Counseling For 

Drug Addiction | Alcohol Abuse & 

Other Addictive Behaviors

Oakland | Berkeley | Alameda

San Francisco Bay Area | CA

What is drug addiction?
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA):

Drug addiction is a chronic disease characterized by compulsive, or uncontrollable, drug seeking and use despite harmful consequences and changes in the brain, which can be long lasting. These changes in the brain can lead to the harmful behaviors seen in people who use drugs. Drug addiction is also a relapsing disease. Relapse is the return to drug use after an attempt to stop.
 

The path to drug addiction begins with the voluntary act of taking drugs. But over time, a person's ability to choose not to do so becomes compromised. Seeking and taking the drug becomes compulsive. This is mostly due to the effects of long-term drug exposure on brain function. Addiction affects parts of the brain involved in reward and motivation, learning and memory, and control over behavior.  Addiction is a disease that affects both the brain and behavior.”

Treatment for Drug Addiction

How I can help -
A compassionate and non judgmental approach to drug and alcohol addiction treatment.  Unfortunately, many people when they seek drug treatment and alcohol treatment experience being shamed, blamed and are told they have defective characters. This is so unhelpful.  I work with you to develop a personalize approach to help you achieve the quality of life you truly want and to have an amazing relationship with yourself and others.

Drug addiction is a complex chronic relapsing disease that requires comprehensive treatment.  Despite popular belief a person who is addicted to drugs or alcohol cannot simply stop using drugs or alcohol through will power and simply because s/he wants to.  The most effective drug addiction treatment and alcohol treatment addresses all of the person’s needs not just their drug or alcohol use.

Counseling for Drug Addiction and Alcohol Problems

The counseling process:

  • Exploring attitudes and behaviors as they relate to drug and alcohol use and other addictive behaviors
     

  • Understand the complex interactions between the emotional and physiological systems impact and contribute to the use of drugs and alcohol.
     

  • Develop distress tolerance skills and effective coping skills

 

  • Identification and treatment of other mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders and trauma that contribute to person’s drug and alcohol addiction/use.

How much does a drug and alcohol counseling session cost?

Click fees to find out more and what you get for your fee.

Two Drug Treatment Philosophies:

The first philosophy is called the Abstinence Model.
In this model the person is required to stop using drugs or alcohol and to remain drug and alcohol free in the long term:

The second philosophy is called the Harm Reduction Model. 

In this model the person is not required to stop using drugs or alcohol but instead the person engages in a set of practical strategies, ideas and behaviors aimed at reducing the negative consequences of drug and alcohol use.

Components of Drug and Alcohol Treatment

The Abstinence Model


Detoxification
This is the process and period of time in which the body removes the drug(s) through metabolizing them thus clearing or cleaning out the drugs or alcohol from the body’s system along with the effects of the drugs or alcohol.

There are basically two types of Detoxification:

  1. Medically Supervised:
    This involves a team of doctors and mental health professionals overseeing the detoxification process.  Sometimes medications are administered to the person to help with the painful symptoms and possible medical complications that can arise from the detoxification process. 
     

  2. Clinically Managed (also known as “social” detox):
    This can involve just the physical space for the detoxification process to occur or the physical space plus peer and other types of professional support to assist the person through the detoxification process.


Detoxication is the beginning step in drug treatment process.  It is not a stand alone treatment for drug addiction.  Most individuals who only complete detoxification and do not continue with the treatment process return to drug and alcohol use.

Medication management

This is involves to use of medications as prescribed by a physician to assist with withdrawal symptoms, help prevent relapse, help return the brain to normal functioning, treat other mental health conditions such as depression.

The Harm Reduction Model

Detoxification
There is no detoxification in this model as the person is not required to stop using drugs or alcohol.

Counseling for Drug Addiction and Alcohol Problems Using the Harm Reduction Model


The counseling process:

  • Works to obtain a change in the quality of life for individual that doesn't not necessarily include abstinence from drugs or alcohol.

 

  • Explore attitudes and behaviors as they relate to drug and alcohol use and other addictive behaviors

 

  • Acknowledges the impact of poverty, class, racism, marginalization, past trauma, discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation and other social issues that impacts a person’s vulnerability to and capacity for effectively deal with negative consequences and harm that result from drug use.

 

  • The very real negative consequence, extreme harm and danger associated with drug and alcohol addiction are not ignored.

  • Develop distress tolerance skills and effective coping skill

  • Identification and treatment of other mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders and trauma that contribute to person’s drug and alcohol addiction/use.

Treatment For Process Addictions or Behavioral Addictions

While there is debate about whether certain behaviors can be addictive such as food or sex it is clear that there are people whose lives have been severely negatively impacted due to the uncontrollable use of or engagement in behaviors such as sex and gaming/internet use.

Of the process addictions or behavioral addictions only Gambling Addiction or Gambling Disorder is currently in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders.

Sex addiction, Risky Behavior Addiction and Video Game Addiction/Internet Addiction and Shopping Addiction have not been classified as mental health disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders.  Additionally, there is great ongoing debate regarding these issues. 

However, it is clear that many people if they do not receiving counseling for these behaviors when these behaviors are out of control,  experience the same negative consequences as someone who has an addiction.  These negative consequences include significant decrease in their functioning, isolation, problematic interactions with friends, partners, family, decrease performance at work and engagement in activities that put themselves and others at risk financially and health wise such as sexually transmitted infections.

Counseling for Process Addictions or Behavioral Addictions -How I can help
We work to identify other mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders and trauma that contribute to a person’s problematic use of sex, shopping, high risk behaviors in an effort to deal with difficult emotions and life's problems in general. 

Often these out of control behaviors are the result of past traumatic experiences that have not be treated or effectively treated.  Examples of past traumatic experiences that lead to addictive behaviors include but are not limited to: sexual abuse, physical abuse, witnessing domestic violence, community violence, neglect, bullying, religion abuse and difficulty accepting one's sexual orientation.

PHOTO DISCLAIMER: This site makes use of licensed stock photography. All photography and photos are for illustrative purposes only.  All persons depicted are models and does not imply a mental health diagnosis.

 © 2019 by John Edwards.