Substances

Drug and Alcohol Counselling: Getting Help

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Written by Talked Team

25 Mar, 2022

If you, or someone you know, needs drug and alcohol counselling, it can be difficult to know where to start. Drug and alcohol issues are a serious problem that requires a delicate and thought out approach. This can make the number of available treatment options somewhat overwhelming. 

However, getting help for drug and alcohol issues, as overwhelming as it can be, is still urgently important. That is why we’ve put together this guide on drug and alcohol counselling. That way, you know whether or not drug and alcohol counselling is right for you (and what to expect if it is).

What is drug and alcohol addiction?

Drug and alcohol addiction (both of which fall under substance abuse), refers to the dependent relationship a person has with these addictive substances. 

People use drugs and alcohol in order to harness their mind-altering properties for a wide number of reasons, including:

  • Relaxation

  • To have fun

  • To dull emotions

  • To lessen physical pain

Drugs and alcohol are addictive, meaning that a person needs to consume higher quantities of drugs or alcohol in order to experience their effects at the same potency. Additionally, addictive substances cause cravings and, if not used for an extended period of time, withdrawal symptoms. These withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Irritability

  • Fatigue

  • Mood swings

  • Aches/pains

  • Insomnia

Because of withdrawal symptoms, it is both extremely difficult and dangerous to stop using substances abruptly. It is always best to consult with a medical professional in order to overcome your addiction in a safe manner.

What are the signs that I need drug and alcohol counselling?

There are numerous signs that either you, or someone you know, exhibits when experiencing drug and alcohol addiction. These signs include:

  • Difficulty meeting responsibilities

  • Withdrawing from, or not finding enjoyment in activities that used to provide satisfaction (i.e. work, family, hobbies, sport, socialising)

  • Engaging in risky or dangerous behaviour (i.e. drink driving, unprotected sex, using dirty needles)

  • Behavioural changes, such as an increase in aggression

  • Conflicting with/alienating loved ones

  • Experiencing symptoms of depression, anxiety, paranoia or psychosis

  • Experiencing intense cravings, as well as withdrawal symptoms when those cravings are not indulged

  • Finding an inability to reduce or stop using the addictive substance

What does drug and alcohol counselling involve?

Drug and alcohol counselling operates like any other form of counselling, in which you consult a professional (either face-to-face, over video also known as telehealth, or via text chat) who can listen to your problems and help you develop healthy coping strategies for them.

The first session is when you and your counsellor discuss what you want from counselling and decide on some objectives. You will then work together in the following sessions to achieve those objectives and focus on the areas you wish to address.

How does drug and alcohol counselling help?

Drug and alcohol counselling provides evidence-based therapeutic individual, group, and family counselling interventions to support positive behavioural change in people. Recovery-oriented care is provided in collaboration with clients and their families.

The idea is that you and your loved ones are provided with long term strategies to help deal with addiction as a cohesive unit. 

Where should I go if I’m seeking drug and alcohol counselling?

If you are still unsure whether or not you require drug and alcohol counselling, it is important to consider the following: 

  • The substances that you consume

  • Whether you exhibit any of the signs of addiction

  • Any symptoms of withdrawal you may be experiencing

When choosing psychologists or counsellors pay attention to the following:

  • Their accreditations 

  • Main areas of interest and experience 

  • How much you are willing to spend for a psychologist or counsellors 

At Talked, we are passionate about making mental health support accessible to everybody. We aim to provide you with the tools you need to connect with qualified psychologists and counsellors easily and quickly. 

It is important that you assess different options to find a professional that suits your individual goals, regardless of whether you’re looking for counsellors or psychologists. 

All the psychologists and therapists on Talked are qualified, professionally trained and verified.

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