Substance Abuse & Addiction

We are here to support a person’s ongoing need for sobriety AFTER they complete an inpatient or outpatient substance abuse program.

We work with local substance abuse programs to provide counseling support for the person struggling with an addiction and for family members who need the follow up support after completing the program.

Kicking the habit of using prescription drugs, street drugs, or alcohol -- or any other addiction -- is a major achievement. You have a lot to be proud of, yet you still have some work ahead of you. Detox is only the start of a long process through which you’ll learn to manage drug/alcohol cravings and avoid relapse.

Counseling is a mainstay of substance abuse treatment for many people. Cognitive behavioral therapy, family counseling, and other types of therapy can help you stay clean. Psychotherapy can also treat other mental health conditions that often play a role in substance abuse.

Why You Need Counseling for Substance Abuse or Addiction

Addiction is more than a physical dependence on drugs or alcohol. Even after detox, when your body is no longer physically dependent, you’re at high risk for relapse. Certain psychological and social factors can be powerful triggers that lead to relapse:

  • Stress - especially sudden negative life events
  • Cues in the environment - like visiting a neighborhood that triggers use
  • Social networks - like spending time with friends who continue to use 

These things can create a strong ongoing urge to use again. Counseling helps you escape cravings and learn to manage what life throws at you without drugs or alcohol. Substance abuse treatment is a lengthy process that can be difficult and confusing along the way.

There are different counseling approaches that treat substance abuse. No one method is known to be better than another. Likewise, no one approach works for everyone with an addiction. The right treatment plan will be tailored to your addiction and individual needs based on your willingness to participate in your own treatment.

Post-Acute-Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)

Many symptoms of alcohol and drug withdrawal are the result of the toxic effects these chemicals have on the brain and the body. In the first weeks to months following cessation of drug and alcohol use, individuals may experience acute withdrawal symptoms, which can be more severe for some than others and will vary depending upon the drug of choice among other factors.

The term PAWS was created to describe the cluster of ongoing Post-acute withdrawal symptoms, which are largely psychological and mood- related, that can continue after withdrawal symptoms have gone away. 

Although post-acute withdrawal rarely involves the normal withdrawal symptoms like aches and  pains, nausea, cramping, headaches, or other physical symptoms, it can be just as intense as acute withdrawal and still puts a person at risk of relapse, as they may return to drug use in an attempt to stop the discomfort.

PAWS symptoms such as cravings, triggers, stress sensitivity, emotional overreaction, sleep issues, memory problems, and compulsive behaviors that can be extremely hard to maneuver on one’s own. A counselor at NPS, specializing in post substance abuse treatment, can provide guidance and coping skills to reduce PAWS to a minimum to help keep a person on a recovery track.

Post-Acute Withdrawals Symptoms PAWS:

  • Triggers are people, places, things, words, or situations that increase cravings to use alcohol or drugs. Examples are alcohol commercials, gas stations or stores that sell alcohol, using friends, bars, and restaurants.
  • Stress sensitivity is when a person is overloaded by tension, worry, or anxiety that throws a person’s life out of equilibrium and makes it difficult to abstain from alcohol or drugs. Examples could come from being overwhelmed by workload, family fighting, and money issues.
  • Emotional overreaction is when a person overreacts to a situation with angry outbursts that do not warrant the reaction. Example would be yelling at a family member that is just asking for clarification to a statement or issue at hand.
  • Sleep issues could involve a variety of different scenarios like finding it difficult to fall asleep, staying asleep throughout the night, waking periodically for some unknown reason, getting a couple hours of sleep for days or days without any sleep at all.
  • Memory problems can present as not remembering the past, phone numbers, what was eaten in the day, or any important information that is typically known.
  • Compulsive behaviors are irrational or destructive actions people take in response to irresistible impulses. Examples are drinking too much caffeinated beverages, eating too much sugary foods, exercising 6-7 days a week for hours, over working, smoking too many packs of cigarettes daily, and wanting too much sex on a consistent basis.

Substance Abuse Relapse

Early warning signs of relapse are personal changes in thoughts or behaviors that signal things are getting worse. Examples are withdrawing for more than 2 days, feeling agitated most of the hours in a day, not sleeping for 3 or more days in a row, and difficulty getting out of bed. Working with one of our counselors can help a person understand the early warning signs of relapse.

Substance Abuse Counseling Options

We offer multiple different counseling options for substance abuse. We work with you to find out what option will work best for you.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy For Substance Abuse

Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, teaches you how to recognize moods, thoughts, and situations that fire up drug cravings. Our counselors teach you how to avoid these triggers. You’ll learn to replace negative thoughts and feelings with healthy ones that will help you stay clean. The skills you’ll learn can last a lifetime, so this is a powerful treatment method.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy For Substance Abusers

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) focuses on acceptance and change. Started in the 1970s to treat people who were suicidal, DBT has been adapted for other uses, including substance use disorders. In treating substance abuse, the emphasis is on curbing the cravings for substance use and behaviors that lead to it while boosting healthy behaviors (like starting positive relationships) that help the person avoid using.

Contingency Management Therapy For Substance Abuse And Addiction

Contingency management is a behavioral therapy that uses motivational incentives and tangible rewards to help a person become abstinent from drugs or alcohol. To encourage sobriety and behaviors that support healthy living, clients receive rewards when they obtain positive goals and make lifestyle changes within their day-to-day lives. Examples include drug-free urine specimens or consistent treatment attendance.

Motivational Interviewing

In this method, our counselor helps guide you to find what motivates you to maintain your abstinence from drugs or alcohol. If you’re prompted by love of family or returning to work, these issues may become the focus of your treatment.

Couples and Family Group Therapy

An addiction doesn’t only affect your life; your whole family is transformed. Successful treatment requires strong relationships with family and friends. Various counseling methods include your spouse and other family members.

Why try family or couples therapy?

  • Family members and partners can be a powerful force for change in your life.
  • They can help support you in which you will be more likely to stay in therapy.
  • With family and partnership support, you can begin to heal the damage your addiction has caused in the relationship.

Studies show family therapy results in lower relapse rates, increased happiness in the family, and helps children of addicted parents manage their situation.

12-Step And Community Programs

Narcotics Anonymous (NA) is an international network of community- based meetings for people recovering from drug addiction. It’s modeled after Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), so it’s a 12-step program with a defined process for overcoming addiction. Other popular recovery meetings include SMART Recovery and Celebrate Recovery.

We offer post treatment counseling for the individual in recovery looking to add more support while building a strong sober support network that will help aid in preventing relapse and encourage healthy living.


  • SAMHSA has an online treatment locator or call 1-800-662-4357
  • Crisis line 24 hrs a day 1-800-273-8255
  • Mental Health Crisis line 1-800-892-8900
  • DUI Evaluations 1-877-700-6109
  • Alcoholics Anonymous 24 hrs a day in McHenry 1-815-455-3311
  • Smart Recovery
  • Celebrate Recovery
  • Al-Anon for family of people with alcohol or substance abuse issues

Are you ready to take the next step?