5 Quality Conversations to Have with Your Rehab Counselor
Addiction is a powerful disease characterized by a three-fold process of dysfunction. The DSM-5, used by mental health professionals to diagnose a variety of mental health issues, no longer uses the term “addiction.” Instead, it refers to substance use disorders. However, anyone having faced addiction personally or with a loved one, knows the depths of the illness.
Working with competent doctors and mental health professionals is the key to recovery. Specific areas of work can help addicts in this process. Talking to a rehab counselor about various aspects of addiction can help prevent relapse and promote lasting recovery. For answers to your questions, and to find drug rehab today, call 800-895-1695 (Who Answers?) .
Mental Processes before Using
In rehab, psychiatrists, psychologists and other counselors often recommend a cognitive-behavioral approach. Addicts largely function without a level with mindfulness toward motivation and thought process. Working with rehab counselors to identify the thought process leading up to drinking or using can help an addict understand how the first drink or drug happens.
With addiction, mental compulsion is common. Craving, planning where to get it and engaging in glamorous fantasies regarding alcohol or drug use is classic addictive thinking. Thus, identifying specific thoughts and patterns can help bring awareness and help patients look for destructive ideas and notions after returning to everyday life.
People suffering from substance use disorders are often seeking to dull or avoid painful emotions. Whether an addict is facing a suppressed childhood trauma or coping with the pain of his/her own erratic behavior attributed largely to the destructive pattern of addiction, identifying emotional pain is important.
Talking to a qualified therapist to uncover emotions and process them in a healthy way is the best option for solid recovery. Ultimately, peace and happiness is the goal of every human being, including recovering addicts.
Fears, Anxiety and Unknown Emotions
The basic text of Narcotics Anonymous explains, “…most of us are afraid that there is a monster inside of us that, if released, will destroy us.” Many addicts are tormented by fear and anxiety.
Some addicts are unable to even identify the myriad of fears and emotional angst plaguing them. Talking with a counselor about fear and working to write down identified areas of fear is critical to ongoing recovery. Common fears associated with addiction are:
- Afraid that deep down lies a “bad person”
- Afraid of living without drugs and/or alcohol
- Afraid of continuing to live with drugs and/or alcohol
- Afraid of what people think
- Afraid of failure and/or success
- Afraid of the past/future
- Afraid losing material things and/or loved ones
Physical, Mental and Emotional Triggers
Research shows that recovery is a process. First, addicts must get clean and stop using. This is the abstinence phase and the phase most people classify as recovery. However, true recovery from substance use disorders requires patients to learn about themselves to identify triggers for relapse.
Much like a diabetic needs to look for physical, emotional and mental issues that signify a sugar imbalance, addicts must also look for irregularities in these areas. Physical cravings, mental obsession and thoughts of drinking alcohol or using drugs, along with irritability and emotional mood swings could all lead to relapse. Talking specifically with a counselor to outline these triggers and how to manage them effectively is an important part of setting a recovery course.
Who am I Now? Who will I Become?
Some addicts have completely lost a sense of who they are in the process of drinking and using. Talking frankly with a counselor about this sort of identity crisis can help. The good news is, with the destructive addiction patterns left behind, a new identity will emerge. Dreams can be fulfilled. Goals can be achieved. Much like a butterfly emerging from its cocoon, the addict can embrace a hopeful new existence, free from the bondage of addiction.
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 5th Ed. Retrieved on March 12, 2017 from: https://www.appi.org/Diagnostic_and_Statistical_Manual_of_Mental_Disorders_DSM-5_Fifth_Edition
Melemis, S. (2015). Relapse prevention and the five rules of recovery. Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine. 88(3): 325-332. Retrieved on March 12, 2017 from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4553654/
NIH (2016). The science of drug abuse and addiction: The basics. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Retrieved on March 12, 2017 from: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/media-guide/science-drug-abuse-addiction-basics
NA (2008). Chapter 4. Narcotics Anonymous, 6th Ed.. p. 54. Retrieved on March 12, 2017 from: http://www.coastalcarolinaarea.org/literature/books/b_t.pdf