How does counseling help with addiction?
Addictive substances such as opioid drugs and alcohol, change the way the brain experiences pain and pleasure. The brain likes feeling pleasure, and the hormones used to create a feeling of pleasure are very addictive.
The use of opioids and alcohol causes the body to overproduce these hormones. The brain quickly develops a tolerance to the increased levels of “happy hormones” and needs an increasing amount to feel happy/pleasure.
If the brain does not receive an ever-increasing amount of these hormones, the individual begins to experience pain and withdrawal symptoms. Many individuals quickly fall into a downward spiral of using substances to stop the pain.
One-on-one counseling and group therapy use techniques to help reverse the substance’s adverse effects on the brain. However, using these substances for an extended amount of time, the effects may not be reversible. Counseling then focuses on how to cope with these changes by establishing game plans to avoid relapsing and, most importantly, how to feel pleasure again without the use of substances.