Drug & Alcohol Counseling

Treating all areas of addiction : Drug, Alcohol, Food, Sex, Relationships

The term "addiction" is used in many contexts to describe an obsession, compulsion, or excessive physical dependence or psychological dependence, such as: drug addiction, alcoholism, compulsive overeating, problem gambling, computer addiction, etc.
 

WHEN YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A PROBLEM...

There are a variety of ways to get help for a substance abuse problem. Education is paramount.  However, since addiction is a disease that tells you that you don't have it, it can be tricky finding a way to be honest with oneself.  One of the easiest ways to learn more is to attend a 12-step meeting, such as AA (Alcoholics Anonymous). There is no cost to attend a meeting, but you may find answers to questions you have about your own use or abuse. You can also get an assessment from a professional licensed counselor, which encompasses a complete history, assessment tools and often a drug or alchol screening.  Individual counselors can also be a help, but be sure to find out if the therapist has knowledge and experience in the field of drug and alcohol addiction.

Many times individuals know they have a problem, but they can't imagine life without their 'drug of choice', which is usually their best friend.  It is important to find support and do be around other recovering individuals who know what you are going throught and can show you that life can be more meaningful and fulfilling than one could imagine, once the addiction is overcome.


WHAT TO DO IF A LOVED ONE HAS A SUBSTANCE ABUSE PROBLEM


Family and friends are invariably affected by some using or abusing substances. The majority of people can drink normally on a social level and some may even drink a lot on various occasions, without suffering any major consequences.
Alcohol is legal substance and for those of legal age, consumption is prevalent and condoned, if not expected in our culture. It can be difficult to distinguish when there is a real problem.

A general rule of thumb is if it is affecting yours or theirs work, relationships, health or experiencing legal consequences, there is a pretty good chance there is a problem. Classically what I look for is a very fundamental relationship between the person and the substance.  Who is in charge? You or the substance?

It is easy to distinguish between the ideas of use, abuse and dependence.

Can you help another?
I frequently send friends and family member of those suffering with addictions to attend Al-anon meeting.
“For over 55 years, Al-Anon (which includes Alateen for younger members) has been offering strength and hope for friends and families of problem drinkers. It is estimated that each alcoholic affects the lives of at least four other people... alcoholism is truly a family disease. No matter what relationship you have with an alcoholic, whether they are still drinking or not, all who have been affected by someone else’s drinking can find solutions that lead to serenity in the Al-Anon/Alateen fellowship.” (from www.al-anon.alateen.org)
Al-anon is a resource ofr members to learn abouthe themselves, the diseasem wheather ot not their behaviors may be enabling and where they can talk with others who are experiencing the same things that they are.

Traditionally addicts have to reach their own “bottoms”.  There is an expression that state that you can “get off the elevator on any floor, you don’t have to go all the way to the bottom” .  May addicts have found recovery before they have lost everything – family, friends, work, money, health.  However, there is a process called “intervention” which many people are familiar with today.  This is an organized process where friends, family, co-workers or significant others can confront someone abusing drugs or alcohol or gambling in a loving environment, where everyone can be safe and yet say what needs to be said.  Here the person can be given options for recovery – from individual counseling, group therapy, Intensive Outpatient Therapy, In- Patient Therapy.  People often are in need of a short or long term detox depending on their ‘drug of choice.’

Recovery is the goal for recovering people and their families. Recovery includes medical, psychological, spiritual, social and health and wellness issues. It is not an overnight treatment but rather an ongoing process dedicated to restoring the harms that were done to themselves and others and returning to  a quality life style that is beneficial to all. Some people attend 12-Step Programs; some quit with the help of friends and families; most attend some sort of support group because it has

ASSESSMENT BASICS:

  • When began?
  • How much do they use?
  • When, where and with whom do they use?
  • Presence of withdrawal symptoms
  • Mental Health History
  • Family History
  • Trauma History
  • Support System


LEVELS OF CARE:

  • Individual and Family
  • In-patient
  • Out-patient
  • AA - Alcoholics Anonymous
  • NA/CA/CMA - Narcotics Anonymous/Cocaine Anonymous/Crystal Meth Anonymous


TREATMENT:

  • Education
  • Relapse Prevention
  • Change playmates and playpens    
  • Triggers
  • Coping Skills
  • Support Development


SPECIFIC TO ADOLESCENTS:

  • Rarely want to quit on their own
  • Have strong preferences for DOC
  • Build on dislikes of other drugs
  • Work on refusal skills
  • Drug testing is most effective