The Benefits of Support Groups
Often, those who are struggling with addiction can feel isolated and misunderstood. It is an important step to recovery that someone who is suffering from this chronic disease receives the support they need and deserve. Support groups, especially as part of a treatment program, can be widely beneficial to the recovery process. If you or someone you know is suffering from an addiction, it is important to get help.
Structure of Support Groups
Support groups are offered by nonprofit advocacy organizations, treatment centers, clinics, hospitals, and community groups. They can also be separate from any organization and be independently run by group members. The structure of support groups can vary from face-to-face or in-person, meetings to teleconferences to online communities. A support group is often led by a lay person: an individual who shares or has shared the similar experiences of the group. But sometimes, a support group can be led and facilitated by a health care professional, such as a psychologist, nurse, or social worker.
At times, support groups may include opportunities to hear about a topic related to the needs of the group from a guest social worker, nurse, doctor, or psychologist. Primarily, support groups bring people with a common experience together to share their lives and support each other on their unique roads to recovery.
Who Should Use Support Groups?
Support groups are available to anyone who is struggling mentally, emotionally, or physically. They tend to focus on certain topics and experiences, such as depression, cancer, substance misuse, grief, etc., to ensure that the time spent in support groups is productive and helpful, so it is important to do research first.
Finding the right support group that fits your current situation is essential. The right support group for you may not be the first one you try, particularly if you do not feel comfortable with that group. Keep trying different groups until you find one that fits you best, where you feel comfortable sharing
Things to Know About a Group Before Joining
Know the duration, times, location, and frequency of meetings. Establish whether the group is intended for those with a specific medical condition and certain stage of it. Determine whether there is a mental health professional involved and whether the facilitator or moderator leading the group has undergone the necessary training to help you in your steps toward recovery. Understand the guidelines for group participation and confidentiality, as well as the way a typical meeting is run in that support group. Determine the fees, if there are any, to join.
How Do Support Groups and Fellowships Help?
There is a common experience connecting the group because they share similar feelings, problems, concerns, and treatment decisions and outcomes. Support groups are a treatment option that gives people a nonmedical opportunity to hear from people in different stages of recovery.
They give those who are suffering and/or recovering a safe, supportive environment in which they are surrounded by people who will better understand each other and share a common end goal. Described below are general benefits of participating in a support group.
- Realizing that you are not alone. When realizing that most of the group members have experienced or are experiencing the same issues and symptoms as you, an individual tends to feel a sense of relief that they are not alone in their struggle.
- Expressing your feelings. When surrounded by people with similar experiences and stories, an individual will feel more comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings about their circumstances. Other members of the group are often nonjudgmental and encouraging, which adds to the therapeutic and healing benefit of being a part of a support group.
- Learning helpful information. As people in the group share their stories, they tend to offer practical tips, resources, and strategies for addressing their diagnosed issues and progressing in their recovery. Groups may focus on educating their members about coping skills and putting them into practice.
- Improved social skills and self-understanding. Meeting and talking to other members fosters effective and healthy social interaction. This can help overcome the isolation and withdrawal from social situations that illness often leads to. Learning effective ways to cope and handle issues leads to better understanding of oneself and increased insight.
- Gaining hope and reducing distress. It is empowering to watch other individuals succeed in their journeys to recovery. Seeing it firsthand renews hope. As someone overcomes issues, they are less stressed, making emotional and mental progress.
- Helping others. As one benefits from the group experience, they also help others grow and make progress by sharing with positivity and care.
- Affordability. Most groups are free, and all groups are generally cheaper than individual therapy sessions.
When we think that we are alone in our struggles, support groups can provide a sense of strength and togetherness. Attending support groups can give you clarity and relief in the knowledge that other people are dealing with similar, difficult situations. Support groups act as a space where individuals on their own paths can come together to share their stories, experiences, thoughts, and emotions and be supportive of one another. A support group can also be a place for people to share coping strategies and firsthand information about illnesses and treatments that they went through.
A space like this, free of judgment and full of care, can bring people together, helping to reduce feelings of loneliness, shame, and isolation. These shared experiences often serve as an effectual connection between medical and emotional needs – a mentally and emotionally healthy way to increase progress toward recovery
The outcomes of joining a support group have a lasting, positive impact on both the member and their family. It is an affordable, effective option, but depending on the severity of health conditions, it should not be the only kind of treatment that your loved one seeks.
Find a Support Group or Fellowship
If you have a loved one who is undergoing treatment, it is important to consider support groups into their treatment. If you have a loved one who is struggling with underlying conditions, help them seek treatment in the form of support groups. Support groups are a crucial part of the recovery process! Join an in-person support group at Arizona Addiction Recovery Center for beneficial support from those who are struggling and overcoming similar situations. Arizona Addiction Recovery Center provides unparalleled care and varying levels of support services for patients and their families. Call today!