Sometimes the most intimidating part of going to addiction treatment isn’t the prospect of abstinence. People who’ve been using drugs to self-medicate their depression, anxiety, or past traumas are often reticent to share details about their pain in individual or group therapy sessions. However, addiction treatment is far more than simply detoxing from your substance of choice. In drug rehab, you’ll be using various forms of therapy to find out more about why you started using drugs in the first place. Counseling is also used to help people work through their traumas and pain, and to find new and healthier ways of coping.
Many addicts and their families are under the mistaken impression that addiction is about bad decisions. Addicts are often blamed for being weak-willed or for lacking motivation. In reality, however, addiction is a complex disease affecting the brain and body. It has many possible causes. Identifying and addressing these causes is key for healing. People often start using drugs due to low self-esteem and feelings of low self-worth. Others have unknown and untreated mental health disorders such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, general anxiety disorder, or major depressive disorder among many others. Getting down to the root causes of addiction in therapy and addressing these things head-on is what sets the stage for success. Until the underlying causes of addiction have been identified and properly managed, recovering addicts are always at risk of relapse.
Counseling in Rehab Isn’t What You Expect
If you’ve tried counseling outside of rehab before, you may have very strong ideas about what therapy is and about whether or not you enjoy it. In rehab, however, patients are encouraged to participate in both group and individual counseling sessions in the way that feels most comfortable for them. In group therapy, the goal is to learn how to listen to others and how to share your own experiences in helpful ways. If you feel more comfortable listening, you can spend much of your time in group therapy as a passive participant. However, if you’re truly committed to getting well, these meetings can be incredibly helpful for:
- Coming to better understand yourself
- Learning how to set healthy social boundaries
- Improving your communication skills
- Preparing for real-world stress and triggers
The more that patients participate in the counseling services that are offered; the more that they can benefit from their time in rehab.
This is also true of individual therapy sessions. Counselors in rehab will never push you to share more than you’re comfortable with sharing. Moreover, when there are uncomfortable subjects or experiences that need to be discussed, they’ll let you guide the conversation. As you become increasingly relaxed in the treatment environment, you’ll feel better about leveraging the different recovery tools at your disposal.
Why Rehab and Counseling Go Hand-in-Hand
Once you’ve successfully detoxed, you may think that the hardest part of your battle is already over. In reality, however, there are still many withdrawal symptoms that lie ahead. Initial detox services are offered to mitigate the physical stress and discomfort that comes with the first several days or weeks of abstaining. Counseling in rehab is provided in large part to help people successfully deal with the psychological effects of withdrawal. This is the stage of withdrawal in which the brain is actively adapting to being drug-free. Until your brain chemistry is fully normalized, you may contend with:
- Low motivation
- Suicidal thoughts
All of these things are part of what is known as post-acute withdrawal syndrome or PAWS. PAWS can sometimes last for as long as one to two years. Although the symptoms of this syndrome will gradually lessen as time goes by, counseling can be key for understanding your moods, and for safely negotiating mood swings without relapsing.
Counseling Helps Rehab Professionals Understand Your Needs
The best rehab centers are committed to providing each of their clients with integrated and needs-specific care. Rehab without counseling is essentially just a prolonged period of detox. All recovering addicts need far more than an opportunity to get sober and stay that way for an extended period of time. With counseling, rehab professionals have an opportunity to identify any underlying mental health disorders that you may have been self-treating. They can then form solid, sustainable plans for managing these issues. Thus, if you’ve been using drugs to control overwhelming anxiety or depression, you can learn how to manage these conditions without using substances that cause you harm. Counselors can also identify and mitigate the symptoms of PAWS so that you can sleep better, have plenty of motivation, and avoid feelings of hopelessness.
Going to counseling in rehab might seem intimidating now, but many patients come to enjoy it. Learning how to talk about your feelings and how to accept input and advice can be a very rewarding part of the healing process. Participating in counseling will allow you to get the targeted and customized care you deserve. More importantly, it will also help expedite your journey to wellness. If you’re ready to commit to rehab and want to find one with the right range of services and the right expectations for patients, we can help you find it. Call us today at 844-903-2111.