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Substance Abuse and Addiction Recovery

Substance Abuse, Eating Disorders & other Addictions (Gambling, Shopping, Porn etc.) 

You never intended for this to get out of hand. Maybe you started using this behavior socially because it was what people did. Or maybe you’ve been around it for as long as you can remember, and it seems that there’s never been a time when it wasn’t around in one way or another. Whether you: smoke, drink, use prescription drugs, binge on food, starve yourself, shop beyond your means, are addicted to porn or gaming to get through the day - it isn’t working for you anymore. Substance abuse and addiction counseling is available to help you figure out what happened so that you have the clarity to move forward when you’re ready.

Maybe you’ve been hearing it from the people in your life for a while now…

You need to slow down, it’s getting in the way of work or relationships. You might not be able to see how your self-destructive behavior and choices are holding you back, but the people you love may have distanced themselves because of it. Using your destructive behavior of choice might be a way of coping with dissatisfaction at work, home, or in relationships, but now you’re ready to try turning it around and getting back on track.  You’ve already tried to do so, yes?  Not to worry, everything you’ve tried up until now still counts, but you need someone in your corner, with expertise and a never-give-up approach that will help you turn the corner.

Dr. Jane Baxter will meet you where you’re at…

Whether you’re at a point where you’re not sure if your use is a problem, or you know it is and are ready for a change, I will meet you where you’re at. As a result of our collaboration, you will learn healthy coping skills, identify your personal strengths, and build confidence so that when you’re ready, you will be successful. I am here to be a support in your life and to help you sort through the pieces and find the path forward. I use a combination of evidence-based therapies: Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) used for tolerating the distress generated by cravings, and Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), used for changing the dialogue in your head that leads to shifting from negative behaviors to positive ones.  Both are widely studied approaches that have been found to be effective in treating a variety of problems, including managing addictive behaviors, through the use of:

  • Cognitive Restructuring or Disputing Irrational Beliefs
  • Emotional Regulation
  • Mindfulness Practice
  • Moderate Drinking Training for Problem Drinkers
  • Relaxation and Meditation Practice
  • Communication Skills Training
  • Relapse Prevention

Who is appropriate for this type of substance abuse/addiction treatment?

Individuals who are experiencing life problems due to their addictive behaviors are appropriate for this type of outpatient, weekly therapy. The negative choices may be impairing relationships, job performance, health, and/or a general sense of well-being. For those who require detoxification due to withdrawal symptoms, it is essential that a period of closely monitored inpatient treatment and/or a period of residential treatment be completed prior to outpatient therapy.

Do I have to go to 12-step meetings while in therapy?

That is completely up to you! Many individuals state that 12-step meetings are helpful when trying to stop drinking, as they provide a positive support group. However, AA, OA, GA etc. is not for everyone.  In fact, there are many other options including SMART Recovery and Women for Sobriety meetings, as well other supportive, psycho-educational groups for those interested.

Once my problem behavior is under control, will my treatment be complete?

This question again depends on each person. For some, the problem behavior is the primary problem, and relationships, job performance, and overall mental and physical health improve once that is under control. For others, the negative behavior is symptom, an unhealthy coping skill or a way of “self-medicating” for underlying issues of trauma,depression, anxiety, and general problems with regulating emotions. These issues can also be addressed with coping skill development from DBT, CBT and psychodynamic therapies, and they will be treated along with the addiction issues, as treating one will have a positive effect on the other.

Is there any hope for me to have lasting behavior change?

Yes! It does take hard work and a willingness to practice strategies outside of the therapy session, including journaling, mindful monitoring of behavior, and challenging your own “self talk;” however, there is research that demonstrates the effectiveness of the above behavior change strategies to develop a moderate drinking or an abstinence approach. Relapse prevention strategies and periodic therapy “booster sessions” can increase one’s chance of success even more.  The strategies will help you cope with your triggers to problem drinking, so you can effectively cope with strong emotions, social situations, stress and conflict without self-medicating.

Dr. Jane Baxter provides services in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. If you want to find out more about how you can heal your self-destructive behavior(s) contact Dr. B via email: janebaxterphd@gmail.comor 202-744-4381; she will discuss any questions or concerns you may have about addiction counseling.

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