How to Become an Addiction or Substance Abuse Counselor
Addictions and substance abuse seem to have taken over today’s society. Alcohol alone claims thousands of lives each year, both by automobile related injuries as well as health related issues caused by alcohol abuse. According to the Center for Disease Control, CDC, almost half of all Americans claim to be regular to heavy drinkers. Statistics by the CDC further reveal that over the past few years, possibly connected to the state of the economy, over 20% of Americans consume over five drinks every day. This is the highest rate in decades.
Television shows, such as Addicted and Intervention have become more popular than ever. This is more proof that addictions and substance abuse are areas where there is much need for counseling.
If you have a strong interest in psychology and human behavior, and a desire to enter the field of psychology as a counselor, you may want to consider addiction or substance abuse counseling.Do You Have What it Takes to Become an Addiction or Substance Abuse Counselor?
Although the statistics for alcohol abuse are alarming, that isn’t the only addiction this type of psychologist will deal with. Addictions may or may not manifest themselves in the form of drug or alcohol abuse. The addiction counselor may find themselves working with individuals or groups who have addictions in any of the following areas:
- Substance abuse
- Food addiction
- Addicted to or having the need for certain people
- Various harmful addictions that involve the consumption of different harmful substances or materials
- Addicted to exercise, a career, or any number of unhealthy attachments
Working as a substance abuse or addiction counselor is demanding work, but can be extremely rewarding when marked progress and freedom is reached by the patient. This type of psychologist works with the root or underlying issues that are fueling the addiction. This can be childhood trauma, verbal or sexual abuse, post traumatic syndrome, or any number of issues that can be the cause of an addiction.
Working with individuals or groups who are battling these types of problems will take a stable, and mentally healthy psychologist who is not only educated on treating psychological issues, but also has a complete understanding of the mental and physical states that certain drugs and alcohol have on the patient. Patients can often be irritable, uncooperative, or have anger and aggression issues. Addiction and substance abuse counselors also prepare individuals to re-enter society and daily life, helping them to adjust to their clean, new lifestyle.
Along with a masters degree in psychology, the substance abuse and addiction counselor will have an education, preferably a doctorate degree in substance abuse, addiction, and how it relates to mental health.If this is the psychology career of your choice, your first step is to find a credible college to complete your training.
You’ll then move on to volunteer positions in local rehabilitation centers, addiction treatment facilities, and mental health centers, in order to gain the exposure and experience you will require for this demanding, yet rewarding career.You’ll also need to contact the Certification Board for Addiction Professionals to find out the details about certification in the state you will practice in.