It’s common for people in long-term recovery to question the significance of continuing therapy once they feel that they no longer need help. Substance use disorder and addiction are lifetime illnesses that may be managed with proper use of coping skills and emotional support. But these issues are chronic and can be triggered by stress, depression, trauma and other factors.
When you relapse, it not only affects your overall daily functioning; it also impacts everyone that cares about and relies on you. We all matter to someone. Your actions affect other people, and don’t forget your pet(s). If something were to happen to you, what would they do? They can’t call someone for help. We have an obligation to take care of ourselves so that we can take care of others. Even if you think you might not need any more help or that you’re “good” in recovery, here are just a few reasons why you should continue working with a mental health professional.
Therapy Can Prevent Relapse
Life’s always changing. Unexpected things happen all the time. Imagine if someone said a few years ago most of humanity would be ordered to undergo a massive lockdown and the world would pause; would you have believed them? in recovery, unexpected events can lead to traumatic triggers even long after your symptoms and cravings have largely subsided.
Data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) indicates that risk factors of which a therapist may take notice include changes in sleeping and eating patterns, anger, adjustment issues, feelings of anxiety and guilt without knowing why, fatigue, thoughts of self-harm or hurting others and depression. Long-term therapy in addiction recovery can help you address these issues as they emerge; it can provide a lifelong behavioral safety net.
It Helps Manage Trauma and Potential Triggers
Many people develop substance use disorder after attempting to self-medicate for trauma. Doing so can also cause mental illness and/or worsening of psychiatric symptoms. Addiction can creep up slowly and triggers are not always easily identified. New triggers can appear that weren’t issues before. Speaking with a mental health professional and/or doctor allows you to confront them in a safe environment with someone whom you trust that knows your history.
Once you reach a certain point in the therapeutic process, you will better understand why you feel the way you do. This will help you to overcome trauma which will decrease your chances of using again during your recovery. According to The Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research, the majority of people who seek treatment for substance use disorder have past experiences of violence, abuse or neglect.
Therapy In Addiction Recovery Can Help Sort Out Family Issues
We never stop having to navigate new obstacles in family dynamics, and many “new” issues, can simply be manifestations of old problems (a fight with a sibling, parental judgment, etc.). Even if we know these issues are pain points, they can still come up unexpectedly and potentially trigger old urges to cope with them in an unhealthy way. Therapy in addiction recovery offers consistent replenishment of healthy coping mechanisms for when family problems emerge. On the opposite of the coin, it also helps us stay present within our family unit, and minimize the potential for family dysfunction, such as estrangement or child custody issues.
Helping You Navigate Relationships
Relationships can be hard in recovery for a variety of reasons. There are many factors related to the process that can be a source of tension in your dating and social circle, whether it’s your inability to be around alcohol or simply expecting someone to “sit tight” while you navigate some of the fallout from your active substance use. It’s hard for people to understand your journey and it can be hard for you to trust others enough to be part of it. When we’re at odds with our friends or have a sour romantic experience, it can be hard to get out of our own heads to address them in a healthy way.
Relationship issues never go away, and it’s important that you always have a means to cope so they don’t suddenly threaten your long-term recovery. Therapy can help you talk about what you’re feeling honestly and contextualize your emotions so you’re more self-aware and better able to process your difficult relationship experiences.
Humans are social beings, and we need each other. Personal relationships have a positive impact on our physical and mental health. According to research published by the American Psychological Association (APA), social relationships affect the immune system, coping skills and stress levels. There is a strong connection between the mind and body and they often influence each other.
Cutting Back on Therapy in Addiction Recovery
You may reach a stage in your recovery when you can explore how to safely decrease sessions. It’s not uncommon in counseling to attend more often at the start of treatment and eventually scale down to weekly or bi-weekly appointments. However, this must be done in a safe way. If you do decide to change the course of therapy, you should be given a safety plan and other resources to refer to in case you need assistance. It’s important that you do this gradually, as you may end up unprepared should a stressor impact your sobriety. If you’re concerned about paying for therapy, your insurance will likely cover at least some level of care.
Starting Your Therapy Journey at Recovery Unplugged
Therapy in addiction recovery often begins in treatment. If you or someone you care about is struggling with addiction, you need either inpatient or outpatient behavioral rehab to help you address the root causes and sustaining factors associated with your substance use. This will include modalities like group therapy, individual counseling and supplemental therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy, TMS and more.
Recovery Unplugged offers comprehensive therapy for addiction recovery and integrates music into the process to help you or your loved one more readily embrace treatment. Once you complete your program with us, our expert therapists and counselors will refer you to an addiction-trained mental health professional in your area so you can keep the process going. Therapy is a cornerstone of the recovery process and we’re here to help you start off on the right foot. Contact Recovery Unplugged to get the help you need now.