Drug addiction counseling is an integral part of any substance abuse treatment program. It is a form of therapy designed to help a drug or alcohol addict recover from his disease, and adapt to a new life of sobriety. Counseling can be done in a rehabilitation center or as part of an ongoing outpatient program. Counselors usually have a broad knowledge of the perils addicts face when recovering from a substance abuse problem. This specialized branch of psychology uses a multi-disciplinary approach.
Sometimes drug addiction counseling is done in a group setting, especially in rehabilitation programs. Other times, it is done privately, during one-on-one sessions between the patient and a counselor. It usually starts at the beginning of a comprehensive treatment plan, and can continue for several years into the recovery phase of addiction. The counselor's role is to engage the patient, help keep him motivated toward the goal of recovery, and assist the addict through the many steps to sobriety.
During the early phases of recovery, drug addiction counseling generally helps the patient considerably. Drug and alcohol withdrawal can be both mentally and physically painful. While the patient is undergoing detoxification, the counselor can encourage and assure him that the pain he is experiencing will not last forever. This is only one situation where drug counselors can offer many valuable coping strategies.
Addiction counselors typically work closely with the patient to determine the underlying cause of the problem, in the hopes of preventing future recurrence. Encouraging a patient to talk about painful events in his life is very common during drug addiction counseling. This process can help the patient understand his actions and to learn more positive ways to deal with emotional issues that may have led to unhealthy behavior patterns.
The counselor monitors, encourages, and works with the patient to prevent relapse and self-destructing actions. It is common for the family of an addict to participate in drug addiction counseling for the benefit of their loved one in recovery. Therapy sessions may include goal-setting and positive lifestyle changes. Counselors will often assist patients in finding employment, housing, and to locate self-help groups as part of an ongoing treatment plan.
The disease of addiction can affect people from all walks of life, not just those from the poor or underprivileged socioeconomic classes. Wealthy, middle-aged executives, housewives, and even doctors are not immune to it. In fact, there are many drug addiction counseling centers that are designed for children and teenagers who can also fall victim to the disease.