Substance abuse counseling has never been in greater demand than it is today. From medical and doctorate level professionals to certificate level counselors, we need licensed clinicians to make a dent in the addiction epidemic that has only gotten worse over the past decade. While addiction counseling represents an amazing opportunity to help hundreds, if not thousands, of people over the course of your career, it also comes with some very particular challenges. In today’s blog post, we discuss an addiction counselor’s typical day – what to expect when treating others for behavioral health disorders including mental health and substance abuse.
When the typical patient or their family thinks about drug treatment, they don’t often understand how varied and diverse substance abuse counseling can be. Many levels of care within treatment, and even medical conditions that have to be managed through either detox or medication, make treatment complex and multi-factorial. Further complicating the matter is that mental health (a common co-occurring disorder) often factors into the addiction treatment protocol.
The setting in which substance abuse treatment is performed can also vary widely. Almost everyone knows about the large inpatient facilities, typically in the news when the celebrity goes to rehab, but there are also outpatient facilities and even in-office treatment protocols for higher functioning substance abusers.
Here at The Academy for Addiction Professionals, one of the most common questions we receive is from addicted individuals, now well into their recovery, asking how they can give back to the community that helped them so much. It stands to reason that those who made it through quite possibly the hardest part of their lives, would want to pass on that hope to others. Further, many recovering addicts worked with success stories throughout their stay in treatment. In other words, many of the employees in treatment centers around the country are in recovery themselves.
So why consider becoming a substance abuse counselor in recovery?
As mental health professionals, we are acutely aware of the gap between the number of people with diagnosable, verifiable and treatable psychological and mental health issues versus the number that actually receive appropriate care. Sadly, while the former is on the rise the latter is just not catching up. We are woefully behind, both in access to care and in the number of people that are receiving appropriate care.
One of the true challenges in comprehensive mental health treatment revolves around the concept of stigma. It is something that we see every day when treating patients of all races, colors and creeds. To be sure, cultural influences play a role in the societal stigma associated with mental health treatment, but across virtually every demographic, we are seeing that mental health issues are being discussed and recognized by more people than ever before.
The debate over the efficacy and safety of marijuana has raged for decades. On one side is the quintessential, lovable “pothead” that could never hurt a fly. He is totally chill and acts like a kid while eating strange snacks late at night. On the other hand, we have those with serious concerns about marijuana use and legitimate hesitations about negative effects on our bodies and questions about whether it is a gateway drug to harder substances of abuse.
The truth is probably somewhere in between…or it used to be anyway.
Today, marijuana is more widely available than ever before. More importantly it is legal to use recreationally in some states and legal for medicinal use in many others. This has prompted a major scale-up of marijuana production and associated paraphernalia.
One of the challenges we have, as clinicians treating those with substance abuse disorders, is convincing both our clients and their loved ones and family members that marijuana, especially the “weed” we find today can by far more harmful then the stuff our parents smoked back in the day. Let’s dive in:
Trauma informed care or TIC is a critical part the substance abuse and mental health treatment process. While there’s no dedicated section of the Florida Certification Board curriculum for TIC, our understanding of trauma and how it relates to behavioral health care issues is always evolving. As we understand more about trauma and its effects, it is clear that substance abuse and associated trauma is a significant part of our jobs.
Being a substance abuse counselor comes with a great deal of responsibility. Responsibility to clients, the facility for which you work (or your employees if you are a manager or self-employed) and even to yourself. The stresses of the year can build up and reach fever pitch. Counselors that have been at it for years or decades with little regard for their own mental and emotional health can find themselves at a breaking point. What was once an exciting job helping others can quickly become a chore that not only stresses the counselor, but makes treatment less effective. To welcome 2019, we want to take a moment to review some tips to avoid burnout and start the new year refreshed.
The Academy for Addiction Professionals is very proud to announce that we have been approved as a continuing education provider for the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Certification Board of Georgia. Approval Number #: 20-01-21-1217
With this approval, those looking to enter the field of addictions as well as existing professionals who wish to complete continuing education or enhance their career with new certifications can take the courses offered by the Academy.
The Academy for Addiction Professionals is pleased and excited to announce our newest Certified Behavioral Health Technician (CBHT) course dates. Our next course spans two weekends:
- Saturday, October 6th, 2018
- Sunday, October 7th, 2018
- Saturday, October 13th, 2018
- Sunday, October 14th, 2018
at our classroom in Fort Lauderdale. We are also pleased to extend our special pricing to students who sign-up and pay in full by September 20.
Log on to most treatment center’s websites and invariably you will find them touting “individualized treatment plans” as one of the key ingredients that sets their treatment center apart from the countless thousands of others nationwide. On the surface this may seem innovative and downright progressive, but is it really?
Before we dig deeper, bear in mind that individualized care is critical to the success of a client’s time in rehab and it must be considered when entrusting the well-being of your loved one to a particular facility. However, there are, arguably, equally or more important factors to be considered.