Dealing with an addiction is an emotionally and physically exhausting thing, not just for the person suffering from the addiction but also for their family members. Addiction is often a complicated and emotional topic for affected people, making it difficult to talk about. You may find the idea of finding an addiction therapist overwhelming or be afraid that you’ll end up finding the wrong one for you. But taking the step to find an addiction counselor is very important in your journey to living an addiction-free life. We’re here to help you learn more about your addiction and its effect on you and your family members, as well as to provide some insight on how you can find addiction therapists near you.
What Causes Addiction?
At its core, addiction is a problem that stems from the biology of our brains. Years of research on the topic have consistently found that addictive substances or actions for some people cause a change in how their brain operates. Our brains are wired with pleasure/reward circuits that release “happiness chemicals,” dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins, when we experience something positive, such as interacting with loved ones or exercising. But addiction therapists have found that things like drugs, alcohol, and gambling also stimulate our brain’s region responsible for distributing these chemicals.
Addictive habits end up hijacking your normal brain functions by rewarding your body with these chemicals when you participate in your addiction. “A common misperception is that addiction is a choice or moral problem, and all you have to do is stop. But nothing could be further from the truth,” says Dr. George Koob, director of NIH’s National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. “The brain actually changes with addiction, and it takes a good deal of work to get it back to its normal state. The more drugs or alcohol you’ve taken, the more disruptive it is to the brain.” Once your brain has been rewired by addiction, you’ve left craving more of whatever it is you’re addicted to continue stimulating your pleasure/reward circuit. And if you don’t give your brain what it is craving, making you feel anxious, depressed, or even physically ill. At this point, you are simply participating in your addiction to prevent feeling bad rather than receiving any pleasurable effects.
The Different Types of Addiction
Though addiction is most commonly associated with people who have problems with drugs or alcohol addiction, it can come in many forms, and addiction therapists have the tools to help address most addiction problems. People can also develop addictions to certain behaviors or interactions, such as gambling addiction, internet addiction, or sex addiction. A digital addiction, internet or otherwise, is just as serious as an addiction to drugs or alcohol. Addiction is characterized by a compulsion to use a substance or continue a behavior, despite any negative effects on themselves or their family members. It is also extremely difficult for users to control or quit their addiction, so seeking an addiction counselor is an important step to overcoming your problem.
How Can Addiction Affect Your Life?
No matter what addiction a person is struggling with, they will often find addiction has many negative effects on their lives. Most addicts don’t realize how their addiction changes their lives until their problem has gotten very serious. Addiction treatment will help to address your issues, which can include the following:
Digital addictions, such as internet addiction, can cause a range of health problems, from headaches to eyesight degeneration. For some people, the repeated use of drugs or alcohol can damage your prefrontal cortex, the part of your brain associated with decision-making. This is why it can often be difficult for those with an addiction to realize that they have a problem. “Brain imaging studies of people addicted to drugs or alcohol show decreased activity in this frontal cortex,” says Dr. Nora Volkow, director of NIH’s National Institute on Drug Abuse. “When the frontal cortex isn’t working properly, people can’t make the decision to stop taking the drug—even if they realize the price of taking that drug may be extremely high, and they might lose custody of their children or end up in jail. Nonetheless, they take it.” Even if you don’t think that you are experiencing any of these negative effects, it is important to seek an addiction counselor’s help to address your problem.
What Does an Addiction Therapist Do?
Addiction counseling is a way for you to learn about your addiction’s whys to help you learn how to remove it from your life. Many addictions stem from negative experiences in life, such as being raised by an alcoholic parent or being a trauma victim. An addiction counselor helps you create a long-term plan to find sobriety and sustain it. Addiction counselors do this by helping you learn how to share and process your feelings, find patterns between negative thoughts and behaviors, find and participate in healthy coping skills, and identify potential triggers. If you are also seeing your counselor in a family therapist capacity, they will bring you and your family together for sessions to help address how the entire family can cope. Your family therapist may also give the family tips on how to help you maintain your sobriety.
Different Addiction Therapist Options
There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all therapy plan, which is why addiction therapists specialize their treatment approach for each person. Your addiction counseling may involve someone that provides services as a one-on-one therapist, a marriage and family therapist, or a marriage and couples therapist.
This type of therapy allows you to work closely with your therapist to focus on the whys behind your addiction and help you find ways to cope with the side effects and avoid addiction.
If you have children in the home, a marriage and family therapist is a good option. Marriage and family therapists help you to examine how your addiction is affecting your family as a unit. Marriage and family therapists can also help address issues relating to how your family feels about you, allowing them to express their feelings in a safe and neutral environment.
Just because you have an addiction problem doesn’t mean you don’t deserve to be in a relationship or that it isn’t repairable. Marriage counseling and couples counseling are two options to help strengthen your relationship even while you’re dealing with your addiction issues. Marriage counselors can help address the relationship issues that stem from your addiction and help you build a stronger, more positive bond with your partner. Even if you aren’t married or living together, a couples therapist can help treat your partner’s ways of being affected by your addiction.
Seeing a family therapist is especially important, even if you don’t believe that your children realize what is going on. Kids are often much more observant than we give them credit for, and they might be confused about or afraid of what has been going on. A family therapist can help address these issues to ensure your home life is as stable as possible while continuing your addiction counseling journey.
Search for Addiction Therapists
Searching for addiction therapists can seem like a daunting task, but it is as easy as doing a search on your phone for therapists near you. If you have an internet addiction and try to avoid being online, enlist a trusted friend or family member. Take a look at the options, and once you have found one or more that you think will work for you, dig a little deeper to learn more. Does the addiction counselor have the proper education and licenses? Do they have any additional training specific to addiction counseling? How are their online reviews? What kind of treatment options do they offer? After you’ve answered these questions, give them a call to set up an initial appointment to see if you feel connected to one of the addiction counselors. There is a lot to be said about finding a therapist that you are comfortable with; if you aren’t comfortable, it’ll be more difficult for you to open up and reap the benefits of addiction therapy.
We hope that this article has helped you to learn how to search for an addiction therapist. If your schedule makes it difficult to fit in traditional therapy sessions, we at ReGain offer convenient online sessions with licensed mental health professionals that can be done from your computer, tablet, or phone, whenever it best suits your schedule. Finding the right addiction therapist starts with admitting that you have a problem. Only then can you seek addiction treatment and learn how to get away from whatever is causing these problems in your life and the lives of your family members.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can you be addicted to therapy?
In some instances, it is possible to be addicted to therapy.
This isn’t necessarily the same as a physical addiction to nicotine or illegal drugs. Still, it can negatively affect your mental health if you find yourself too dependent on therapy.
Before understanding addiction to therapy, we first need to understand the underlying reasons and what it seeks to achieve.
Therapy is generally when a mental health professional works with you at treatment centers (or, more commonly now, online) to understand your mental health better and help you work to live a happier and fuller life.
You may work with addiction counselors, addiction therapists, addiction psychologists, or other mental health professionals for diagnoses and more information about your concerns. From there, these mental health professionals and addiction therapists can help create a plan to improve your mental health, mood, and actions.
Therapy from a mental health professional is undoubtedly a good thing. If you have a therapist find underlying issues in your mental health or have a therapist find a creative solution to a problem, you will likely be incredibly thankful and happy.
Because they’re familiar with working in treatment centers, addiction counselors and addiction psychologists are often some of the best resources when overcoming a drug or alcohol addiction.
To find an addiction therapist near me, feel free to go to treatment centers and ask to meet some addiction counselors. Utilizing the internet is also a great way to find a professional for you, whether on the web or in person. Finding the right addiction counselor could make a massive difference in your life.
The negative side of therapy could start to occur if you become too reliant on mental health professionals, though. Even though working with addiction counselors, addiction therapists, addiction psychologists, and other mental health professionals is a good thing; you may develop the “best” addiction (sometimes referred to as the best addiction because it stems from a practice that isn’t seen as inherently harmful) of being addicted to therapy.
Best addiction is an oxymoron since any addiction is ostensibly a bad thing, at least to most people. However, this use of best addiction means that you are addicted to a positive exercise rather than a negative one.
This best addiction can still be damaging because therapy is meant to help you learn to help yourself. Ask any addiction counselor, addiction psychologist, or mental health professional, and they’ll all likely agree that their work isn’t done until the patient can be self-sufficient.
Even though addiction to therapy may be the so-called best addiction, it is still not something to dismiss. The ultimate goal of therapy is to allow you to be stable and happy by yourself, and relying solely on an addiction counselor, addiction psychologist, or another mental health professional is often not ideal long-term.
Can a therapist come to your house?
Nowadays, it is becoming more common for addiction counselors, addiction psychologists, and other mental health professionals to be more flexible.
In the past, an addiction counselor or addiction psychologist would typically stay primarily in their treatment centers. Their treatment centers would be a place that anybody could go to receive therapy in a controlled setting.
More recently, though, we’ve seen a shift in the way treatment works. Nowadays, treatment centers aren’t the only place that one can meet up with an addiction counselor, addiction psychologist, or other mental health professional.
Addiction counselors, addiction psychologists, and different therapists are now more flexible than ever in leaving treatment centers. They can provide care online or sometimes are even able to come to a patient’s home.
This type of in-home therapy can help a therapist find out more about the patient. Seeing the patient’s home and living quarters can help a therapist find out what makes the patient tick, and therefore better address their problems.
For some, being at home may not be the best. Addiction can be a very personal issue, and one may feel uncomfortable in their own home.
For others, being at home can allow them to better open themselves up to addiction psychologists and mental health professionals. It all depends on your personal preference and needs.
Luckily, you don’t need to be close to treatment centers to receive treatment in this day and age. We now have the luxury of in-home and online therapy to help a therapist find a treatment for you.
Can therapists be free?
Addiction psychologists and other mental health professionals generally cost money, but there are affordable and sometimes free options for those who need them.
Usually, a therapy session with an addiction psychologist will cost around $20-$50 with health insurance. These addiction psychologists and addiction counselors are well trained and therefore demand a decent cost.
Still, there are other options if you don’t have health insurance or cannot afford those options to see a mental health professional.
When looking for a cheap therapist:
How do I find a reliable therapist?
It can be challenging to find an addiction therapist near me. You may think it’s too complicated to find an addiction therapist, but in reality, it doesn’t have to be that hard to find an addiction therapist.
First and foremost, you can utilize online resources to find an addiction therapist or other mental health professional. Another way to find an addiction therapist is to find recommendations from family or friends.
Looking through the reviews and past experiences of other patients for any given professional can give you a better idea of their track record. You can also give a new therapist a few weeks to test things out; don’t feel like you have to commit to someone right off the bat.
No matter what, you’ll want to find an addiction therapist that understands your personality and is an excellent fit to help you kick your even your so-called best addiction.
Can you be too dependent on therapy?
It is indeed possible to become too dependent on therapy. If you find yourself seeing an addiction psychologist so often to the point that you can’t relax or destress by yourself, that could be a sign that you may be addicted to therapy.
Luckily, if you’re already working with an addiction psychologist, you can devise a plan to ease yourself off the therapy visits when appropriate or develop alternative methods for managing your symptoms.
The risk of becoming dependent doesn’t take away from the benefits of therapy, though. After all, if you have a therapist find a way to cure or help you manage your worst anxieties, for instance, it can be a great feeling.
But becoming too dependent on therapy can be harmful – the goal of therapy is usually to help you find ways to help yourself in the future.
The best addiction-focused or other mental health professionals are those who can teach you skills to help you manage your challenges on your own. The best addiction counselors also often encourage you to seek out new outlets for your emotions and stressors, another skill that’s important for maintaining mental health long-term.