I’ve seen many therapists in my life, but I’ve been with my current one for by far the longest. Not coincidentally, she is the therapist I’ve seen throughout my sobriety. It’s very difficult to focus on your mental health when you’re drinking or using. The work starts when you get sober—and therapy is an important tool in that work.
How Does Therapy Help People Stay Sober?
Many of us in recovery used substances to cope with trauma, co-occurring mental health disorders, or difficult emotions. Working with a therapist long-term can help you figure out the reasons you turned to substances and practice healthier coping. If you are one of the 90% of people in recovery who have experienced a trauma, talking about it with a therapist can help you process it.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is common in addiction treatment, because it helps people identify and change negative thought patterns. The philosophy of CBT is that thought patterns lead directly to behaviors; a destructive thought cycle can be the precursor to destructive behaviors like drinking or using.
If you have a co-occurring mental health disorder, treating it will help your recovery. Many people who aren’t being properly treated for a mental health disorder self-medicate with drugs or alcohol.
What Are the Benefits of Therapy?
There is still stigma around seeking therapy, even though its value is immense and far-reaching. 2010 research by the American Psychological Association found that people continue to reap benefits from therapy even after they’ve stopped going.
A 2014 Jama Psychiatry study found that people with depression are more likely to improve with a combination of therapy and medication, as opposed to just medication. Data from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health showed that among people at risk for suicide, even a few sessions lower that risk.
Who Should Go to Therapy?
Therapy is not just for people in addiction recovery. 1 in 4 people worldwide experience a mental health disorder. But therapy is beneficial for everyone, even those who don’t have a substance use or mental health disorder. It builds self-awareness. It gives people healthy strategies for coping with challenges. It can improve communication and help people build healthy relationships.
How Can I Find Affordable Therapy?
Mental health treatment is often thought of as being expensive, which can be a barrier for those seeking it. But there are ways to find affordable therapy. Check with your insurance provider to find therapists or therapy programs that are in-network. Many therapists also offer sliding scale fees, so be sure to ask if you find a therapist you like.
There are also services at local community health centers; many offer sliding scale, low-cost, or even free mental health treatment. Teletherapy is generally less expensive than in-person—and, as many of us have learned during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s still beneficial.
Mental health is as important as physical health—caring for both will improve your quality of life.
If you are struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder, there is hope. Amatus Recovery Centers offers high-quality treatment for addiction and mental health disorders in facilities across the country. We offer several types of therapy to help you process the underlying reasons you used substances and build healthy coping skills. Call an admissions specialist at 410-593-0005.