For over 20 years Dr. Umhau was a senior clinical investigator at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Counselors often develop these plans with other healthcare providers, such as mental health professionals and clinicians. Licensed addiction counselors typically spend between 4,000 and 10,000 hours doing supervised training. Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, teaches you how to recognize moods, thoughts, and situations that fire up drug cravings. You’ll learn to replace negative thoughts and feelings with healthy ones that will help you stay clean.

There is no doubt that addiction counseling is a rewarding career—both professionally and personally. This pathway provides the unique opportunity to help a vulnerable population overcome some of their darkest days, and find new light and meaning in their lives. Since stress tolerance is often very low during the recovery period, DBT can provide strength to an individual when they need it most. In addition to drug and alcohol treatment, DBT is also beneficial for eating disorders and gambling addiction.

  1. In principle, NA is opposed to the use of maintenance therapy, although many groups and individuals are more accepting now than in the past.
  2. Remember, seeking help from a licensed addiction counselor is a brave and important step towards a brighter future.
  3. They often counsel individuals or groups to help people understand the factors contributing to addiction.
  4. The goal is to support each person’s self-efficacy so that they feel motivated and capable of achieving their goals.
  5. To become licensed counselors, students must undergo supervised training hours to gain clinical experience.
  6. Twelve-step programs like Narcotics or Alcoholics Anonymous are also peer support groups.

Many states require you to have a master’s degree for addiction counseling licensure and certification. Depending on the addictive disorder, medications may be used to help achieve and maintain abstinence. Some forms of treatment for addictive disorders focuses on the underlying cause of the addictive disorder in addition to behaviors characteristic of the addiction. Counseling for addiction aims to help people change behaviors and attitudes around using a substance, as well as strengthening life skills and supporting other treatments. If a person is addicted to more than one substance, they will often need medications to reduce withdrawal symptoms for each. In the United States, around 8.1 percent of the population, or 21.7 million people, either need or regularly receive treatment for substance use disorders, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

Where Do Substance Abuse Counselors Work?

Of course, requirements for addiction counselors will vary by state and employer. It is important to do your research and understand the specific prerequisites needed to fulfill this career path where you are. As an addiction counselor, you have the ability to specialize and work with specific populations. For example, does alcohol thin your blood some addiction counselors work exclusively with veterans, with specialized training in areas like post-traumatic stress. Others may work solely with teenagers, as young people require different approaches to addiction prevention and care. Several organizations and treatment centers offer addiction counseling services.

What Does An Addiction Counselor Do?

By establishing this connection, addiction counselors can develop personalized treatment plans that address the specific needs and challenges faced by each individual. These professionals work with individuals who experience a range of substance use issues. This may involve working with people with alcohol use disorders, but they may also work with clients with substance use disorders involving drugs such as cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and prescription medications. Specific job duties often vary depending on where professionals work and the type of support they offer.

What Does an Addiction Counselor Do?

Addictive disorders are a group of disorders that can cause physical and psychological damage. Case management is a coordinated approach that links patients with the proper services to address their needs. Join 40,000+ People Who Receive Our Newsletter Get valuable resources on addiction, recovery, wellness, and our treatments delivered directly to your inbox. Establishing a connection and building trust with your counselor is vital for a successful therapeutic relationship. Contact potential counselors to inquire about their availability and schedule an initial consultation.

Evaluating Credentials and Experience

They may work with psychologists and social workers, as well as physicians and registered nurses, to ensure they are creating a comprehensive treatment plan that sets their client up for success. There are many, many more individuals who are battling a substance abuse problem and possibly afraid to seek help. The good news is that it is highly treatable – and that is where addiction counselors come in. For people with addictions to drugs like stimulants or cannabis, no medications are currently available to assist in treatment, so treatment consists of behavioral therapies.