Addiction Counseling

How do you treat

addiction?

  1. Intake & Assessment- Very thorough review and documentation of client personal history of addiction, medical, family, cultural, spiritual, trauma, strengths ect. To best inform treatment plan.

  2. Treatment Plan- Co-development of treatment plan with each client for clear goals and focus.

  3. Individual counseling sessions – Provide accepting and caring space for development of self-acceptance and to tell personal story of experience of addiction, co-problem solve and develop individual recovery plan.

  4. Family/loved one collateral sessions – Provide understanding and support for healing of family as well as information about codependency and dysfunctional family patterns and systems in addiction.

  5. Education – Disease of addiction, family patterns with addiction, codependency, relapse prevention, resiliency skills.

  6. Case management – Provide education and linkage to sobriety supportive resources s well as referral to other levels of care such as inpatient programs if necessary.

  7. Aftercare planning – Co-develop written plan for ongoing self-care including periodic “check-in” appointments with counselor.

* Treatment length is most commonly effective with 1 weekly session for 12 -36 weeks.  

* Letters and certificates of completion for legal or other proof are provided as needed.

Who can have addiction?

The short answer is, “Anyone”.  Addiction to substances such as prescription medicines, street drugs or alcohol can happen to anyone at any time in their life. Addiction is considered a “primary” condition which is not dependent on any other problems or conditions.  Addiction also is an “equal opportunity” problem affecting people at any age, level of education, financial status, intelligence as well as is seen worldwide for all cultures now and historically.  A person who finds that they have developed an addiction is not alone and need not feel embarrassed.  Because of the widely-varied types of people who need help getting free from addiction, there are many different types of treatment available to meet each person’s individual needs.

What is addiction?

Addiction is a primary, chronic condition.  Addictive substances eventually cause a change of physical tolerance requiring more or (sometimes less) of a substance to achieve desire affect.  This occurs with prolonged use.  Your body will not be able to change this natural reaction in the future.  Increased tolerance is a sign that your body is attempting to accommodate and resist overexposure to substances.  Decreased tolerance is a sign your body is losing healthy functioning and deteriorating in ability to filter the substances out.  Other changes which develop are in brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to biological, psychological, and social problems. This manifests differently in each person with the common behavior of pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use.  To put it simply, you brain is highjacked by the substances to believe the most important thing in life is to use more of the substance which your brain thinks it needs it to live.  Your highjacked brain craves and chooses the substance before work, family, friends, goals and sometimes even food, sleep, sex, consciousness or life.  Another trick the substances play is it causes the person to have a reduced ability to recognize the significant problems with one’s behaviors, relationships, and changed emotions.  Addiction is progressive and can result in loss of friends and family, inability to maintain school or employment, isolation, physical health problems, mental health problems, institutionalization, legal problems, disability or premature death.

Most people attempt different ways to stop and they can’t do it.  That is when a person may become open to getting help from a professional.   At Kaleidoscope Inside Counseling, the outpatient therapist is also a certified drug and alcohol counselor and provide thorough professional assessment and then develops an individualized treatment plan with you. Treatment includes counseling, education about addiction, information and linkage to resources in the community that support sobriety, family and relationship counseling, accountability and encouragement.  If necessary, you will be provided referral for inpatient medication assisted treatment stay.  The most difficult time is of course in the beginning.  After an initial acute detoxification, a person will experience P.A.W.S.  This is Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome.  With ongoing treatment and support for 18 months to 2 years of abstinence from addictive substances for your body, brain (thought patterns, emotions, impulse control etc.) will be “re-set”, with healthy coping, new sobriety supportive behavior patterns and have developed resiliency from return to maladaptive coping and relapse.

I’ve heard before that addiction can be “cured”, is this true?

The short answer is no.  This has become a common fallacy which developed from a is largely an aggressively advertised treatment program which believes that addiction is secondary or only a symptom of underlying issues and can be alleviated by treating the underlying problem.  That part is partly true.  There may be trauma, depression, anxiety or other mental health issues which cause a person to attempt to cope in many ways including using substances.  Unfortunately, then the substances wear off and continued use and addiction develops.  The theory is, that if the underlying issue is resolved, then a person can drink and use substances in a “normal” manner. 

However, this ignores several facts:

  1. Addiction truly is a primary disease. It has its own specific disease course (affects on brain and body, relational ability and can even cause ongoing trauma and trigger severe mental health issues which are difficult to resolve after being co-occurring with substance abuse.  Well-adjusted people with a good childhood can become addicted.  Conversely, a person with a mental health issue and a traumatic childhood may not develop addiction. 

  2. Addiction requires relationally focused interventions often including ongoing social supports due to the especially debilitating interpersonal deficits caused by addiction.  A mental health issue alone such as anxiety or depression has evidence it can be treated with cognitive interventions alone.  This is not recommended as sufficient solitary treatment for addiction.  Therefore, treatment of the underlying issue is not enough.

  3. The gathered evidence documenting the number of people that can return to “normal” drinking to drug use after previously developing a pattern of addiction is very low.  However, some anecdotal stories do exist.  Unfortunately, many of those do have a time of “controlled” use which eventually becomes out of control.  Others switch to prescriptions or daily controlled use of alcohol, but their lives are directed by the need to use addictively.  For the few remaining I have heard some isolated stories.  In the 12-step program of Alcoholic Anonymous it is said to those who can return (to active use without problem) “our hats are off to them, we have tried long enough and hard enough to (use) like other people”. 

The good news is:

In my experience working with people who have struggle with addiction over 26 years, is that people do recover.  I have met many thousands of them over these years and they span every age, career, culture and lifestyle.  Recovery is available for everyone.  The joy and gratitude I have heard expressed from people who have escaped the clutches of addiction is comparable to a person who has narrowly escaped death.   They talk about beginning or renewed quality relationships of depth and weight and a hopeful vigorous energy for life.  Kaleidoscope Inside Counseling has this in mind for every client who comes to us for help. 

 

You are worth it.

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