Breaking the Addiction

When you think of a drug rehabilitation center, you may think of a facility where individuals go to overcome a drug or alcohol addiction. While that is correct, detoxing from an alcohol or drug and the ensuing withdrawal is just the first step in a substance abuse treatment program. But, a vital element of the process is counseling. An effective and comprehensive drug rehabilitation program encompasses individual and/or group counseling along with the medical treatment of addiction. While getting an individual to break their addiction is one thing, ensuring that they continue their sobriety in the future and avoid relapsing is quite another. At Metro Rehab, we strive to do this through effective, ongoing alcohol and drug counseling.

The Relationship Between Mental Health And Substance Abuse

The relationship between mental illness and substance abuse is so strong that it is suggested that mental illness plays a significant role in the development of a substance abuse disorder. One study suggests that nearly a quarter of those who suffer from a serious mental illness — generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, bipolar disorder, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), psychotic illness, borderline personality disorder, and antisocial personality disorder — also use an addictive substance. Additionally, 84 percent of the nation’s cocaine is consumed by persons who suffer from a mental illness. It is unclear as to whether the link between substance abuse and mental illness indicates that there is a genetic predisposition to developing addictive behaviors or if the substance abuse is an attempt at self-medication to treat the mental health symptoms.

For a person who has no previous history of mental health disorders, substance abuse can trigger mental illness. For instance, the mind-altering effects of some drugs including paranoia, delusions, or alternating highs and lows can have long-term effects on the brain, essentially creating mental health symptoms — namely anxiety and depression. Other ways that substance abuse can trigger mental health disorders are, for example, while under the influence, the chances of being a victim of assault or rape dramatically increase, which can create serious mental health issues such as PTSD or depression. This can create a vicious circle — abusing a substance triggers a mental health condition that the sufferer uses drugs to treat. This makes addiction recovery even more difficult.

Either way, a successful drug rehabilitation program will be unsuccessful if both issues — mental health and substance abuse — are not addressed and treated. Treating the underlying mental health condition is a vital part of an effective substance abuse program. At Metro Rehab, we include mental health counseling as part of our comprehensive addiction recovery program.

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Counseling To Support Healthy Coping

For many substance abusers, finding their place back in society after becoming clean can be difficult. Becoming functioning members of society is a challenge after overcoming substance abuse, but it is one that is worth it. However, without the support of individual and group counseling, making the transition back into a family, workplace, or community can be daunting and lead to relapse. Here at Metro Rehab, our team uses behavior therapy and counseling as a tool to encourage the growth and continual development of recovering drug and/or alcohol addicts. For many recovering substance abusers, behavioral therapy is the path that leads them from the withdrawal process to living a sober, healthy lifestyle.

Effective mental health counseling helps patients become more aware of why they do the things they do and triggers that may cause them to relapse. Understanding these things gives a former abuser the tools to be successful at coping and living a healthy life without addictive substances. The techniques involved in alcohol and drug counseling are comprehensive. A counselor will be able to create customized coping methods for individuals working toward overcoming addiction. They will also work toward increasing self-control, and understanding the mental, emotional, behavioral, and environmental factors that can contribute to drug cravings. Learning how to identify triggering situations and environments is a tool that will help recovering addicts for the rest of their lives.

Effective Counseling Drug Counseling Techniques

No two drug abusers are the same. Although they may share similar experiences, motivations, fears, and barriers to overcoming addiction, it is important to tailor counseling services to the individual addict. To help, there are several types of drug counseling to help support each individual.

One-on-One Counseling

Whether or not an individual has an underlying mental health disorder, the trauma of overcoming addiction is enough to require counseling. Individual counseling is important for helping a recovering addict to identify the reasons they sought drugs in the first place, to handle the guilt that may come from realizing the effects of their drug or alcohol problem, and help realize their own strengths that will be useful in overcoming addiction. Drug counselors have additional training in addiction and recovery in addition to mental health counseling and are able to tailor therapy and goals around the individual and their addiction. One-on-one counseling is beneficial to those who have difficulty moving forward after detoxing — difficulty finding happiness, pleasure, comfort, concentration — or engage in self-harm behaviors or suffer from post-addiction aggression issues.

Group Therapy

Group therapy is the counseling conducted to a group of recovering addicts. Typically, the only relationship the group members share is that they are going through addiction recovery at the same time. Group members can be in various stages of recovery and it is generally offered during the acute inpatient rehab phase as well as part of ongoing long-term support groups. These peer groups are designed to provide education and support to multiple participants at one time. Group therapy is beneficial to most recovering addicts for a variety of reasons.

• Provide support and motivation from peers
• Reminder that the participant is not alone in the process
• Empower group members through peer feedback
• Teach healthy coping skills
• Learn from the struggles of others
• Develop relationships and a support network
• Quicker access to a therapist
• Educate group members about the recovery process and life skills
• Provide accountability to each group member as part of a community

Family Therapy

Family therapy is an important part of addiction recovery for the recovering addict and their loved ones. Addiction affects every person who loves the person suffering from addiction. And, oftentimes, family problems can be the root of substance abuse. Family counseling is great to provide a mediator and facilitate healthy communication, as well as provide education to all parties about addiction and what to expect from the recovery process. Effective family counseling can help strengthen and rebuild relationships and help families move past addiction, together. Ongoing family therapy can help repair interpersonal issues that may have existed prior to addiction or help resolve the strains that are a result of the addiction. Long-term counseling can help keep conversations headed in the right direction and help create stronger bonds than ever!

Take the time to contact us to learn more about our alcohol and drug counseling options at Metro Rehab. We are more than happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have. Call us today!

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Key Components of Drug Addiction Counseling

Effective drug counseling focuses on the total person and not just the addiction. Overcoming addiction requires identifying issues that led to addiction, overcoming issues with addiction, and identifying healthy recovery and a life beyond addiction. Effective drug counseling programs will include some of the basic key components.


Discovering the motivation for drug use and abuse is a critical element to overcoming abuse. People find themselves trying, using, and abusing drugs for a variety of reasons. For some, the motivation was innocent curiosity when offered drugs by peers, for some trying a substance for the first time was purely accidental — they were already under the influence of another substance or someone else administered it without their knowledge. While, for others, drug use was a way to self medicate or treat other issues — escape family or situations, quiet mental health issues. Not many people chose a life of addiction and very rarely is the motivation for using drugs to form an addiction. Finding the motivation for using in the first place can help identify effective recovery strategies by setting goals and creating individualized trigger-avoidance plans.

Drug Resistance Skills

A significant portion of counseling, whether group, family, or individual, should be focused on drug resistance. For some people it means changing their entire lives to avoid the people and places that put them at risk for using drugs. For couples and families that use together or people who use where they live, work, or go to school, dramatic changes are required to avoid being tempted to use. For some, simply cutting access to their drug of choice is effective enough. Depending on compounding issues, lifestyle, the drug of choice, and support network, drug resistance plans will look different for different individuals.

Problem Solving and Coping Skills

Problem solving and coping skills are essential elements to remind a recovering addict why they are living a sober life and helping them hold on to that in the face of temptation. Without developing coping skills, in the face of stress, depression, or difficult situations, recovering addicts are likely to revert to using getting high as a coping technique, leading to relapse. Arming a recovering addict with a solid foundation of problem solving and coping skills gives them the opportunity to avoid using and react positively in the face of hard times or temptation.

Interpersonal Relationships

Whether problematic interpersonal relationships contributed to the initial addiction or not, it is highly likely that many interpersonal relationships will require repair during addiction recovery. Behavioral therapy is also useful for facilitating the former addict’s ability to function as a member of a relationship, family, and community.

Drug and alcohol addiction recovery is not as simple as getting clean. Recovery is an ongoing process that involves addressing every aspect of the addict’s life. Mental health counseling is a critical element of addiction recovery, and without it, the chances of long-term sobriety is not likely. Effective mental health counseling can help prevent relapse and help the suffering individual find inner strength and peace that can help them avoid a host of self-harm behaviors. For an all encompassing drug and alcohol rehab program, contact us at Metropolitan Rehabilitation Center today!