Best Online Counseling for Drug Addiction
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Counseling is one of the most useful resources to help a patient get to the root of an issue and work from there to assess the problem. In the case of drug addiction, a counselor can develop an effective treatment plan that can help the patient to identify negative patterns and treat them with improved coping skills.
What is Drug Counseling?
A substance abuse counselor or drug counselor is a mental health professional that helps patients who are struggling with addiction. In some cases, getting physical treatment for addiction symptoms is not enough; many patients have underlying mental or emotional conditions that are not allowing them to recover properly from their addiction.
Patients who don’t get proper substance abuse treatment may be likely to relapse, even if their body is entirely free of any harmful substance. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, getting behavioral therapy can help the patient handle most triggers that may cause a relapse in the future. Counseling also helps the patient be more compliant with an existing treatment.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is mostly seen as a complement to treatments with medications. However, there are certain addictions, such as mild stimulants, that do not have a specific medical treatment available for the patient. In those cases, the best way to go is through drug counseling, which can help the patient address any underlying issues.
Who Is It For?
Drug Addiction counseling is ideal for any person that is currently going through an addiction recovery treatment. It’s also effective for people who are now going through addiction, and they want to get help to stop.
There are many types of addictions, so every kind of counseling can be different. The most common types of addiction are street or prescription drugs, alcohol, and tobacco; most of them can be treated via medications. However, body detox is not always enough for the patient.
Some substance use disorders are born because stressful or traumatic situations in life that make the patient reach to these drugs in order to go through a specific situation. If those triggers are not treated adequately with a counselor, the patient can reach out to those drugs in the future to handle any anxiety-inducing situation.
Counseling helps the patient identify some safe ways to handle stressful situations rather than using harmful substances.
When Is the Right Time to Start with Drug Addiction Online Counseling?
There’s not a general answer to this question, because not every patient has the same case of addiction. Some people may acknowledge that they need help right away, while some others may not even know that they’re harming themselves with their addiction.
However, there are some general guidelines that can tell the patient when it may be the right time to seek a drug counseling session.
- The patient acknowledges that they have a problem.
- The patient needs to heal damaged relationships.
- The patient doesn’t know the root cause of their addiction.
- The patient is already going through a recovery process, and they need counseling to avoid relapses.
- The patient needs help staying on track with their treatment programs.
The benefits of having drug abuse counseling are huge. In general, getting addiction counseling can help the patient handle stressful situations better since the therapist works with them to identify specific patterns of behavior that may lead to a relapse or past addictive behaviors. These are the most common signs of improvement after seeking counseling:
- Relapse Prevention: This is one of the essential aspects of good cognitive-behavioral therapy. After the patient is fully recovered, they are able to learn the warning signs of a relapse and how to cope with strong emotions that may lead to that.
- Change of Behavior: Being addicted to something can make the patient feel powerless, which lowers their self-esteem. After getting cognitive behavioral therapy, the patient can identify those behaviors and change them for more positive and healthy thoughts.
- Motivation: One of the hardest steps for an addiction recovery patient is to start, even more, if the person doesn’t acknowledge that they have a problem. Going through counseling can help the person identify their problem and find the motivation to quit those harmful substances.
- Rebuild Relationships: Having an addiction can damage some close relationships between the person and other people. There are some types of counseling, such as family therapy, which help a lot to improve the effectiveness of the treatment plan.
Online vs. In-Person
There are many ways to reach out to a counselor nowadays. With the increased demand for mental health counselors around the world, online counseling for addiction was created.
In a sense, online counseling works the same way as in-person therapy, with the difference that online therapy lacks the physical interaction between the counselor and the patient, which is an essential thing for some people.
While online therapy doesn’t involve physical interactions, it offers a new way to provide counseling, since you can have your sessions on your computer, tablet, or phone. Some people don’t feel comfortable going to a therapist’s office, so online counseling may more suitable for them.
Another difference about the two types of counseling is availability; an online therapist is likely to have a broader schedule since the sessions can be held anywhere, while scheduling an in-person session may take more time, depending on the availability of the two parties to meet.
However, this doesn’t mean that one type of counseling is better than the other; it’s a matter of choosing the option that best fits the person’s needs.
How Does It Work?
In general, at the start of the counseling, the mental health professional talks to their patient about their addiction, and some factors that may be related to that. The main goal is to get as much information as possible so the therapist can make an effective treatment plan that suits the person.
There are six different approaches to therapy, and their effectiveness depends on the patient:
- Motivational Enhancement Therapy: This type of counseling works for people who are struggling to find the motivation to seek professional help for their addiction.
- Contingency Management: This behavioral therapy tries to offer rewards to the patient as a positive reinforcement for staying clean or following a treatment plan.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: This is one of the most common types of therapy. Here, the counselor helps the patient identify negative patterns of their addiction and give them the tools to handle situations that may induce relapses.
- Family Therapy: In family therapy, close family members go to counseling sessions with the patient to help them be more receptive to the treatment.
- Group Therapy: This involves one or two therapists that work with many people in a single session. This type of therapy helps the patient improve social interaction with the help of people who have gone through similar processes.
- 12-Step Facilitation Program (TSF): This type of therapy is for people who are preparing to enroll in 12-step programs that help with addictive behavior. Here, the patient follows a 12-step program that is similar to other support groups for substance abuse patients.
How to Choose the Best Online Counselor for Drug Addiction?
The best way to choose an online counselor is through reviews on the internet. Many platforms provide a ‘Review’ page for people who are interested in getting online counseling. Most of these pages provide the therapist’s credentials, experience, and some user reviews from past patients.
Another thing to keep in mind while choosing a place to get health care online is to check the channels available for therapy. While the most common platforms for online therapy are text messages, audio calls, and video calls, not every person offers that kind of service. The person needs to research if their selected therapist offers the type of counseling that they’re looking for.
Most therapists online are trained to give general drug counseling. However, some therapists have special treatment in some areas (i.e. a specific drug and alcohol addiction). In those cases, looking for a counselor that knows how to deal with that particular kind of addiction is the best way to go.
Last but not least, an essential thing to keep in mind while choosing a counselor is that the person feels comfortable with them. It may be hard for the patient to open up about their feelings to someone they don’t trust.
Look for Reviews
While online counseling can be an excellent choice, finding a good therapist can be complicated at first. Fortunately, most certified therapists work in popular platforms on the internet that provide a separate page for reviews. In those sites, you can read more information about that specific therapist, as well as specific reviews from other people.
These reviews usually mention essential information such as response times, the effectiveness of treatment plans, platforms available for treatment, and other additional comments regarding the counseling itself. If you’re unsure of which addiction counselor is the right fit for you, reading reviews carefully can help you make a final decision.
Substance abuse counselors play a vital part in the recovery of an addicted person. It can help them understand the adverse effects of their addiction, and how they can cope with those negative emotions, changing them with positive remarks. This type of therapy works differently for every patient. Still, it’s an excellent complement for addiction patients who need that extra step of motivation to go through the entire addiction treatment.