Is Free Drug Counseling Worth My Time?
Counseling-based treatment interventions play a pivotal role within the addictions recovery process. Free drug counseling offers those unable to afford treatment a means for obtaining the type of help that makes ongoing abstinence possible.
Free drug counseling programs offer the same types of treatment interventions as paid programs. In effect, the counseling aspect of recovery provides addicts with the tools needed to break addiction’s hold on their thinking and emotions.
Addiction’s Long-Term Effects
Anyone who’s developed an addiction to drugs (or alcohol) has essentially developed a new mindset in terms of his or her outlook on life and self. During the course of abusing drugs, the brain’s normal chemical pathways change in response to the drug’s effects over time.
More specifically, ongoing drug abuse alters a critical area of the brain known as the mesolimbic pathway, according to Columbia Health. This region relies heavily on stable levels of dopamine, one of the neurotransmitter chemicals affected by long-term drug use. With each successive drug dose, dopamine levels skew further and further off balance.
These changes impact a person’s belief systems in terms of his or her fundamental values. This in turn dictates thinking patterns, motivations, drive and emotional responses. Free drug counseling deals directly with the addiction mindset, helping addicts undo the faulty belief systems that leave those in recovery so susceptible to relapse.
Components of Free Drug Counseling
The primary goal of free drug counseling works to help addicts replace addiction-based behaviors and belief systems with healthy behaviors and coping strategies. By doing so, a person can incorporate the types of habits and routines that make ongoing abstinence possible.
In effect, developing and incorporating new behaviors on a daily basis helps retrain damaged brain chemical pathways and assist the brain’s natural repair processes. To accomplish these ends, free drug counseling programs use the following interventions:
- Drug counseling
- Individual psychotherapy
- Group therapy
- Relapse prevention training
Unlike a 30, 60 or 90-day drug treatment program, the time a person spends in free drug counseling can vary depending on his or her individual treatment needs.
Individual Therapy vs. Group Therapy
Free drug counseling programs hold individual and group therapy sessions on a regular basis as part of a person’s ongoing development in recovery. Each format offers its own specific benefits in terms of helping addicts address problem thinking and behaviors.
Individual psychotherapy focuses on the underlying emotional issues that support the addiction mindset. These issues can stem from any number of sources, including:
- Past and/or present abuse, be it physical, sexual or emotional
- Unstable home environment
- Past or present traumas, such as the death of a loved one
- Existing psychological disorders, such as depression or anxiety
While group therapy sessions also deal with these issues, the group setting acts as a training ground where addicts can develop healthy communication skills when expressing difficult emotions.
Support group attendance is an essential aspect of the recovery process, both while in treatment and after treatment ends. Within a free drug counseling program, support groups provide a setting where those in recovery can develop genuine relationships with like-minded individuals. Support groups also provide a place where addicts can talk about the difficulties faced in daily life while getting support and guidance from group members.