Counseling for Opiate Addiction

Addiction is more than a physical disease, so treatment requires more than just detox or physical health care. Counseling is an essential part of opiate addiction treatment and recovery.

Counseling Treatment for Addiction to Opioids

Counseling and therapy need to be integrated parts of any addiction treatment plan.The National Institute on Drug Abuse states,

“Effective treatment attends to multiple needs of the individual, not just his or her drug abuse. To be effective, treatment must address the individual’s drug abuse and any associated medical, psychological, social, vocational, and legal problems. It is also important that treatment be appropriate to the individual’s age, gender, ethnicity, and culture.” 1

Counseling needs to be a part of your recovery, and it needs to be personalized. Not all forms of counseling are right for everyone, but the right types will address all aspects of addiction so that recovery can be strong, multi-dimensional and lasting.

What Does Opiate Addiction Treatment Involve?

Effective counseling strategies address the psychological and physical components of opiate addiction. They also address the social, spiritual, relational, health and self-esteem issues that may have initially triggered your drug use or dependence. Counseling can take many forms.

Integrated addiction treatment may involve any or all of the following:
  • Focus on health/wellness
  • Exercise programs
  • Individual counseling
  • Group counseling
  • 12-step work
  • Family counseling
  • Meditation
  • Spiritual activities
  • Equine therapy
  • Art therapy
  • Acupuncture
  • Yoga
  • Vocational training
  • Financial management training

The shape and form addiction treatment takes will depend on individual needs. Counselors help recovering individuals choose a path to recovery and adjust this path as treatment progresses.

How Do I Begin Counseling for Opiate Addiction?

A comprehensive assessment is a necessary first step in recovery and counseling. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime explains, “A comprehensive assessment takes into account the stage and severity of the disease, somatic and mental health status, individual temperament and personality traits, vocational and employment status, family and social integration, and legal situation. It further considers environmental and developmental factors, including childhood and adolescent history, family history and relationships, social and cultural circumstances, and previous treatment attendance. An adequate assessment process creates the environment for the development of a therapeutic alliance to engage the patient into treatment.”2 This is a fancy way of saying — an assessment lets both you and your care providers know where you are, what you need and how to measure your progress.

Which Types of Counseling Are Right for Me?

Some counseling approaches are better suited for certain situations. Past trauma may be influencing your present addiction. You may benefit most from adding family therapy to your individual addiction therapy. Counselors will help patients identify and address individual needs. If counselors are not experienced in the type of therapy they believe will be most beneficial, they will recommend a different program and different professional.

What If Co-Occurring Addiction and Mental Health Issues Are Present?

If a mental health disorder such as depression, bipolar disorder or anxiety disorder is present, a certain counselor may not be qualified or able to provide adequate treatment. However he or she will work as a team with psychiatrists and medical health providers to ensure patients get the best, most effective care. When a counselor and patient relationship is a good fit, individuals will have the support they need to move forward in recovery. This may involve pulling in more professionals, trying various treatment methods or even exploring the use of medication-assisted therapy if you and your team decide it is the right choice.

Find Counseling Help for Opiate Addiction

Call our helpline to receive a free initial assessment and information about recovery options for yourself or a loved one. All calls are confidential, compassionate and pressure-free. We are here for you 24 hours a day, so you never have to go through this alone. Learn more today.

By Alanna Hilbink

1 “Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment.” National Institute on Drug Abuse. Jan. 2018.
2 “Principles of Drug Dependence Treatment.” United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Mar. 2008.

Articles posted here are primarily educational and may not directly reflect the offerings at The Oaks. For more specific information on programs at The Oaks, contact us today.