Therapy for Substance Use Disorder

Getting sober is possible with the right support and resources.

It’s a disease. It’s not your fault. We can help.

It might feel like the craving for more never settles. There is a physiological change in the brain’s structure and function that literally drives you to consume more just to feel relief. It’s not your fault. Please stop blaming yourself. Society doesn’t understand the very real physical and mental pain associated with substance use and addiction, leading many people struggling to feel judged. You won’t be judged here. Recovery is possible but it requires a commitment to holistic treatment that addresses your entire relationship with substances, including what led to the initial use. Our treatment explores all aspects of your mental health journey so that you can sustain long-term sobriety. It is completely worth it. You CAN do this.

If you’re ready, we’re ready. It takes effort, but the benefits are life-changing.

What is Substance Use Disorder?

Substance Use Disorder (SUD) is a medical condition that involves the excessive and continued use of a substance, regardless of its effects on an individual’s mental and physical wellbeing. This can be an addiction to certain substances such as drugs, alcohol, and tobacco, as well as the misuse of prescription medications. The condition is associated with three primary factors: an inability to control the use of the substance, an impaired quality of life, and an increased risk of physical and mental harm to the user. Symptoms of SUD can be multifaceted and typically include compulsive patterns of use, recurrent crises, and an impairment in social functioning. However, each individual’s personal experiences with substance use will look different.

When the substance is alcohol, individuals are diagnosed with Alcohol Use Disorder, which involves compulsive, intense alcohol consumption despite negative consequences and can result in withdrawal symptoms when not taken in high doses, such as insomnia, irritability, and anxiety. Individuals who use other substances aside from alcohol will also have withdrawal symptoms that may vary depending on the type of substance consumed. It’s also important to note that some individuals struggle with consumption of both alcohol and other drugs. In addition, it’s very common for people who struggle with substance use to also experience clinical depression, anxiety, trauma, and other comorbid conditions. This is part of what makes substance use treatment so complex and it’s why each individual’s treatment must be highly tailored to their unique needs.

Anybody can struggle with substance use. Some common risk factors associated with substance use disorders include genetics, environment, ethnicity, gender and age. For instance, individuals with parents or siblings who have suffered from addiction have an increased probability of developing it themselves. Similarly, those who have experienced childhood trauma and/or who have been exposed to drugs or alcohol are at a higher risk of developing a substance use disorder. We want to be very clear that Substance Use Disorder is a genuine medical condition – NOT a character flaw or personal weakness. It’s so important to raise awareness and promote education on substance use so that we can remove stigmas and help people receive the treatment and support they need.

Having open, honest conversation about substance use can also help reduce shame among people who struggle with it. We understand that many people feel judged by society and that’s why we work so hard at River Oaks Psychology to provide treatment in the most compassionate, non-judgmental way. We want to be a part of your journey toward recovery and long-lasting health.

What are YOUR reasons for getting sober? 

How can therapy help with Substance Use?

Treatments for SUD are designed to reduce the severity of the disorder and help an individual obtain a healthier and more productive lifestyle. Therapy is an important tool for managing decisions, behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs surrounding substance use and has been proven to be effective for helping individuals reach a reduction in symptoms or complete sobriety if that is their goal.

Therapy might involve learning how to build coping skills, process emotions, strengthen relationships, heal from trauma, discover personal strengths, boost your capacity for wellness, and enhance your sense of control. We’ll talk about the role that substances play in your life, how you are coping currently, where you have been, and where you might want to go moving forward.

Specifically, cognitive behavioral therapy can be helpful to identify and analyze the harmful thoughts, behaviors, and emotions associated with substance use. It teaches individuals how to replace these thoughts and behaviors with more positive ones and encourages the development of more effective coping skills. Another type of therapy called motivational interviewing is a goal-directed counseling approach used to help individuals recognize and manage their substance abuse issues. It focuses on exploring and resolving ambivalence towards making lifestyle changes and emphasizes developing intrinsic motivation to reduce substance use.

Psychodynamic therapy is also helpful in the treatment of substance use. Psychodynamic therapy helps people gain insight into the motivations and underlying inner processes behind their substance use, so that they can develop healthier behaviors as a result. During treatment, individuals are encouraged to explore their thoughts and feelings about themselves, the world around them, and their decisions with regard to substance use. Through this process, a person is able to identify and resolve the root of the issues that led to the substance use and often realizes a deeper understanding of their own thoughts and feelings.

Therapy in general can also help individuals establish a strong recovery plan and navigate through the difficult adjustment period that often accompanies the process of healing. A therapist can help individuals reduce the triggers that lead to substance abuse, such as internal thoughts and external factors, and identify personal strengths that promote healthy lifestyles. Therapy also promotes the development of relapse prevention strategies, as well as provides support and guidance as individuals progress through their recovery. Even more importantly, therapy can help you remove any sense of self-blame or guilt that you may be harboring. You deserve to forgive yourself. It’s time to allow yourself to get better.

At River Oaks Psychology, we understand how difficult recovery is and we recognize that you may not be ready to make drastic changes in your life. That’s okay. We will never pressure someone to do something they are not ready for. We don’t tell people what to do. We will never judge you nor make assumptions about your experiences. Perhaps most importantly, we won’t require that you to stop using substances. That has to be your decision. Our job is to listen to YOUR goals and then help you achieve them.

Even if you’re not ready to pursue full sobriety, it’s so important to check in with a trusted professional to talk about your overall mental health. Having a safe space to be authentic can be particularly beneficial for those struggling with substance use because there is a lot of addiction-related stigmas in the world. It must be very painful if you have ever experienced social judgment for your substance use. You won’t experience that with us. We’ll compassionately listen to your story and empathize with what you’ve gone through. We’re on your side.