a rehab facility where they are kept under observation and without access to their substance of choice for one to several months. This form of substance abuse counseling can be very helpful for those who find it difficult to stay away from their substance of choice through mere force of will. A problem with this type of counseling is that once the person returns to the unhealthy environment, they may relapse.

Someone suffering from substance abuse may also choose some form of outpatient counseling, be it individual or group counseling. These individuals may not have yet accepted they have a problem, or they may have accepted it but for some reason are not able or willing to pursue inpatient treatment. This may be because they are unwilling to relinquish that much control over their lives or because they are not ready for friends or family to know the extent of their addiction, among other reasons. It is also possible that the individual may still be in a situation where he or she feels that he or she can overcome the problem through the force of his or her own will. With the aid of a competent substance abuse counselor, this may indeed be the case.