Author: James Anderson

What Is a Substance Abuse Counselor? What They Do

addiction counseling

Approaches to treating substance misuse and addiction have undergone many changes over time. In the past, addiction was often regarded as a character flaw or moral failure. “FDA approves first buprenorphine implant for treatment of opioid dependence.” Make your tax-deductible gift and be a part of the cutting-edge research and care that’s changing medicine. Explore Mayo Clinic studies testing new treatments, interventions and tests as a means to prevent, detect, treat or manage this condition. The last step is to apply for licensure or certification in your state.

addiction counseling

Depending on the state you live in and the type of licensure you plan to pursue, you might also need to complete supervised professional practice. By Kendra Cherry, MSEdKendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the “Everything Psychology Book.” The goal is to support each person’s self-efficacy so that they feel motivated and capable of achieving their goals. Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the “Everything Psychology Book.” Other popular recovery meetings include SMART Recovery and Celebrate Recovery.

What do substance abuse/addiction counselors do?

Ongoing counseling also helps to prevent relapse or a reoccurrence of symptoms. For all of these reasons, the demand for highly qualified addiction counselors continues to grow. An addiction counselor (substance abuse counselor) helps people who have substance use disorders get treatment.

  1. They often counsel individuals or groups to help people understand the factors contributing to addiction.
  2. Others may need admission to a hospital or a residential treatment center.
  3. The Hazelden Betty Ford Graduate School offers invaluable coursework and training that explores the study and treatment of substance use disorders, as well as mental health and co-occurring disorders.
  4. The goal is to support each person’s self-efficacy so that they feel motivated and capable of achieving their goals.
  5. You may also find support groups in your community or on the internet.

The self-help support group message is that addiction is an ongoing disorder with a danger of relapse. Self-help support groups can decrease the sense of shame and isolation that can lead to relapse. This may be the International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium’s (IC&RC) Alcohol and Drug Counselor Examination or Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor Examination. Or it could be an exam through the National Certification Commission for Addiction Professionals (NCCAP).

Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of substance abuse counselors is projected to grow 23 percent from 2020 to 2030. As a licensed counselor with a master’s degree, you can look forward to a strong job market and reliable employment. An addiction counselor (substance abuse counselor) provides expert care and support to people who have substance use disorder (SUD), like alcohol use disorder or opioid use disorder. It’s important to note that the availability and specific types of group therapy may vary depending on the treatment facility or program. Individualized treatment plans should be developed with the guidance of a qualified addiction therapist or counselor to determine the most appropriate group therapy options for each person’s needs.

Career Opportunities

They may also work in hospitals, mental health clinics, or private practice. Substance abuse counselors work with individuals and groups to provide counseling, education, and support to those struggling with substance use disorders. They may also provide case management services and refer clients to other resources, such as support groups or 12-step programs. Addiction presents different issues that vary from person to person, so counselors need to tailor their treatment plans to address a variety of needs. They meet regularly with patients to help them recover, and they may work intensely with people in crisis. Many addiction counselors also conduct couples and family therapy sessions, using peer discussion and social reinforcement to promote a healthy recovery process.

addiction counseling

But keep in mind that they aren’t led by a trained psychotherapist and, thus, aren’t the same as group therapy. Many, though not all, self-help support groups use the 12-step model first developed by Alcoholics Anonymous. Self-help support groups, such as Narcotics Anonymous, help people who are addicted to drugs.

More on Substance Abuse and Addiction

Others may need admission to a hospital or a residential treatment center. For example, a counselor may need to establish trust with their patients or tell difficult truths. Your therapist or licensed counselor can help you locate a self-help support group. You may also find support groups in your community or on the internet.

Education Requirements for Substance Abuse Counselors

One study found that people employed as supervisors were more likely to be certified or licensed and hold a masters-level degree. Those with a higher educational status had greater familiarity and acceptance of evidence-based therapies. Counselors working in residential settings tended to have fewer years of experience. Substance abuse counselors may have a master’s degree or doctorate degree. Around 48% of people working in the addictions field hold a master’s or doctorate. Addiction doesn’t only affect your life; your whole family is transformed.

This relationship, which involves a bond of respect, trust, and mutual collaboration, can play an important part in successful substance use disorder treatment. In this method, therapists try to motivate you and help you 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. Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, teaches you how to recognize moods, thoughts, and situations that fire up drug cravings.

Outpatient treatment programs are the usual setting for drug and alcohol abuse treatment. While any counseling therapy for drug abuse treatment is better than none, group therapy is generally preferred over individual therapy. In group therapy, you’re more likely to be both challenged and supported by peers who are also going through rehab. The Hazelden Betty Ford Graduate School educates future leaders in addiction counseling who provide evidence-based integrated care for substance use and co-occurring disorders. Find information about salary ranges and earning potential for substance abuse counselors.

Medicine treatment options for opioid addiction may include buprenorphine, methadone, naltrexone, and a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. The job outlook for substance abuse counselors is expected to grow 23% from 2020 to 2030, which is faster than the average for other occupations. The demand for substance abuse counseling services is expected to increase as more states legalize marijuana, and the opioid epidemic continues. Substance abuse counselors typically need at least a bachelor’s degree in substance abuse counseling or a related field. One survey found that 71% of professionals employed in the addictions workforce held a bachelor’s degree or higher. Professionals who work in substance abuse counseling also work to educate people about the effects and risks of drug and alcohol misuse.

Tragically, hundreds of thousands of people also lose their lives each year due to drug and alcohol abuse. The right treatment plan will be tailored to your addiction and individual needs. Addiction counselors enjoy more than a sense of personal satisfaction. If you’re thinking about a counseling career, read on to learn more about what addiction counselors do and how they help to make a difference in peoples’ lives. The requirements to become an addiction counselor (substance abuse counselor) can vary based on your employer and which state you live in in the U.S. Professionals in private practice must be licensed by the state where they work.