Counseling is an essential part of opiate addiction treatment and recovery. Addiction is more than a physical disease, so it requires more than detox or physical health care. It even requires more than counseling for just drug use. In its Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment, 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.” 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 as well as the social, spiritual, relational, health and self-esteem issues that may have brought him or her to addiction initially. Counseling can take many forms, and 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
- Spiritual activities
- Equine therapy
- Art therapy
- Vocational training
- Financial management training
Counselors help recovering individuals choose a path to recovery and adjust this path as treatment progresses.
The shape and form addiction treatment takes will depend on individual needs. This is why 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.” Some counseling approaches are better suited for certain situations, such as if past trauma is influencing addiction or if a person needs family therapy in addition to individual addiction therapy, and counselors will help patients identify and address these 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. If a mental health disorder such as depression, bipolar disorder or anxiety disorder is present, a 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. If a counselor and patient simply aren’t a good fit personality-wise, a good counselor will recommend a different professional. If a counselor and patient relationship is a good fit, individuals will have the support they need to move forward in recovery.
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. We are here for you 24 hours a day, so you never have to go through this alone. Call now.
 https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/principles-effective-treatment. “Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment.” National Institute on Drug Abuse. Dec 2012. Web. 16 Apr 2016.
 https://www.unodc.org/documents/drug-treatment/UNODC-WHO-Principles-of-Drug-Dependence-Treatment-March08.pdf. “Principles of Drug Dependence Treatment.” United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Mar 2008. Web. 16 Apr 2016.
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