Essential Features Of Addiction Counseling Programs That Promote Patient Outcomes

Drug addiction remains a prevalent public health concern in the United States. The National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics estimates that more than 53 million people in America have used illegal drugs in the past year. The figure is expected to be exponential when accounting for drug disorders related to legalized drugs such as alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana. The statistics highlight an ongoing drug pandemic, ascertaining the significance of addiction treatment services. Addiction counseling has emerged as an effective intervention in remedying patients with substance abuse disorders. It primarily relies on non-pharmacological treatments to mitigate patients' risk of on-setting new addictions. This article discusses essential aspects of addiction counseling programs that underline their effectiveness in treating substance abuse disorders:

Empowering Patients to Take Charge of their Addictions 

A significant portion of patients with substance use disorders often relapse within a short period of leaving their treatment programs. The relapse may be attributed to several factors, including lack of goodwill. For example, some patients might have joined rehabilitation programs because they were coerced to join the programs or be expelled from school or work. Such patients are at risk of relapsing because the decision to quit drugs was not intrinsic. Addiction counseling programs solve this issue by encouraging patients to take charge of their substance use problems. Counselors strive to help patients realize the negative implications of continued drug dependence on their health and socio-economic well-being.

Creating Strong Support Systems around Substance Abuse Patients

Humans are social beings and depend on their interpersonal relationships for security and a sense of belonging. Moreover, the relationships influence human behavior significantly. Thus, addiction counseling programs exploit patients' social support systems to promote recovery and mitigate relapses. For example, counselors advise family members to provide a conducive environment that fosters their loved one's recovery. This includes encouraging the patient and not stigmatizing them. Otherwise, substance abuse patients whose families shun them might continue using drugs to cope with the rejection. Addiction counseling programs mitigate such outcomes by involving family members in a patient's recovery journey.

Referral for Specialized Treatment

Addiction counseling programs utilize non-pharmacological interventions to address patients' addiction issues. However, patients require additional treatment to overcome their addictions in some instances. Counselors may assess their patients and refer them for specialized treatment. For example, pharmacological treatment may be vital for patients with long-term addictions to hard drugs such as cocaine. Such patients may receive methadone prescriptions to ease off their cocaine dependence. However, the patients should retain their counseling programs to mitigate the risk of relapsing or on-setting a new addiction for the prescribed methadone.