The Important Role of Substance Use Counselors

The Role of Substance Use Counselors

Many roads can lead someone struggling with addiction to recovery, but people respond to some methods better than others. Many will attempt to maintain sobriety several times before they achieve long-term success, and through that process, they learn that recovery is much more than simply not using drugs. Comprehensive addiction treatment programs emphasize the importance of substance use counseling in addition to medication-assisted treatment because research has shown that this combination is most effective, especially for opioid use disorder.

Therapeutic Alliances

Because addiction can rewire the brain to prioritize drug use above all else, taking the first step towards treatment is often a difficult decision for those with substance use disorder. Many patients begin treatment reluctantly, fearing the idea of trusting someone with information about their substance misuse while also dealing with stigma and shame. Substance use counselors provide an essential judgment-free atmosphere for patients to feel at ease, knowing that their well-being and recovery are the most important mission, even through difficult times in treatment. When patients feel they can speak openly about their thoughts, struggles, and goals with substance counselors, they’re more likely to remain in treatment, particularly those who don’t have a strong support system among family.

Tapping into Trauma

Unresolved trauma is frequently tied to substance misuse and addiction. People who go through difficult and life-altering experiences may turn to self-medication with drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism, making them susceptible to substance use disorder. In recovery, patients can have trouble moving forward with their goals until that trauma is discussed, helping further connect potential triggers and factors that present themselves as roadblocks. Substance use counselors are specialized to help patients deal with sensitive topics while also pointing out connections to thought patterns and habits that affect addiction recovery, providing invaluable insight to patients who aren’t accustomed to having emotional support. In exceptional cases where a patient’s trauma appears to be severe, substance counselors are an immense resource for referrals to outside support from highly experienced professionals who can provide additional help.

Planning and Prevention

Once patients get through the initial phase of treatment and have adjusted to speaking openly with substance use counselors, that’s when the most critical work is done. Counselors focus many sessions on relapse prevention and future goal planning, ensuring that patients continue to grow through the program and address their physical, mental, and emotional needs. Putting plans on paper and mapping out aspirations can empower patients to make positive changes, strive for continued success and sobriety, and use tools learned in counseling to help overcome challenges.

Personal and group counseling sessions are recommended for people in addiction treatment, which can sometimes include other patients in recovery or a patient with family members and loved ones. Counselors provide necessary mediation in these settings, so everyone has their chance to speak, but also to maintain and recovery-oriented discussion.

There is hope for people struggling with addiction and who wish to get better. Middlesex Recovery offers private, effective substance use disorder treatment in a convenient outpatient office setting. With convenient scheduling and evidence-based methods, patients at Middlesex Recovery have access to specialized medical providers and substance use counselors to make long-lasting recovery a reality. Message or call a local office today to learn more.