Recovery from addiction can be difficult, but the process is more complicated when a mental health disorder is present as well. Both present their own set of unique challenges that must be addressed, but together, the combination can introduce a new set of obstacles that are highly individual in nature. Overcoming an addiction and coping with a mental health disorder can be challenging without help.
While recovery from an addiction is very much focused on the physical aspect of abstaining from substance abuse, a significant component of the recovery process is learning how to cope moving forward. For many, addiction does not develop overnight and its origin can often be found in underlying reasons and motivators. In a large number of cases, these underlying reasons are linked to mental health issues and a desire to either self-medicate or escape their influence. Substance abuse and mental health become intertwined as they become a cause and effect, meaning that a person subconsciously connects their mental and emotional state to substance abuse. This can make a person become completely dependent on their substance of choice to feel “normal”.
Why is Counseling Necessary?
Counseling is a vital component of recovery for a number of reasons. Once detox is complete and a person’s mind is free from the mind and mood-altering effects of drugs or alcohol, they must begin learning how to manage cravings, cope with triggers, and deal with their emotions in a healthy and productive way. Therapy is essential in addiction treatment and is the foundation of many people’s journey in recovery. There are a variety of therapeutic options available to help a person throughout treatment, and these are meant to not only address the needs of a person recovering from substance abuse, but also care for those who struggle with co-occurring mental health disorders.
Mental health and substance abuse often go hand-in-hand. In some cases, a mental health disorder is what drives a person to begin using substances, while in other situations, mental health disorders may develop as a result of substance abuse. Regardless of which develops first, it is critical that both are addressed adequately throughout treatment to reduce the risk of relapse. It is not uncommon to find that stress, sudden life changes, environmental factors, and social influences can all put a person at risk of relapse. These urges can be strong and will inevitably surface multiple times throughout the course of a person’s life making therapy a vital tool in successfully managing sobriety. This is where dual-diagnosis treatment comes in.
How Individual Therapy Works
While there are a variety of therapeutic methods utilized over the course of a person’s recovery, individual therapy is the staple of many people’s treatment plan. Individual therapy is tailored to the unique needs of the person and evolves over time as their needs change. Unlike in group therapy settings where you work alongside peers through a variety of themes and challenges, individual therapy focuses on the unique needs of the person. This means that the therapy sessions are designed to address individual needs and the combination of factors that influences a particular person’s experiences.
Therapy can address a variety of topics at an in-depth level. This can help treat mental, behavioral, and emotional issues that a person may struggle with. Some areas of focus may include:
- Family issues
Initially, therapy sessions may focus on gathering information about a person’s past and present experiences in order to assess their needs and determine the best course of treatment. In most situations, a therapist will encourage the client to do most of the talking so that the therapist can help them explore past trauma, current issues, and other experiences that influence their current state. While it can be difficult to explore some of these topics, it is essential in starting the healing process and helping a person move forward.
As they work through treatment goals and therapy sessions, clients are able to work with the therapist to develop healthy coping mechanisms, alternative ways of thinking, and a better understanding of how their experiences, thoughts, and coping mechanisms influence addictive behaviors.
Regardless of where a person is in their recovery journey, everyone can benefit from individual therapy. Individual therapy encourages people to reflect on their past experiences and work on improving their current and future lives through the development of healthy coping mechanisms. Individual therapy provides a person with a new perspective on situations they deal with on a daily basis. Speaking with someone who is neutral and has no connection to these experiences can help many people change their perspectives and make changes to support a healthy lifestyle in the future.