6 Ways A Psychologist Can Resolve Substance Addiction

Addictive substances, including alcohol, cigarettes and drugs

It isn’t easy admitting to oneself that they’re suffering from an addiction, let alone help themselves get through it. Fortunately, there are plenty of alternatives and measures one can do to efficiently recover from their condition, including seeking help from registered psychologists, psychiatrists, or counselors. 

If you’re suffering from a specific type of addiction or you know someone who is, then you can encourage them to undergo treatments and interventions to treat their condition. For starters, patients often have different reasons for seeking professional help. These may include aiming to control the symptoms of their addiction, seeking permanent abstinence from addictive substances, or pursuing full recovery. 

Before consulting a psychologist or a therapist, you may first consider browsing through reliable online sources like jacksonhouserehab.com and other similar sites to know how to effectively manage your addiction and how you can undergo treatments.

Substance Addiction And Its Symptoms 

Unlike the conventional belief that substance addiction is a result of one’s life choices and decisions, know that this condition may be a product of various factors, including social stressors, peer pressure, depression, stress, and other prominent influences. 

While it could be difficult to determine the main causes of a specific addiction, there are plenty of alternatives you can do to get through it, including seeking professional help. 

But before that, you must first know what substance addiction is and its symptoms. For better ideas, continue reading below: 

  • Substance addiction is characterized by extreme physical dependence on chemical substances, including alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, prescription medications, and other substances.

  • Many experts believe that substance addiction is more than just about one’s dependence on alcohol or drugs. The display of addictive behavior and incapacity to make logical reasonings indicate the impact of substances on one’s nervous system. Particularly, drugs can act as stimulants or depressants and disrupt the transmission of electrochemical messages between neurons.

  • Drugs and other substances may also affect the reward pathways in the brain. Research shows that by flooding the nucleus accumbens with dopamine and endorphins, they could create specific stimuli that may induce increased feelings of satisfaction and pleasure, which is often associated with eating, socializing, and sex. 

  • People suffering from an addiction may experience drastic behavioral changes. They may also struggle with mental confusion, compulsions, sleep disruption, changes in appetite. People suffering from substance addiction may also experience withdrawal symptoms upon stopping the consumption of addictive substances.

How A Psychologist Can Help Patients Recover From Substance Addiction

Healthcare concept of professional psychologist doctor consult in psychotherapy session or counsel diagnosis health.

When dealing with substance addiction, you can consider seeking help from psychologists, psychiatrists, and counselors. You may also undergo psychological interventions, therapies, and counseling to treat addiction and other mental health conditions. 

Particularly, psychologists play a significant role in one’s addiction recovery. If you’re wondering about how they could help their clients, here’s a list of how a psychologist cold help treat substance addiction:

1. Determine The Potential Causes Of An Addiction 

Seeking professional help may not be easy for some people. This may be why few people suffering from addiction choose to consult a psychologist or psychiatrist. However, to pursue recovery, it’s important to address the condition immediately upon noticing its symptoms. In such aspects, one of the primary things that a psychologist can do for clients is to identify the root causes of their condition. In some cases, people tend to use chemical substances as tools to forget about traumatic experiences, unpleasant memories, and intrusive thoughts that often plague their minds. People struggling with anxiety, depression, and other psychological disturbances may also be more prone to substance abuse. By conducting psychological tests, general assessments, and substance abusive evaluations, registered psychologists could determine the severity of one’s condition and the extent of their dependence on addictive substances. Also, they may perform several tests on the clients, such as lab tests, physical examinations, and make them answer psychological questionnaires to diagnose their condition.

2. Screen Patients 

Aside from assessments and evaluations, psychologists are also responsible for screening the clients. However, such tests can only be conducted with the consent of the client and upon informing them about the background of the tests. Particularly, psychologists could provide essential information about the screening tests by describing their methods and goals. After the screen tests, the psychologists are also responsible for maintaining the security and confidentiality of all the test data and test materials. By performing these tests, psychologists could easily distinguish the type of addiction a person is suffering from and identify those who need clinical attention and medication. Through this, they may also determine the right types of treatment options appropriate for one’s condition.

3. Advance Client-Centered Therapy 

Aside from conducting assessments and screening tests, another way a psychologist resolves substance addiction is by promoting client-centered therapy for them. Intrinsically, this type of approach is developed by Carl Rogers, which seeks to speed up the processes of self-discovery and actualization among clients in response to the psychologist’s consistent empathy and support. 

In such aspects, psychologists could offer unconditional positive regard to clients, consistent empathy, and congruence throughout the medication process. Through this, they have better chances of getting back to their old lives and getting through their condition. 

Going back, client-centered therapies mainly focus on guiding clients to obtain faster recovery and achieve several objectives, which may include the following: 

  • Establish and maintain coherent motivators to pursue recovery 

  • Cope with consistent cravings and compulsions 

  • Enhance sensory perceptions, develop problem-solving skills, and bolster cognitive functions of clients 

  • Obtained a balanced lifestyle 

  • Develop relationships with other people 

  • Find higher meaning in life

4. Provide Guidance 

Aside from assessing, diagnosing, and treating behavioral disorders and mental health conditions, psychologists could also take up the role of being the client’s confidant. It’s because clients are sometimes hesitant to ask the help of their family and friends during their rehabilitation processes. In a way, a psychologist could help encourage the clients to address their addiction through empathic interventions and enhance the therapeutic alliance with them. 

Licensed psychologists may also provide guidance to clients on how they could better deal with the symptoms of their conditions and monitor their progress. By mediating therapy sessions, performing psychological interventions, and connecting clients to a support group, psychologists could help them to move forward with their lives and obtain a full recovery from addiction.

5. Prevent The Risks Of Relapse 

The impacts of substance addiction don’t end with the changes in one’s behavior, appetite, and way of thinking. Instead, it could extend beyond their body systems, including their central nervous system. 

In most cases, people suffering from chronic substance addiction are more susceptible to relapse and withdrawal symptoms upon stopping the use of chemical substances. Many experts believe that approximately 40% to 60% of people with substance addiction may experience relapses at some point in their lives. Not just that, but during these relapses, they’re more at risk of hypertension, asthma, diabetes, and seizures. 

During relapses, people may experience symptoms that could occur within hours or days. The symptoms ranging from mild to severe may even take up weeks up to months. In this aspect, a psychologist could help develop a comprehensive relapse prevention plan for clients to avoid relapses in the future. 

Creating a relapse prevention scheme is crucial in helping clients avoid suffering more and increasing their chances of recovery. This plan is designed to cater to the client’s needs and may consist of the following essential elements: 

  • An inclusive data about the client’s experience with substance abuse, including the series of relapses they previously encountered 

  • Risk factors of the client’s condition and the identified causes of their addiction 

  • A list of all the courses of action clients can do to manage the symptoms of their condition and cure their addiction 

  • A complete list of the client’s family members, friends, and other people who can form a support network for them 

  • A backup relapse scheme 

  • An emergency relapse plan 

  • Specific lifestyle changes appropriate for the clients to better improve their well-being

6. Promote Faster Recovery 

As mentioned earlier, it’s not easy for people to seek treatment for their conditions. As much as possible, many people try to keep such things to themselves in fear of being judged and ridiculed by society. It may also take a great deal of trust to share their experiences with another person other than their loved ones. 

In such aspects, psychologists and counselors have the responsibility of taking care of their personal data, forming a therapeutic alliance with them, and treating their condition. Specifically, registered psychologists could help promote faster recovery among clients by providing quality services, promoting their best interests, and tackling the symptoms of their addiction.

A study shows that people suffering from substance abuse have greater chances of recovery through gentler, more empathic psychological approaches and interventions. Licensed psychologists could also provide a safe environment for clients where they can feel comfortable voicing out their thoughts and discussing their experiences.

Key Takeaways

It’s never easy dealing with any type of addiction. With many risks to be mindful of and things to consider, people may feel overwhelmed when faced with such challenges. Fortunately, there are plenty of available measures and alternatives one can consider to get through their addiction, including seeking help from competent psychologists. 

With their help, people have better chances of getting back to their old lives and fully recovering. If you’re having second thoughts about consulting one, you can consider the abovementioned considerations and advantages.

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