Understanding Substance Abuse
Because addiction is a chronic illness, people can’t simply discontinue using drugs for a few days and be cured. Fortunately, advances in research have led to the development of evidence-based strategies in substance abuse treatment.
Employment of behavioral disorders, mental health, and addiction counselor is projected to grow 23 percent from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations. 
Demand for these workers also is expected to expand as states seek substance abuse treatment and counseling services rather than jail time for individuals who are struggling.
In addition, there will be a resumed need for counselors to work with military veterans to provide them with qualified mental health or addiction counseling care.
Addiction has a significant impact on individuals, families, and communities. In addition, the implications of addiction are heightening, significantly contributing to costly social, physical, mental, and public health problems.
 These problems include:
- Teenage pregnancy
- Human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS)
- Other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
- Domestic violence
- Child abuse
- Motor vehicle crashes
- Physical fights
Substance abuse refers to a set of related conditions correlated with the consumption of mind- and behavior-altering substances that have adverse behavioral and health outcomes.
Social attitudes and political and legal responses to alcohol and illicit drugs make addiction one of the most complex public health issues.
In addition to the visible health implications, addiction has been a flash-point in the criminal justice system and a central focal point in discussions about social values; people argue over whether addiction is a disease with genetic and biological foundations or a matter of personal choice.
Substance Abuse Treatment Programs
Many options have been successful in treating drug addiction, including:
- Behavioral Counseling
- Medical devices and applications used to treat withdrawal symptoms or deliver skills training
- Evaluation and substance abuse treatment plans for co-occurring mental health issues such as depression and anxiety
- Long-term follow-up to prevent relapse
A range of care with a tailored treatment program and follow-up options can be crucial to success. Substance abuse treatment should involve both medical and mental health services as demanded. Follow-up care may include community- or family-based recovery support systems.
Medications During Substance Abuse Treatment for Withdrawal Management
Medications and devices can be used to alleviate withdrawal symptoms, prevent relapse, and treat dual diagnosis (co-occurring). In addition, medications and devices can help overcome withdrawal symptoms during detoxification.
However, detoxification is not in itself “treatment,” but only the first step in the process. Clients who do not receive further treatment after detoxification usually return their drug use because the underlying issues are unaddressed.
Clients can use medications to help restore normal brain function and diminish cravings. Remedies are available to treat opioids (heroin, prescription pain relievers), tobacco (nicotine), and alcohol addiction.
Individuals who use more than one drug, which is very common, need treatment for all substances they use. Provided that, scientists are developing other medications to treat stimulant (cocaine, methamphetamine) and cannabis (marijuana) addiction.
Pandemic Effects on Substance Abuse
Employment growth for substance abuse treatment counseling is expected as people seek addiction and mental health counseling services.
Substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors experienced increased demand due to the toll of the COVID-19 pandemic on many individuals’ mental health.
This implies the need for more support systems and professionals to help depreciate the growing drug addiction epidemic and alcohol addiction. Substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors held about 327,500 jobs in 2020. 
Although rewarding, the work of substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors is often stressful. Many counselors have to deal with large workloads. They may have to intervene in crises or work with agitated clients, which can be difficult.
Substance Abuse Counselor Duties
Substance abuse counselors typically do the following:
- Evaluate clients’ mental and physical health, addiction, or problematic behavior and assess their readiness for treatment
- Develop, recommend, and review substance abuse treatment goals and plans with clients and their families
- Assist clients in developing skills and behaviors necessary to recover from their addiction or modify their behavior
- Work with clients to identify behaviors or situations that interfere with their recovery
- Teach clients’ family members about addiction or behavior disorders and help them develop strategies to cope with those problems
- Refer clients to other resources and services, such as job placement services and support groups
- Conduct outreach programs to help people identify the signs of addiction and other destructive behavior, as well as steps to take to avoid such behavior 
Substance Abuse Treatment Environment
Substance abuse counselors and behavioral disorder counselors, also called addiction counselors, work with clients individually and in group sessions.
Many consolidate the principles of 12-step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.), to guide their practice.
They teach clients how to cope with stress and life’s problems in ways that help them recover. Furthermore, they help clients restore professional relationships and, if essential, reestablish their careers.
They also help clients improve their relationships and find ways to address their addiction or other problems with family and friends.
Some substance abuse treatment counselors work in facilities that employ many types of healthcare and mental health professionals.
For instance, addiction counselors may work with psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, physicians, and registered nurses to develop treatment plans and coordinate patient care.
Co-Morbid Conditions Diagnoses and Substance Abuse Treatment
The high rate of comorbidity between substance use disorders and other mental illnesses calls for a comprehensive approach that identifies and evaluates both.
Anyone seeking help for either substance abuse or another mental disorder should be considered for both and treated accordingly. 
Several behavioral therapies have shown promise for treating co-morbid conditions because the approach is holistic. These approaches can be tailored to clients according to age, drug misuse, and other factors.
Therapies can be used alone or in combination with medications. Some effective behavioral treatments for treating co-morbid conditions include:
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): This type of therapy helps to change harmful beliefs and behaviors.
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT): A therapy explicitly designed to reduce self-harm behaviors such as suicide attempts, thoughts, urges of cutting, and drug use.
- Assertive Community Treatment (ACT): This type of treatment emphasizes outreach to the community and an individualized approach to treatment.
- Therapeutic Communities (TC): TCs are a common form of long-term residential substance abuse treatment that focuses on the “resocialization” of the client.
- Contingency Management (CM): This approach gives vouchers or rewards to people who practice healthy behaviors.
How We Can Help
Substance abuse treatment is not a one-size-fits-all experience. Given that, our thorough approach to rehabilitation supports several recovery therapies at Level Up West Palm. This is to ensure the best possible outcome for every client who enters our doors.
From an intensive and more supportive atmosphere for those in the early days of recovery to medication assistance for those who need it, we are here to help you find the right path to sobriety.
To start reclaiming your life from addiction and undergo comfortable substance abuse treatment, you may contact us today, and we will guide you to recovery.
[1,3-4] Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors – U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
 Substance Abuse – Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
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