Is Alcohol Counseling What I Need?
Have you been experiencing challenges relating to drinking and wondering if alcohol counseling might help? If so, you’re not alone. Alcohol is one of the most commonly consumed substances available. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), in 2021, 60 million people over the age of 12 qualified as past-month binge drinkers (per the 2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH).
If you’re experiencing concern about alcohol use, you don’t have to face it alone. Help is available through numerous avenues, including through alcohol counseling—both in person and online. Alcohol counseling may help you overcome the symptoms of alcohol use and regain a sense of wellness and peace of mind.
Below, we’ll discuss alcohol use, signs of potential excess use, and the ways that alcohol counseling may benefit you.
Signs Of Excessive Alcohol Use
The Centers for Disease Control recommends that women not have more than one drink per day and that men not have more than two per day. Binge drinking is considered four or more drinks consumed on one occasion (over two to three hours) for women and five or more for men. Heavy drinking consists of eight or more drinks per week for women and 15 or more drinks per week for men.
If you are experiencing difficulty controlling your drinking or if you have tried to stop without success, you might consider trying alcohol counseling. The following are some signs that you may benefit from talking to an alcohol counselor:
- You are missing work due to alcohol or other substances.
- You have no memory or lapses of memory of the time while you were drinking.
- You drink to relieve stress or depression.
- You have withdrawal symptoms if you don’t drink.
- You hide your drinking from others.
- You lie about your alcohol consumption.
- Your relationships are negatively impacted by your drinking.
- You have physical signs of addiction, such as jaundice or fatty liver disease.
- You have been in an accident related to alcohol use.
- You have been arrested for being inebriated.
What Is An Alcohol Counselor?
An alcohol or substance use counselor is a mental health professional trained in helping those with alcohol or substance use challenges. They can provide treatment options for those who need it, including alcohol treatment programs and substance abuse treatment.
What Can An Alcohol Counselor Do For Me?
Because excessive alcohol use can affect everyone in different ways, treating alcohol addiction can be a unique process tailored to the individual. You may benefit from not only an alcohol counselor but also a physician to monitor your health. Alcohol counselors provide several services, including:
- Helping you understand addiction
- Working with you to help you obtain and keep a job
- Helping you build a reliable support system
- Working with you to make plans and goals to improve your life
- Working with your loved ones to help them heal, as alcohol addiction can affect the people in your life
Types Of Alcohol Counseling Treatments
Since alcohol addiction can affect everyone differently, treatment programs may be specific for each person. Qualified alcohol counselors can assess you to determine what treatment programs might be suitable for you. It may take more than one type of treatment. Many people experiencing addiction have successfully implemented two or more treatment plans, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and contingency management. Also, many people continue to use group therapy throughout their lives to maintain their sobriety. Some alcohol addiction programs include:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Also referred to as CBT, this treatment aims to help you recognize negative thoughts that may lead you to drink. For example, you may experience some negative self-talk. These negative thoughts may entice you to drink. A therapist may help you turn these negative thoughts into positive thoughts. By helping you see the connection between your thoughts and actions, a therapist may help you avoid your triggers.
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy: This type of therapy is a form of CBT originally used for treating borderline personality disorder. It has been shown to work with addiction as well, using CBT exercises and others. Some of these include distress tolerance, emotion control, interpersonal effectiveness, and mindfulness.
- Contingency Management: Contingency management often uses little incentives to give you a bonus to remain sober. When you pass certain milestones, such as 30 days of not drinking, your counselor may provide you a small token or gift to celebrate it and congratulate you.
- Motivational Interviewing: Motivational interviewing tends to work in different stages to help treat you on your terms. The therapist may first determine where you stand on your alcohol use. If you do not think it is a problem, the counselor may ask you questions about some of the incidents that brought you to them. This type of treatment can take some time since the counselor typically lets you set the time table.
- Group Counseling: Other individuals can sometimes provide a support system if they are going through similar challenges. During group counseling, you may gain valuable insight, which is sometimes easier to accept from your peers than from a counselor or therapist.
What Kind Of Treatment Program Is Right For Me?
The type of substance use treatment that is right for you may depend on why you use alcohol, what your triggers are, and how much you drink, among other specifics. There are substance use treatment programs for all types of addictions, and while they can all be effective, some may be more effective than others for certain types of addiction. A counselor may help you figure out the best treatment program for you.
How Can I Find Substance Use Treatment?
If you are experiencing challenges with alcohol use, you can search for a treatment facility or counselor in your local community. However, if you are concerned about being seen at a local treatment program or alcohol counselor’s office, you might search for an online counselor. Online therapy for substance use has been found to be effective in helping people make positive behavioral changes.
With an online counseling platform like Regain, you can go online and answer a few questions, and you’ll be matched with an online counselor according to your needs. You can connect with a counselor via audio or video chat at a time that works for your schedule. Also, Regain allows you to contact your therapist 24/7 via in-app messaging, and they’ll get back to you as soon as they can. This may be helpful if you experience cravings or other concerns in between sessions.
Alcohol use can feel overwhelming and frightening, but you don’t have to face it alone. If you’d like to discuss your situation with a professional, you can search for a counselor in your community or speak with a counselor online. With online therapy at Regain, you can be matched with a licensed counselor with experience helping people facing challenges with alcohol and substance use. Take the first step toward the wellness and freedom you deserve and reach out to Regain today.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What Is Considered The Most Effective Treatment For Alcohol Use Disorder?
Alcohol and drug counseling is a large branch of therapy that includes many treatment modalities. There is not one singular “most effective treatment” for drug and alcohol use. Instead, alcohol counselors can work with you to determine which services might suit your unique situation and challenges.
Alcohol counselors may utilize multiple types of treatments to provide holistic counseling. Below are some of the most common counseling services that alcohol counselors use:
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) tends to focus on the relationship between thoughts and behaviors. A counselor may be able to help you identify negative thoughts that may be leading you to consume alcohol.
- Contingency Management. This type of alcohol and drug counseling tends to provide incentives to help a person continue being sober. After a person reaches a milestone, such as 30 days of sobriety, a counselor may give the person a token or another reward to commemorate the achievement, which helps some people continue to stay sober.
- Group Counseling. Group counseling brings together individuals experiencing similar challenges, such as alcohol use. Connecting with a group of peers going through the same challenges can be helpful for some individuals as they stop drinking and continue to remain sober.
What Does It Mean To Be A Recovering Alcoholic?
Being a recovering alcoholic generally means that you are actively working toward maintaining sobriety. Recovering alcoholics may experience drug and alcohol use concerns simultaneously.
There are many different programs individuals can turn to for help when becoming sober. You can speak with a medical professional or alcohol counselor to learn about the different alcohol counseling services available.
What Does CADC Stand For In Counseling?
CADC stands for Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor. Depending on the state, to obtain this title, a counselor must complete education requirements and a certain number of work hours in the field of alcohol and substance use counseling.
Can A Doctor Tell If You Drink Alcohol?
Doctors have different ways of determining if you had recently ingested a substance, whether alcohol or a specific substance.
Things like a carbohydrate-deficient transferrin test can look for biomarkers that indicate alcohol consumption. Additionally, longer-term diseases, such as jaundice or fatty liver disease, are often clear signs of alcohol abuse or chronic consumption.
A doctor may recommend alcohol and drug counseling if they deem it appropriate. In general, you can communicate openly with your doctor about your consumption of alcohol. They may know of alcohol counselors or programs that tend to help people.
How Can I Tell If I’m An Alcoholic?
If you think you may be experiencing alcoholism, a trained alcohol counselor may be able to help determine if you are drinking in excess and if you are experiencing dependance.
Below are some signs that may indicate alcohol dependence:
- Missing work or family responsibilities due to drinking
- Not remembering the time you’ve spent drinking
- Needing alcohol to relax or destress
- Having withdrawal symptoms (irritability, a hard time sleeping, etc.) if you aren’t consuming alcohol
- Hiding or lying about your drinking
- Experiencing relationship concerns as a result of drinking
- Experiencing accidents or arrests related to intoxication
If you are experiencing difficulty with drinking, you don’t have to face it alone. You can speak with a licensed counselor in your community or connect with a counselor online. Also, it may be helpful to discuss your experience with other people, whether through a local group or an online group.
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