Wednesday, January 17th, 2018

Substance Abuse Counseling

April 23, 2013 by  
Filed under Counseling, Substance Abuse

Substance Abuse Counseling

Substance abuse counseling is the treatment for someone with a substance abuse problem. But what is substance abuse and why does it need counseling? Well alcoholism and drug addiction are known as substance abuse disorder and they are very complex issues. People with alcoholism and drug addiction once were thought to have a moral weakness and some people still mistakenly believe that. Scientists and medical researchers now know substance abuse or dependence on alcohol and drugs is a long term illness just like asthma, hypertension or diabetes. Most people drink alcohol or use a substance and are fine however some people develop a substance abuse disorder and then need substance abuse counseling. Friends and family may be among the first to recognize the signs of substance abuse. Early recognition increases chances for successful treatment and successful substance abuse counseling.

What is substance abuse counseling?

There are many different types of professionals who provide treatment and counseling for substance abuse disorders. Most treatment programs for substance abuse issues are the main source of counseling for substance abuse. Treatment programs have specially trained individuals who are certified or licensed as substance abuse treatment counselors. Around half of the people who are substance abuse counselors are in recovery themselves and have dealt with a drug addiction or alcoholism. Most treatment programs will assign patients to a treatment team and an individual substance abuse counselor depending on the type of counseling or treatment they need. This team of substance abuse counselors can include social works, counselors, doctors, nurses, psychologists, psychiatrists and other professionals.

Substance abuse counseling usually begins with an assessment of the patient’s drug use or drinking. This helps the substance abuse counselors to figure out the best plan for the patient so they can help them do what is most effective for their unique situation. The substance abuse counselor will gain as much information as possible but asking questions about the kinds, amount and length of time the patient has been using substances or alcohol. Once the assessment is completed it will be decided whether or not medical detox or taper is needed. If so the patient will then go through a medically supervised detox and begin their substance abuse counseling.

The substance abuse counselor focuses on getting the patient to stop using drugs or alcohol, and helping him or her stay drug-free. They discuss how to identify triggers that cause clients to crave drugs or alcohol, such as a time or place where they used the drugs, people they used with, and stressful situations that contributed to the abuse.

According to the SAMHSA document “What Is Substance Abuse Treatment?”, Substance abuse counseling helps patients:

  • See the problem and become motivated to change
  • Change his or her behavior
  • Repair damaged relationships with family and friends
  • Build new friendships with people who don’t use alcohol or drugs
  • Create a recovery lifestyle

Substance abuse counseling could be the difference between a former addict and alcoholic getting sober or not. An addict and alcoholic or someone with a substance abuse problem will rarely be able to stop on their own without the help from substance abuse counseling in one form or another.


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