Physical connections create pathways in the brain that can be altered when we learn something new. These changes to the brain can be seen with medical imagery. With long term difficult things like learning to play a musical instrument, these changes can be permanent. Addiction is a learned behavior that changes the brain as well. The brain becomes conditioned to want the substance. Through counseling and other behavioral modification we can actually, in some cases, change the brain physically. By changing our environment, starting a new job, new hobbies and friends, all will alter our brain in some way. It is possible to undo some of the changes that occurred while addicted. Therapy will recondition the brain closer to pre-addiction status. This will better prepare the patient for a time when they may no longer require medication.
Medication alone can reduce cravings and withdrawal, but recovering from an addictive disorder requires a rewiring of the brain and medication alone is not enough. Attention to eliminating things in life that cause stress or depression will help minimize the chance of relapse. Disassociating with friends who are in active addiction can be difficult but very necessary. An experienced counselor/therapist will be able to teach other techniques that will further help undo some of the brain changes and conditioned learning that occurred while becoming and once addicted.
It is important to find a counselor/therapist that is skilled in treating patients that employ medications in their treatment. Some counselors still dismiss the science behind addiction medicine because they may have been able to successfully end their addiction without it. They sometimes zealously focus on the singular approach that helped them and as a result may not be providing the best care for an individual who may require medication. It pays to find a counselor with a modern evidence-based philosophy of addiction treatment.
Counseling/therapy helps the patient rebuild relationships, repair finances, get a job, assume family responsibilities, decrease stress, anxiety and depression, and helps the patient make other meaningful changes in their lives that will allow them to achieve and maintain addiction remission. See: Behavior Modification and the Brain
To suppress the debilitating symptoms of cravings and withdrawal, enabling the patient to engage in therapy, counseling and support, so they can implement positive long-term changes in their lives which develops into the new healthy patterns of behavior necessary to achieve sustained addiction remission. - explain -