Conventionally, counselling has been a primary source of treatment for drug addicts. Counselling can be done on an individual basis but it is more often found in a group setting. Training is offered to counsellors to develop recovery programs that help in reestablishing healthy behaviour in drug addicts. Counsellors should be well aware of how addiction can affect the whole person and the people around them. In a lot of situations, intervention is also related to counselling where people from the victims family request help from the counsellor.
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The first step of counselling is to make the patient realise the ill effects of drug addiction and break down the denial stage. Immediately after bringing out the patient from denial, the patient is taken to a rehabilitation centre for further treatment.
- Twelve-step programs: Addiction renders the individual powerless for his or her destructive behaviours and the patient is unable to remain sober by himself or herself. The twelve-step program helps the individual to admit their addiction, renounce their former lifestyle and seek a supportive social group that will help them in remaining sober.
- Smart recovery: Smart recovery founded by Joe Gerstein, emphasizes the human agency to help get rid of addiction and concentrates on self-reliance and self-empowerment. Open discussions, questioning decisions and helping form corrective measures are the core things of group discussions. Smart recovery is not a lifetime membership concept. People can choose to attend and leave meetings at their convenience.
- Client-centred approaches: Unconditional positive concern, genuineness, and accurate empathy are the three essential conditions for personal change. Any approach in counselling for drug addicts has to be as per the clients need and desires. Client-centred approaches are most effective in addiction treatment.
- Psychoanalysis: Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalysis theory suggests that the main cause of drug addiction is the unconscious need to meet different types of homosexual and perverse fantasies, and at the same time not wanting to be held responsible for them.
- Cognitive therapy: This therapy is based upon the assumption that addicted individuals have core beliefs that are often not in control of the conscious mind. These core beliefs could be depressive-like “I am not desirable”, which in turn activates the system of addiction and eventually ends up craving drugs.
- Emotion regulation: Psychoactive substances like nicotine and cocaine, activates psychopharmacological pathways, an emotion regulation approach that might be adequate for substance use.
- Acceptance and commitment therapy and mindfulness: This therapy is effective in treating substance use. Mindfulness programs that help in encouraging awareness among patients about their emotions and help to channelize them are a crucial part of therapy.
Despite the current efforts to battle the high rising problems of addiction, there have been cases where the clinics are found guilty of charging patients for treatment that do not ensure their recovery. This is a serious problem since there are several people claiming fraud in drug rehabilitation centers; however, there are several drug rehabilitation centers in Florida where this is not an issue.