10 Ways Counseling Can Help You Reduce or Stop Drinking
At Silver Lining Counseling in Charlotte, I have been helping my patients reduce or stop problematic drinking for over 10 years. Counseling is extremely helpful because it can help you identify what is triggering your alcohol use, and can teach you healthy ways to cope with feelings and life stressors. Here are just some of the ways counseling can help you reduce or stop drinking.
1. Counseling can help you identify ways to reduce stress
Stress is probably the number one trigger that can lead to problematic alcohol use. Whatever the cause of the stress, stress can increase blood pressure, heart rate, and lead you to want to drink alcohol to relieve those feelings of stress. I can help you find healthy ways of managing your stress, whether that is setting boundaries in relationships, making changes at work, or using breathing and meditation techniques to reduce the physical feelings of stress.
2. Counseling can help you identify triggers that lead to drinking
Stress is not the only trigger that can cause someone to drink. Most people who are trying to cut down or stop drinking have internal and external triggers. Internal triggers are irrational or unhealthy thoughts or feelings that lead to drinking, and external triggers are things in our environment that trigger thoughts of drinking such as bars and restaurants, relationships, or time of day. It’s important that I help you identify your triggers so that you can avoid what you can, or change the way you are interacting and responding to triggers.
3. Counseling can help you express your feelings in healthy ways
A lot of people drink in order to escape uncomfortable feelings. However, drinking does not get rid of or resolve those feelings, it simply covers them up temporarily. Learning how to express your feelings in healthy ways is an important part of the recovery process. I can help you learn how to express your feelings in healthy ways so that your feelings don’t trigger you to drink.
4. Counseling can help you learn to think in more positive, healthy ways
Another really important part of substance abuse counseling is identifying irrational or unhealthy thought patterns that trigger uncomfortable feelings like shame or depression. I can help you identify unhealthy thoughts and then help you restructure them into healthy thoughts that lead to more reasonable and healthy feelings. This technique is known as cognitive behavioral therapy, and is one of the most well-known and well-studied counseling theories.
5. Counseling can help you learn coping skills to prevent drinking or drinking too much
Another part of substance abuse counseling that is very important, is developing coping skills that you can use in specific situations in order to prevent drinking or drinking too much. Many people have to be in situations where they are around alcohol, and this can be stressful and uncomfortable, especially if they are trying not to drink. I can help you identify ways to handle the situation in order to reduce the likelihood of drinking or drinking too much.
6. Counseling can help you identify if your drinking behavior is substance abuse or addiction
Addiction is a medical disease that develops after someone has been abusing substances and the brain starts to depend on the substance to feel normal. If you are unsure if you have addiction, I can help you evaluate your substance use behavior and help you identify if you have any symptoms of addiction. If you think you might have an addiction, it’s important to have an evaluation by a Licensed Addictions Specialist, like myself.
7. Counseling can help you examine your family history to see if there is any genetic predisposition to addiction
We now know that addiction is a genetic disease. People that have addiction in their family have a much higher chance of developing addiction, especially if one of their parents has struggled with addiction. Understanding your genetic predisposition gives you knowledge and power in making healthy decisions about your own substance use.
8. Counseling can help you identify other untreated mental health symptoms that might be underlying the addiction
Many people who are abusing substances or who have addiction also have a co-occurring mental health disorder like anxiety, depression, or bipolar disorder. Having another mental health disorder can make it difficult to cut down or stop drinking because the symptoms of the other disorder can trigger substance use. If you think you may have symptoms of another mental health disorder, it’s important to see a therapist who can treat both the mental health and substance abuse or addiction issues. I can help you manage the symptoms of mental health disorders, while also cutting down your drinking or stopping altogether.
9. Counseling can help you increase your self-worth and self-esteem
One of the most important things I do for my patients is help them increase their self-worth and self-esteem. Everyone deserves to feel valuable and worthy, regardless of the mistakes they have made. Not feeling worthy or good enough can lead you to turn to drinking again and again. I can help you increase your self-worth and self-esteem so that you can start to believe in yourself and know that you can meet your goals and live the life you want.
10. Counseling can help you increase your motivation and provide accountability
Research shows that it is important to have accountability if you are trying to cut down or stop drinking. I can help you find the motivation you need in order to meet your goals, and I can also provide accountability by following up with you each session on how you are progressing toward your goals. You are in charge of your goals and treatment plan, I am here to support you in meeting those goals.
I hope this article has been helpful in outlining the many ways that counseling can help you reduce or stop drinking. At Silver Lining Counseling in Charlotte, I address all of these 10 items and more in helping my patients reduce or stop drinking.
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