Determining if Substance Abuse Counseling is the Right Treatment Strategy

Determining if Substance Abuse Counseling is the Right Treatment Strategy


There are many different strategies and therapies that can be used to treat drug addiction and alcoholism.  For example, consider some of the following options:

1) Inpatient drug rehab for 28 days.

2) Outpatient rehab, consisting of daily groups and lectures.

3) Twelve step meetings, of either AA or NA meetings.

4)  Substance abuse counseling, consisting of one on one therapy with a counselor or therapist.

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5) Drug therapy, consisting of taking a replacement drug over the long term in order to avoid street drugs.

6) Long term rehab, which is basically living in a structured rehab for several weeks or months.

And there are also a few variations on some of these that combine various therapies together.  So essentially, substance abuse therapy is just one of many possible treatment options that an addict or an alcoholic might use to try and stay clean and sober.  The question is: how effective is drug addiction counseling compared with other treatment methods?

In my opinion, it depends on several different factors.  These factors include:

1) Whether or not the addict is still using drugs or not. If they are still using drugs and alcohol, then having them go to counseling is pretty much useless, in my opinion.  The therapy is not going to help at all until they can get clean and sober long enough to make better decisions.  Counseling is not a high impact, action fueled strategy.  A better alternative at this stage would be inpatient rehab.

2) How receptive the person is to coaching and outside suggestions. A substance abuse counselor is not necessarily a “coach,” but their function basically involves coaching a person towards a better life.  They are trying to help influence the addict to make better decisions and to make personal growth.  The question is: How receptive is the individual to these suggestions?  If they tend to ignore others attempts to help them, then therapy will not be as effective, and they should seek a different form of substance abuse therapy.

3) How long the person has been clean and sober and how inspired they are to make personal growth a part of their recovery. Addicts who are motivated to make real growth in recovery are going to do much better than someone who is just going through the motions in order to stay clean.  For example, someone will tend to do well in counseling if they are motivated to:

* Help others in recovery.

* Seek holistic growth in many different areas of their life (physical, spiritual, emotional, etc.).

* Improve their life on an incremental basis by exploring new options and learning new things.

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