Counseling for Substance Abuse
You’re tired of struggling with substance abuse or supporting someone who might be
Whether you’re experiencing substance abuse yourself or someone you love might be, it is important to acknowledge the signs of substance abuse problems as a first step to strive toward recovery. Though addiction is a multifaceted problem, know that it is a health condition that can be treated effectively.
At BeWELL, we recognize that treatment should be directed toward you as an individual person — rather than to your drug of choice. Client dignity and respect is at the forefront of our work, because we recognize the importance of treating the whole person.
How do I recognize if I or someone I love has issues with substance abuse?
If you can’t stop taking a drug even if you want to, or if the urge to use drugs is too strong to control, even if you know the drug is causing harm, you might be addicted.
Whether your concern is for yourself or someone else, it is likely that the symptoms of substance abuse may manifest both physically and mentally.
Some of the physical side effects or indicators of usage:
- Withdrawal symptoms
- Sleeping problems
- Changes in eating habits
- Pupils that are either larger or smaller than normal
- Watery or bloodshot eyes
- Extreme talkativeness or hyperactivity
- Slurred speech
- A sudden change in weight, including gain or loss
The mental side effects can be tremendous as well, including:
- Increased stress
- Feelings of depression
- Attending social events only if drugs or alcohol are available
- Lying about the substance or how much is being used
- Becoming angry, sad, or lashing out when questioned about substance abuse
How do I know when substance use has shifted to abuse?
It can be hard to identify in yourself, but when substance use is affecting your personal relationships, work performance, and/or becomes a way for you to move through a negative feeling – it may have shifted to abuse.
We encourage you to be self-reflective in recognizing some of the physical or mental symptoms that may exist in your life. If you think you might be struggling with abuse, know that you are not alone — statewide throughout New York, there are an estimated 2 million people with a substance abuse problem. Also know that help is available — hundreds of clients have overcome substance abuse through BeWELL’s therapy programs.
What substances do you see most frequently abused at BeWELL?
At BeWELL, common abused substances include alcohol, marijuana, prescription medications (such as opiates and stimulants), and cigarettes. These are oftentimes abused in part because they may be readily available.
How can therapy help with substance abuse?
According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, counseling and behavioral therapies are highly utilized and the best available treatment options for drug abuse.
The main purpose of therapy for addiction is to address the underlying causes of substance abuse in order to prevent these from causing relapse. While it is indisputable that detox is an important component of treatment (because it helps people handle withdrawal and ease cravings), it does nothing to address the underlying factors that initially led to the addiction..
Because the underlying causes of addiction are mostly genetic and environmental, therapy taps into both elements. From a genetic perspective, we recognize that some people are more prone to sensation-seeking behavior, more compulsive and ultimately more vulnerable to addiction. From an environmental perspective, life events such as trauma, stress and early exposure to substances of abuse can also affect an individual’s relationship to substances. Therapy allows clients to address both the genetic and environmental factors at play.
Our therapists can help — BeWELL’s approach to substance abuse counseling
At BeWELL, we explore all options when working with addiction – if abstinence is the goal, we support both an Alcoholics Anonymous model or a harm reduction model. Whatever is the best fit for you.
For some clients, A.A.’s Twelve Steps are the right fit. These are a group of principles, spiritual in their nature, which, if practiced as a way of life, can expel the obsession to drink and enable the sufferer to become happily and usefully whole.
For other clients, harm reduction makes the most sense. This is a set of practical strategies and ideas aimed at reducing negative consequences associated with drug use. Harm reduction is also a movement for social justice built on a belief in, and respect for, the rights of people who use drugs.
For other clients still, neither A.A. nor harm reduction will align. BeWELL is agile to support your goals and your needs — we meet you where you are. When necessary, BeWELL will help you transition in and out of a residential program designed to help you change your habits and create new systems. You can take comfort in knowing your BeWELL therapist will support you in setting you up to succeed.
Whether the approach is A.A., harm reduction, a residential program or something else, BeWELL therapists may layer in additional models to provide you with optimal support. For example, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is one of the most popular therapies in addiction medicine; it can be used to treat a variety of addictions. We find CBT to be especially helpful, as it enables clients to be actively involved in their own recovery.
During the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy process, the dynamic between our clients and therapists is tremendously important. We insist on facilitating positive communication; this allows people struggling with substance abuse to replace dysfunctional thoughts with those that promote positive well-being. We recognize that certain psychological and social factors can be powerful triggers — these may include stress, cues in the environment (such as visiting a neighborhood), or social networks (such as spending time with friends who continue to use). Our goal together is to create a blueprint that helps overcome problematic behaviors, replacing them with healthier ones and setting you up for long-term success.
Given that therapy isn’t a one-size-fits-all process, your BeWELL therapist will evaluate different approaches to find what is most effective for you. Therapy often decreases in frequency and duration as you learn to cope with the causes of your addiction and to handle life’s stressors.
Begin counseling for substance abuse in NYC — what can I expect from my first session at BeWELL?
You don’t have to live with cravings, withdrawal symptoms, sleeping problems, changes in eating habits, and more. Counseling can help you reset and fresh.
In your first session, you will explore with your therapist what your goals are for you and your substance of choice. Not everyone is ready to give up drinking or weed on their first session. You and your therapist will get a sense of how to best move forward – set tangible goals that are not overwhelming and feel doable. As your treatment continues, you and she will look deeper into your history to see if there is a link to your past and the substance that may be keeping you from thriving. We are ready to partner with you for your success.
Our New York City counseling office has caring therapists who specialize in substance abuse. To start your counseling journey, contact us for your free consultation.
Other mental health services at BeWELL
Substance abuse therapy isn’t the only service we offer in our New York City office. Other mental health services at BeWELL include anxiety treatment, couples therapy, counseling for depression, teen therapy, LGBTQIA counseling and culture, identity, and race therapy.