About Addiction Counseling

Addiction counseling is a field that is employing more and more people. Employment projections show that employment will increase by nearly twenty percent in the next decade. That is a considerable number of new jobs that will become available in this career.

  • What Is Addiction?

Addiction is a complicated behavioral disorder. Years ago, addicts were described as people that had no will power which is not necessarily the case. It is a psychological and psycho-social disease which oftentimes is a result of genetics.

Addicts have an uncontrollable need for their drug of choice, be it chocolate, alcohol, heroin, gambling or even sex. Addicts do not lack in character or morality automatically because they are addicted to something. There are true changes in the brain of an addict. Addiction is a real disease. An addict may have the desire to stop their behavior but truly can’t control it.

  • Diagnosing An Addict

The medical industry guidelines state that three of the five addiction symptoms must be met before a positive diagnosis can be made. This is especially important if the treatment includes prescribing methadone or other pharmaceuticals.

The first symptom is neglecting responsibilities. Often addicts will stop going to work or school and neglect their duties at home. They might even stop showering and taking care of their personal hygiene.

The second is that the person continues this behavior regardless of the consequences. Cognitively, the possible addict knows that what he is doing is dangerous but still continues to abuse his drug of choice.

Requiring more of the drug to achieve the needed effect is the third symptom. This shows that the body has built up a tolerance for the drug and it is no longer as potent or effective as is was in the past. Increased levels are necessary to achieve the same high.

The fourth potential symptom is that the person has tried to stop but cannot do so. This is usually when an addict seeks professional help. Trying to stop is a big step for an addict however, kicking an addition on their own rarely happens long term.

The last is that they continue to behave in dangerous ways just to get the high they need. This includes stealing and selling the stolen property for money to feed their addiction.

  • What Does A Counselor Do?

An addiction counselor will develop a program for the addict which will help modify his behavior. They will work closely to keep him moving forward in the right direction to a happier and healthier lifestyle. The counselor will also encourage their client to attend meetings at the appropriate twelve step programs such as narcotics anonymous or alcoholics anonymous.

The counselor will help the client set realistic goals which will be attainable both short term and long term. These goals will help the addict maintain his sobriety and assist him in recovering from the damages caused by his addiction.

Once the goals have been set, the counselor will assist the client in realizing that the problem is real and must be dealt with aggressively. The client will be encouraged to abstain from his drug of choice and develop skills which will help him continue his recovery for the rest of his life.

Counselors also work to make the client understand that the only one responsible for the change is the addict. Recovery or relapse falls only on the shoulders of the client. This does not mean that the addict does not need the support and encouragement from family, friends and counselors.

The addiction counselor will teach the client skills to cope with life problems. The inability to cope often leads to more addictive behavior.

The right counselor can make or break the addict’s recovery. Finding the perfect match may mean that the client needs to meet with several counselors before selecting the one that will fit their needs best.