How Peer Support Groups Are the Key to Drug Addiction Recovery

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How Peer Support Groups Are the Key to Drug Addiction Recovery

When we are faced with an overwhelming life event, many of us opt to find comfort in connecting with people who have undergone the same situation. If you find yourself talking to a specific person or group, trusting them with your words, and seeking out their advice, you’ll realize how peer support plays a role in your recovery.

What is Peer Support?

According to a 2016 study entitled, “Benefits of peer support groups in the treatment of addiction,” peer support is defined as the process of providing and receiving non-professional or nonclinical assistance from people with the same conditions of circumstances. Its aim is to achieve long-term recovery from alcohol and psychiatric or other drug-related problems.

To this date, the ideas for peer support groups have been extensively recognized, with a dramatic increase in the adoption of different forms of peer support group services to aid in the recovery from substance abuse disorders. Some of these groups include:

  • 12-Step Groups – These groups meet in various locations weekly.
  • Clinical Support Groups – As the name suggests, they are found in clinical settings like outpatient clinics and hospitals.
  • Mutual Support Groups – They involve the friends or family members of individuals overcoming addiction.
  • Online Support Groups – They are available on specific websites and provide forums to social media support groups.

However, the role of peer support in addiction recovery often has not been separated as a formalized intervention component, nor was it thoroughly empirically tested, so it may still be difficult to determine its effects formally.

How Does Peer Support Work?

If you’re wondering what is peer support all about and how it is implemented in several mental and behavioral health treatments, it is an essential component for addiction recovery.

Group members can learn a significant amount from peers who are also dealing with a similar situation as they all overcome addiction to substances like alcohol or drugs together.

A peer support group, also known as a self-help group or mutual support group, is guided by a particular leader – either a peer support specialist, a social worker, or a trained counselor – who helps them find empathy among others who are going through a similarly difficult situation. As a result, every participant in the group potentially achieves a high level of understanding that is sometimes not found in other types of treatment.

Peer support groups can be part of any recovery phase, acting as a major form of support as the individual is in active therapy – as seen in outpatient or residential treatment. Most often, they are significant parts of aftercare plans.

When it comes to addiction recovery, they are intended to complement the outcomes of rehabilitation. Rather than replacing therapy, they are coupled with individual therapy and inpatient treatment to provide a support structure that can help promote long-term sobriety and recovery even after rehabilitation.

What Are the Benefits of Addiction Recovery?

Peer support in addiction recovery paves the way for people dealing with the same situation to share their experiences as well as their behavioral or mental struggles, struggles with their family, friends, or coworkers, and apprehensions concerning their future.

1. It helps you feel that you are not alone.

Addiction can be an isolating and lonely experience that makes you feel like no one understands what you are dealing with. When it comes to peer support, however, each member of the group usually feels accepted and understood. Thus, it is especially important for people who have no one to relate to when it comes to their struggles, as peer support groups can help you realize that you are not alone.

2. It can help anyone with any condition.

The support groups available can benefit anyone with any type of addiction and are specifically helpful for individuals with co-occurring mental conditions like depression. It’s good to have reliable people who have relative experience and professional expertise to understand you and help you go through the process at your own pace.

3. It prevents you from relapsing.

Peer support groups can also offer emotional support and guidance when your cravings hit. If you don’t have friends who have gone through a similar situation, people in support groups will be there to keep you from giving in to temptation. By forming new bonds with people who are abstinent from alcohol or drugs, you can learn skills in overcoming cravings and be less susceptible to relapsing.

What’s the Next Step?

If you are ready to get help for your addiction, or if you have further questions on how peer support can help and what other treatments and therapies are available at our drug rehab around Nashville, call (850) 622-3774 or (888) 622 3702 today. Remember, you don’t have to deal with addiction alone. Let’s talk about it.

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