You didn’t start abusing alcohol or recreational drugs overnight. Substance use and abuse is a complex process that may involve genetics, epigenetics (i.e., your environment), and changes in your brain chemistry that cause you to crave the substance you’re trying to ditch.
You may also have begun to abuse substances as a way to self-medicate and deal with stressors over which you felt you had no control. At The Soho Center for Mental Health, our expert counselors take the time to get to know you and diagnose any other conditions that may underlie substance abuse, including depression, anxiety, and PTSD.
We offer substance abuse treatment at our offices in Greenwich Village, Manhattan, New York City, and may conduct some sessions online or over the phone with secure connections, too, depending on your preference and needs. Here’s what to expect.
You may be angry at yourself for having an addiction, and you may be surrounded by family members or friends who feel angry or disappointed in you, too. Our counselors understand that nobody ever wants to be addicted. We know that you’re looking for relief, so we help you find it in ways that are more supportive and nourishing.
We view you holistically, which means we consider your addiction in the context of your past or present traumas, challenges, and environment. We help you unlock why you developed substance abuse behavior in the first place, so that you understand how you’ve used it as a coping strategy and show you why and how you’ll eventually be able to let go of it.
One of the most effective ways to treat substance abuse is through a type of talk therapy called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). With CBT, you work with a therapist to identify emotions and strategies that aren’t currently serving you and that may be driving your substance abuse behavior.
You begin to find new ways of looking at and responding to the world. For instance, you start to recognize negative patterns in the way you perceive your environment, the people in it, and yourself. You then reframe those false and negative perceptions to be more positive and self-affirming.
As an example, common negative beliefs that may drive you to self-medication are, “I’m not good enough,” or “I’ll always be addicted.” Gradually, you replace that kind of negative, unhelpful, self-talk with more supportive statements, such as “I’m always learning and growing,” and “I’m on a journey to be substance-free.”
You may be surprised to learn that simple changes to your lifestyle may help you break your addiction to a substance. Exercise, for instance, elevates your mood through the production and release of natural hormones. Studies have shown that regular exercise can reduce drug-seeking behavior, particularly in men.
A healthy diet that consists of whole foods such as fresh vegetables and fruits helps to nourish your cells, including your brain cells. Even changing who you hang out with can help you break habits associated with substance abuse, such as partying with other abusers who are sure to offer you a drink or drug.
Although some addictions have a genetic component, if you make lifestyle changes that are significant, those changes actually remodel your DNA. Even if you inherited genes that predispose you to addiction, your recovery may make those genes obsolete because it changes the way they’re expressed.
Breaking an addiction isn’t easy. Although no medication currently available is a “magic bullet” for easing your cravings for your preferred substance, some medications take the edge off craving. Others may ease the symptoms of withdrawal.
However, you won’t use those medications long term, either. They’re simply a short-term way to help you — and your brain — transition to a substance-abuse-free state.
Your therapist supports you in your journey toward sobriety. If you’re in crisis, or face a new challenge, you can request a call from your therapist or schedule an extra session. If you ever feel overwhelmed or entertain ideas of suicide or self harm, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.
Don’t try to kick the habit yourself and then kick yourself for failing. Get the support and guidance you need to break free from the pattern of self-medication and learn strategies you you need to feel good about yourself again. Contact us with our online form, or call our friendly staff during office hours to schedule a consultation.
You can also choose teletherapy, which we conduct through confidential, affordable video/phone consultations.