Substance abuse is becoming so inherent in our world that the importance of counselors is non-negotiable. While many people become addicts to substances as a response to unhealthy events that took place in their lives; others lack awareness and counsel.
Peradventure you get really sad when you see substance addicts, it is wise to re-direct this emotion to rendering some kind of help to them A practical way to that is to become a substance abuse counselor.
Hence, this article is written to guide you and give you all the information on how to become a substance abuse counselor. If you read further, you will discover in detail the job of a substance counselor, career paths that are available for you to tow and how much you may earn. To get an overview of all subtopics discussed extensively in this article, quickly glance through the table of content.
- What is Substance Abuse?
- Who is a Substance abuse counselor?
- What Are the Risk Factors of Substance Abuse?
- What Are the Symptoms and Signs of Substance Abuse?
- How to Become a Substance Abuse Counselor
- Are there substance abuse counselor schools?
- What Jobs are available for Substance abuse counselor?
- What is a Substance Abuse Counselor’s’ salary?
- Substance Abuse Counselor FAQs
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Finding effective treatment for and prevention of substance abuse and substance dependence has been difficult. Studies show that drug education and prevention aimed at children and adolescents offers the best chance to curb substance abuse globally. Read on and find out what substance abuse is, the effects and how to prevent it.
What is Substance Abuse?
World health organizations define Substance as the harmful or hazardous use of psychoactive substances, including alcohol and illicit drugs.
Substance abuse is when you take illegal drugs(drugs that are not prescribed by a doctor or bought at a drugstore) such as heroin, cocaine, LSD, mescaline, PCP, methamphetamine, psilocybin and gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB). It’s also when you use alcohol, prescription medicine, and other legal substances too much or in the wrong way.
Similarly, The National Institute on Drug Abuse defines addiction as a chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking, continued use despite harmful consequences, and long-lasting changes in the brain.
Addiction is the most severe form of substance use disorders and is a medical illness caused by repeated misuse of a substance or substances.
Who is a Substance abuse counselor?
A substance abuse counselor is mental health personnel who specializes in treating patients with a chemical dependency on drugs or alcohol. A substance abuse counselor works with their client to help overcome dependencies and become self-sufficient.
The role of a Substance abuse counselor is to provide emotional support for people going through a treatment program. Basically they conduct one-on-one therapy sessions to get to the root of the addiction. Administer periodic drug tests
What Are the Risk Factors of Substance Abuse?
Environmental and Family history influences a child’s early development and has been shown to be related to an increased risk of drug abuse including the following:
In addition, the more risk factors present, the greater the chance that an individual will develop the disease.
What Are the Symptoms and Signs of Substance Abuse?
Some of the more common signs and symptoms of drug use are listed below according to the specified drugs. It is important to note that having these symptoms does not necessarily mean that someone is using drugs. However, they could be as a result of mental or physical health problems and other adolescent development changes.
Clumsiness, difficulty walking, slurred speech, sleepiness, poor judgment, and dilated pupils.
Hyperactivity, euphoria, irritability, anxiety, excessive talking followed by depression or excessive sleeping at odd times, go long periods of time without eating or sleeping, dilated pupils, weight loss, dry mouth, and nose.
Glassy, red eyes, loud talking, inappropriate laughter followed by sleepiness, a sweet burnt scent, loss of interest, motivation and weight gain or loss.
Needle marks, sleeping at unusual times, sweating, vomiting, coughing, twitching, loss of appetite, and contracted pupils
Some of the general symptoms of illegal drug use include:
How to Become a Substance Abuse Counselor
Obtaining a degree in counseling or clinical psychology is just a fist step to becoming a Substance Abuse Counselor. However, most states have some form of counselor licensing that governs the practice of mental health counseling.
Counselors looking to specialize in family therapy may be required to obtain a Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) credentials and the Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) credential.
Mental health counselors may also elect to be certified by the National Board for Certified Counselors(NBCC). This credential is widely recognized nationwide and may be required by some employers. The following are steps on how to become a professional Substance counselor.
Earn a Bachelor’s Degree
Earn a Bachelor’s Degree in a variety of majors as a prerequisite if you are choosing to take the next step to apply for a Master’s Degree.
A bachelor’s degree in addiction counseling prepares prospective counselors with fundamental skills and knowledge associated with this field and qualifies these individuals for higher positions and salaries.
Get a Master’s Degree in Counseling
A master’s degree in addiction studies from a CACREP accredited program is the best educational program for those looking to become a substance abuse counselor because of the increased career opportunities.
It may be a good idea to look at several schools before taking a decision after understanding what each program entails. Make sure the program will further set you up to meet all the exam and state requirements for the state you live in.
Some states require only an associate’s degree in psychology or counseling. A two-year degree covers the basics of treating patients and working as an addicts treatment counselor.
Choose Your Counseling Specialty
There are a variety of approaches to becoming a substance and addiction abuse specialist and that depends on your focus. it could be in a government office setting, a private practice, a healthcare institution, etc.
Each state often has different exams and some states require certification through The National Counselor Exam(NCE) to become a Licensed Addiction and Substance Abuse, Counselor.
There may be a variety of counseling paths to take and that depends on what specialty you choose, always check with your state requirements to know what credentials you will need to practice to further becoming a Substance Abuse Counselor also known as an Addiction Specialist.
Are there substance abuse counselor schools?
An online degree in substance abuse counseling can be obtained at all degree levels, from associate to doctoral and will help to prepare students to work with clients facing acute behavioral crises. Below is the list of accredited online schools for Substance abuse counselors.
|Schools||No. of Programs||Tuition||Accreditation|
|Albany State University||45||$16,136||SACS COC|
|Arizona State University||223||$15,691 – $27,372||HLCA|
|Bay Path University||107||$33,557||NECHE|
|Mercer University||51||$36,000||SACS COS|
|Liberty University||562||$11,700||SACS COC|
|Grand Canyon University||220||$17,050||HLC|
|Forth Valley State University||9||$19,738||SACS COC|
|Eastern Kentucky University||120||$23,420||SACS COC|
What Jobs are available for Substance abuse counselor?
Substance abuse counselors advise, provide treatment and support to people who suffer from alcoholism, drug addiction, eating disorders, or other behavioral problems.
The Bureau of Labour Statistics projects substance abuse counselor jobs will grow by 31 percent from 2012 to 2022. States are creating networks to improve services for children with serious emotional disturbances. These networks need staffing.
Also, the criminal justice system creates an additional demand for licensed professional counselors to treat drug offenders as an alternative to jail time.
A substance abuse counselor career opportunity include the following:
What is a Substance Abuse Counselor’s’ salary?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median certified substance abuse counselor salary in May 2012 was $38,520 and rose to $43,300 in 2017. The highest-paid 25 percent made $55,850 that year, while the lowest-paid 25 percent made $33,960.
The BLS also reports that those who work in the community and social service counselor occupations earned an average of $40,400 a year.
With a master’s and a license, you could expect to fall into a higher range ($45,000-$50,000).
Substance and drug abuse counseling is offered in general health care facilities like state, local, and private hospitals or in private practices. Prisons, probation and parole agencies, detox centers, halfway houses, and juvenile detention facilities are also common to work environments for substance abuse counselors. Mental health counselors also work closely with other health specialists, such as psychiatrists, psychologists, clinical social workers, psychiatric nurses, and school counselors.
Substance Abuse Counselor FAQs
What does it mean to abuse a substance?
Substance abuse can simply be defined as a pattern of harmful use of any substance for mood-altering purposes.
What are the commonly abused drugs?
Commonly Abused Drugs incudes:
Central Nervous System Depressants.
What is the difference between substance abuse and substance dependence?
Substance dependence is characterized by the symptoms of tolerance and withdrawal. While Abuse is marked by a change in behavior caused by the biochemical changes in the brain after continued substance abuse.
What are the effect of drug abuse?
Some the side effects of drug abuse include:
Increased strain on the liver, which puts the person at risk of significant liver damage or liver failure. Seizures, stroke, mental confusion and brain damage. Lung disease. Problems with memory, attention and decision-making, which make daily living more difficult.
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