When is it Best to Choose an Addiction Counselor Over Rehab?

When is it Best to Choose an Addiction Counselor Over Rehab?


An addiction counselor can help a struggling addict to make progress in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction.  But even more so, a drug addiction counselor can help an established recovering addict to further enhance their recovery.  There is a big difference between these two so let’s take a look.

Counseling is not the ideal treatment for someone who is still struggling with drug addiction.  Now don’t get me wrong, it actually can help, and in some cases it certainly does.  For example, maybe a drug addict who is still using talks with a counselor each week, and eventually the counselor convinces the addict to take action and get more help for their problem.  But in this case, the counseling is not really the driver of change.  Ultimately, the addict must go get more help (drug rehab) in order to really fix their problem.

If someone is still physically hooked on drugs, and they can’t break out of the cycle by themselves, then counseling is probably not the best choice for them.  Better would be a trip to inpatient rehab, where they can establish a baseline of recovery and at least get a clear head after a few weeks clean in treatment.  This is a better solution for them because it is more direct in helping them get off the drugs.

So when is counseling for addiction a better choice?  When a person is leaving rehab, that might be the best time for them to connect with a counselor. Then they can be helped with the monumental task of getting through early recovery from addiction.  This is the crucial stage of early recovery that requires so much action on the part of the addict, that counseling may be just the thing that can help to motivate them.  If the addict does not do much at this point then they will relapse.  If they take a lot of action on the other hand and start establishing many new, positive, healthy habits, then they will do well in recovery.  This is the point at which the guidance from a counselor can be extremely valuable.

Likewise, a person who is already living in long term recovery and has established sobriety might benefit greatly from counseling as well. The biggest risk in long term recovery is becoming complacent, and being involved with counseling can help push someone to keep growing and experiencing new things so that they do not fall victim to this complacency.  Thus, counseling can be a key for long term recovery as well.