Last Updated on October 13, 2016 by Morris Green
Substance abuse, the excessive use of addictive substances, also refers to the use of alcohol as well as other substances of abuse. With over 21.8 million people in the United States abusing illicit substances and over 13 million people suffering from alcohol addictions, the need for effective treatment has expanded from private clinics and long term rehab facilities to include practitioners in mental health and social services. This imperative need also brings to light the need for quality substance abuse and addiction counselors to provide therapy, education and support for those who can benefit from behavioral therapy and outpatient treatment.
Because the levels of drug abuse and addiction vary and affect so many facets of a person’s life, treatment will be different for each person. Because the need is so great, it now has become necessary for practitioners to reevaluate what is considered an effective plan of care.
An effective treatment program will include many components to adequately treat the specific illness. Effective substance abuse treatment not only treats the illness, but also helps the individual rehabilitate to a drug-free lifestyle. Helping people get back to living a sober and drug-free lifestyle takes time and commitment from more than just treatment providers, but also their family, friends and the surrounding community. Hence the need for quality care from substance abuse and addiction counselors.
The Benefits of Clinical Supervision & Counseling
Substance abuse professionals in the mental health and social services fields play an active role in providing mental health and behavioral counseling (or therapy). This level of treatment engages patients in the entire treatment process by showing them ways to change their attitudes and behaviors related to drug abuse. It also focuses on reframing the individual’s understanding of what is considered a healthy lifestyle to help them make better choices for not only their current situation, but most importantly, their future.
By helping clients shift their thinking, they tend to stay in treatment longer, comply with medication requirements and follow treatment protocol. To counter the high risk for relapse, incorporating this type of outpatient treatment has proven to be effective when included with a comprehensive plan of care.
From alcohol to pharmaceutical to illicit drug addictions, drug abuse can cause more than just a physical dependence on drugs. Drugs affect the brain mentally and psychologically, and they also affect a person’s ability to cope socially. Research shows that it is often a social trigger such as stress, death, peer pressure, or depression that causes a person to start using drugs. Supervision and counseling helps clients get readjusted to their environments by working with them to find better, healthier ways to handle their problems and cope without the need for drugs or alcohol.
What A Typical Substance Abuse Counseling Session Will Cover
- Substance abuse and addiction counselors help participants to:
- Learn how their choices affect themselves, their families, employers and others
- Assess their own propensities toward drug and alcohol abuse
- Understand the consequences of continuing to abuse drugs and alcohol
- Recognize how the misuse of drugs and alcohol can affect their perception and thinking
- Gain life and coping skills to build up their own ability to say no to people or situations that can lead to drug addiction/abuse
- Better communicate with family, friends and peers
- Develop goals and positive outlook for the future
Individual vs. Group Counseling
Depending of the level of treatment needed, clients can choose either individual or group therapy. A substance abuse assessment is used to determine what treatment or counseling is best for the client. The substance abuse assessment is a series of questions used to determine the client’s history with drug use and their likelihood of using drugs in the future based on their level of dependency or addiction. After the assessment, the qualified substance abuse professional will recommend a treatment plan for the client to follow.
For many of our clients, group counseling sessions are recommended over individual sessions. What we have found is that in group therapy, when a person is supported by peers and others who are going through the same thing, they are more likely to stick with the plan.
Though group counseling is more recommended, there are times when we recommend individual therapy. In the case of a dual diagnosis such as coexisting illnesses like depression, bipolar disorder, or other mental health conditions that require more advanced therapy, we do recommend individual counseling for more extensive mental health therapy.
Do you know someone who needs counseling or supervision of a treatment plan? Call us at 704-215-4095 to speak to a professional substance abuse counselor.