Treating opioid dependence through counseling

Opioid dependence refers to psychological or physical dependence on opioids, which is a substance found in certain types of prescribed medications for pain and illegal drugs. According to statistics and data, more than 130 people in the country die due to an overdose of opioid. With numerous people seeking treatments for opioid dependence, counseling sessions or therapies can work equally good for many. Here is a brief overview of the need for counseling and types that can help treat opioid dependence. Need for counseling Opioid dependence is more than a physical dependence on the substance. In some cases, the person suffering from substance abuse and opioid dependence has a higher risk of relapse even after the detox. Relapse can occur due to numerous psychological and social factors. These include —

  • Stress- primarily sudden stresses in life
  • Social network – where the person meets peers who still have opioid dependence

Sometimes, counselors can refer to other resources to the person with opioid dependence. These include—

  • Care or case management
  • Education supports
  • Employment
  • Peer support groups
  • Faith-based groups
  • Spiritual groups
  • Hepatitis screening
  • HIV testing

Various types of counseling for treating opioid dependence It has been observed that several counseling therapies help in treating opioid dependence. No particular method is better than the other and likewise, there is no specific approach that works in treating opioid addiction through counseling therapies. Every therapy is personalized as per the individual opioid addiction and treatment requirements of the person. There are various types of opioid dependence counseling and these are as follows. Individual counseling The individual counseling includes different methods such as talking about setbacks of the person with opioid dependence, setting goals, and acknowledging and celebrating progress. There may be sessions where the person can also talk about issues faced at home with family or friends, legal problems, and the like. When it comes to opioid dependence, individual counseling can also include behavioral therapies such as:

  • Motivational enhancement therapy This type of therapy helps in building motivation, which in turn assists the person with opioid dependence to stick to the treatment process.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy Cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, helps in recognizing and stopping negative thoughts and moods and behavioral patterns that might trigger opioid cravings. A CBT therapist would teach the person how to control or avoid these triggers using coping skills. Cognitive-behavioral therapy assists in changing the thought process, causing the person to detach him or her from opioid dependence and also teaches how to manage stress and stay clean. A powerful treatment, the skills that the person learn from CBT can last a lifetime. Not every therapist is trained in CBT, therefore it is recommended to consult a trained CBT therapist who can assist in the best possible way.
  • Contingency management This therapy focuses on offering incentives for positive behavior, as a result, contingency management may help people with opioid dependence to stay off the substance.

Group counseling This type of counseling helps in making the person feel that they are not alone with their issues. The person is more likely to be supported by peers who are going through the same issues of opioid dependence. Moreover, the therapy includes success stories of people who face similar challenges, which in turn helps the person with opioid dependence learn about new strategies to deal with various situations during the treatment plan. Family counseling Family counseling includes therapies for spouses or partners and other members of the family close to the person with opioid dependence. The therapy helps in improving or repairing family relationships.