Addiction Therapists

Do you feel your teen is struggling with an addiction and may be in need help from a professional addiction therapist? This article helps define addiction therapists, explains different types of addiction therapy, and offers tips on choosing an addiction therapist.

In many cases, addiction is something that a teenager cannot overcome on his or her own. Indeed, addiction is a powerful thing. It is a condition in which the body actually needs something in order to function at something approaching a normal level. Addiction is also characterized by very intense cravings. In some cases, the cravings can actually be painful. As a result, it is almost impossible for many teenagers (and adults, for that matter) to overcome an addiction without help. One way to get help for an addiction is to seek the help of a specialized therapist.

What is an addiction therapist?

Addiction therapists aren’t just psychologists and other counselors that try to help you overcome an addiction. Rather, an addiction therapist is a specialist that has trained in techniques specific to overcoming substance abuse issues, and other addictions. If you are looking for someone who has experience with helping others overcome addiction, you can turn to an addiction therapist to help.

Different types of addiction therapy

Most addiction therapists are well versed in the different methods that can be used to help you build up the willpower to overcome a dependence. These types of therapy usually include one or both of the following elements:

  1. Cognitive/Behavioral modification: This type of therapy focuses on helping you modify your behaviors. You want to change your addiction behaviors and replace them with more positive habits. An addiction therapist with experience in this area can suggest ways to help you keep your mind off of the subject of your addiction, as well as control cravings. Additionally, there are techniques you can use, such as chewing a stick of gum when you feel like having a cigarette, or going for a walk with a friend when you feel a craving for a drug.
  2. Pharmacological addiction treatment: Sometimes, it can help to take specially developed drugs to help you combat addiction. This is true of some of the harder drugs, as well as when addressing some addictions like smoking (through the use of stepped-down nicotine treatment). There are some compounds that block the parts of the brain related to cravings. This can help you overcome addiction, and there are therapists who are trained in the use of pharmacological means to help patients get through an addiction.

In many cases, though, addiction therapists will use a combination of the two techniques. It is quite common to reinforce pharmacological methods of addiction treatment with behavioral modification techniques. This way, as the patient slowly steps down use of the pharmacological treatment, he or she can continue to use behavior modification to keep ahead of the addiction. Likewise, in some cases addiction therapists find that they can provide crucial support for teen behavior modification techniques with some small, well-judged help from legal substances.

Choosing an addiction therapist

When choosing amongst addiction therapists, the most important thing is to find someone you can trust. You want a therapist that you are comfortable with, and whom you trust to help you. That should be the first thing you look for. You can have short consultations with different therapists to see who you “click” with.

Also important to consider is experience and specialty. While addiction therapists are all trained in techniques to battle substance abuse, you might find that some therapists have more experience with some substances than with others. While you can usually get the help you need from any specialist, you might be inclined to choose someone who has worked with your specific addiction in the past.

Finally, of course, you have to consider the cost. Some addiction therapists work at clinics, or for agencies, and can provide their services at lower costs. Other therapists are more expensive, charging high rates. Before choosing one of these, it is a good idea to make sure you can afford the treatment (if not, look to a state agency for help), and to check into the success rate of patients treated. You can get recommendations from your physician, or go to a local social services agency for referrals to addiction therapists who are likely to fall within your price range.

Bottom line: Overcoming an addiction can be tough. You are more likely to succeed if you have help and support. Addiction therapists can help you in this way, by providing you with good suggestions, as well as support when you need it.

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