Substance Abuse Counseling / Drug Counseling
Substance Abuse Counseling
A substance abuse counselor is a person who works with people seeking treatment for various addictions. A substance abuse counselor may stage interventions or speak with a person who hasn't yet realized his or her drug problem. More commonly, substance abuse counselors work with those who have realized they have an addiction, and who are seeking help.
A counselor in the substance abuse field may work with people with a wide variety of different addictions. For example, alcohol abuse counselors work with those people who are unable to manage an addiction to alcohol. Other counselors work with people who are hooked on prescription or illegal drugs such as heroin, cocaine, Vicodin, and Codeine, among others.
Substance abuse counselors may also work in a variety of environments. Some counselors work in live-in or residential facilities that treat addicts. Others work with patients on an out-patient basis, and conduct meetings in churches, community outreach centers, doctor's offices, or other related locations.
A substance abuse counselor usually works within an established protocol used for treating addicts. For example, some substance abuse counselors use a 12-Step Program, which is common in Alcoholics Anonymous, as well as in some other types of drug addiction treatments. These counselors lead addicts through twelve steps to recovery, which include admitting powerlessness, turning to God, and making amends, among others.
Counselors may provide one-on-one or group therapy to addicts. A substance abuse counselor may encourage addicts to share their stories with others in order to learn through self-reflection. A counselor may also help addicts get to the root of their addictions, or help them to learn behavioral management skills so that they are better able to cope with addiction.
Some substance abuse counselors are licensed psychologists, therapists or other medical professionals. Other counselors are former addicts who volunteer within the substance abuse treatment community to share the benefit of their own experiences. Often, residential treatment facilities employ both types of counselors to provide a broad range of treatment and counseling for addicts.
A substance abuse counselor must express a high degree of empathy for others. He or she must be trained to see the signs of addiction, and to cope with patients who are struggling to overcome a dependence on drugs or alcohol. Some counselors must also be trained to handle medical emergencies associated with withdrawal and overdose, although those tasks are usually left to nurses or physicians who also work with addicts.
A drug counselor, often referred to as a substance abuse counselor, is an individual who helps addicts or former addicts recover. The individuals who seek assistance from drug counselors often need a wide range of help. Many do not have the skills or resources to maintain a daily life that does not include indulging in substance abuse. A drug counselor may, therefore, be required to provide emotional, psychological, and social assistance. Tasks she may perform include helping individuals obtain basic necessities, helping individuals secure employment, and helping addicts reconnect with their families.
There are a number of facilities that may employ a drug counselor. These include correctional departments, clinics, and rehabilitation centers. Substance abuse counselors can play an important role in society. In many places, the addiction statistics are high, which can cause numerous effects on society. The drug counselor is, therefore, directly involved in improving societal conditions.
Drug counselors generally employ a number of techniques to help their clients. Some services these professionals offer are personalized and, therefore, must be handled on a case by case basis. Some of a counselor’s assistance, however, such as group counseling, may involve helping numerous people at once.
A drug abuse counselor may need to get involved in many aspects of a person’s life. With regard to addicts’ social lives, the counselor may have to help these individuals learn to identify people and situations that put them at risk of relapse. The counselor may then have to help these individuals deal with strategies to cope or avoid these risky elements.
Providing support and encouragement is a major part of a drug counselor’s job. Substance abuse commonly causes people to make a number of poor decisions or to develop numerous unsavory habits. As those individuals try to recover, they often experience emotions such as guilt, shame, and anger, which can jeopardize their chances of overcoming their addictions. A drug counselor tries to help these individuals cope with those feelings.
Overcoming substance abuse can be very difficult. Many people are not successful on the first attempt. Instead, it is often a process that involves a number of relapses, which can aggravate the perception and attitude an addict has toward herself. Although counselors do not generally condone relapses, it is part of their job to help clients deal with such situations in a positive manner.
Psychological problems are often an underlying cause of substance abuse. When a drug counselor is qualified, part of her duties may include addressing such problems. When she is not qualified, she may help a client get the mental health care he needs.