Seek help from a substance abuse counselor if you are struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction. Addiction is no stranger to America. Approximately 1 in 3 Americans has a substance use disorder that involves drug use only. 1 in 8 Americans has a disorder that involves both drugs and alcohol. Getting sober may not always be as easy as it seems, especially if both alcohol and drugs are involved. In fact, many drug addicts tend to struggle with an addiction their whole lives. Recovery is a lifelong journey, and many addicts require lifelong mental health counseling.
With that said, the best ways to recover is to get help from an alcohol or drug rehab center or from addiction treatment specialists. Talking about your addiction and working through the emotions that are involved is vital to a successful recovery. After all, medical detox alone is not a good long-term treatment.
Patients must face the underlying reasons behind their addiction and must learn essential habits on how to avoid triggers. The recovery process can be a long one. If you’re looking for a substance abuse counselor to help you work through your emotions and the situation, here are 5 factors that you should consider. Not all counselors are alike. For the best shot at recovery, look for a counselor that complements your personality and fulfills your needs.
#1. Appropriate Qualifications and Education
The type of education that substance abuse counselor needs will differ in each state. Each state has different regulations and licensing requirements. Most will require mental health counselors that specialize in addiction to have more than bachelor degrees. Some require master degrees, and others require specific counseling degrees.
Some states may require the counselors to get special certifications. These certifications show that they fully understand the details concerning addiction. After all, different tactics are needed. The substance abuse counselors should be aware and knowledgeable about the side effects of different types of addictions. The more they know, the better they can relate to patients.
Most rehab facilities and counseling centers will follow these guidelines when hiring counselors, so you don’t have to worry. You can also verify each counselor’s certification online if you want. To double check, you can also pick up the phone and call each state’s online professional regulation agency. By following these step, you can confirm that you will receive the best care possible for your chemical dependency. You’ll learn the skills needed to get clean and remain sober for a longer period of time.
An educated and qualified substance abuse counselor can provide more insight into addiction. They can also point you towards the right resources should you need it. For example, they’ll know what different treatment options are available for an addiction to each drug or alcohol.
Type of Knowledge that Certified Counselors Should Know
Regardless of whether the addiction professionals received their counseling degree online or at a school, there are certain topics that they should be knowledgeable of. The job requires an understanding of many different topics. Knowledge in these topics is necessary for effective substance abuse counseling. Some of the knowledge and skills that addiction counselors need include:
- Counseling and therapy. The addiction specialist should have in-depth knowledge of the principles, methods and procedures for various diagnosis and treatment options. It’s vital that they can diagnose co-occurring disorders. A dual diagnosis involves the concurrent presence of a mental health disorder with the substance use disorder. A strong knowledge of evidence-based treatment approaches is absolutely necessary.
- Law and government. Many drug addicts engage in risky behaviors. Substance abuse counseling will also need knowledge of laws, legal codes and government regulations.
- Medicine and dentistry. The side effects of drug abuse can be damaging to both the body and mind. Knowledge of how to treat human injuries, diseases and deformities is necessary during counseling.
- Philosophy and theology. Knowledge of basic principles, values, ethics, customs and practices can help patients process their addiction. This is particularly important for patients who are seeking faith-based treatment options.
- Psychology. In-depth knowledge of human behavior and performance can be useful in treating addictions. The substance use disorder counselors understand that each patient has a different personality, motivation and overall ability. They must be able to tailor psychological research methods to treat various disorders and personalities.
- Social and anthropology. Surprisingly, knowledge of group behavior and social trends and influences can be beneficial when treating addictions.
In addition to these topics, addiction counselors must be knowledgeable on how to run a business. Many are also marriage and family therapists. They have the skills to help drug abusers mend strained and broken relationships.
#2. A Good Reputation and Lots of Experience
Even if an addiction counselor seems to have all the qualifications necessary, you still want to do a background check. In particular, you should consider checking online reviews to see what others may have had to say. Social media networks may also give you a good idea of which counselors and counseling program are most recommended. A good reputation is usually to equivalent to a high success rate. It also means that most clients were satisfied with the service they received.
When seeking help from behavioral disorder counselors, you also want to look for an individual with a wealth of experience under their belt. You can ask to see the past work experiences of each addiction counselor. Don’t overlook internships that were completed while finishing the degree programs. These internships can provide equally as valuable experience.
#3. A Good Vibe
At times, the mental health counselors may look perfect on paper. They may appear as if they’re everything you need and more. While this may be true, it may not necessarily mean that the addiction counselors are a good fit for you. To get a better idea, you should book an interview with the therapist.
The face-to-face session will give you a better idea of whether you and the therapist are a good match. Make sure to ask as many questions as you need during the first therapy session. Consider whether you feel as if the counselor has thoroughly listened to your problems. A good listener is crucial in addiction treatment. The counselors should remember what was discussed in previous sessions to expedite the recovery process.
You should feel comfortable sharing information with the counselor. For one, all of the information you tell them will be private. It’s 100% confidential, so you won’t have to worry about it coming back to haunt you in the future.
Don’t waste your time with a counselor that you just don’t seem to match with. If you feel that the addictions counselor is not really getting what you’re saying, don’t feel bad about finding another specialist.
#4. Health Insurance Acceptance
When seeking addiction counseling, consider how you’ll pay for counseling. Many major health insurance policies offer some type of coverage for substance abuse counseling. However, they may have a cap on the number of sessions that you can attend each year. Some major health insurance companies will require you to get a referral from a doctor first. Check your health insurance policy requirements to see what you need to do to be covered.
Some counselors offer financial aid to those who may need a little extra help. They may offer promotions or allow patients to pay in installments. Getting help as soon as possible should be your first priority. If you are facing financial difficulties, look for health professionals who can accommodate your financial situation.
#5. Specialization in Specific Behavioral Disorders
Substance abuse and behavioral disorders often come hand in hand. Many drug addicts struggle with low self-esteem and other types of mental health disorders. These mental health disorders may prevent them from recovering. In fact, some of these mental illnesses may be the direct cause for relapses.
It’s vital that both the mental health disorder and the substance use disorder are treated concurrently. If you have a specific mental health disorder, look for a counselor who can deal with the specific substance abuse and behavioral disorder. Many counselors specialize in specific fields and areas of addiction. They are more knowledgeable about certain therapeutic treatments. They may also be more knowledgeable about certain drugs.
For example, some therapists may specifically deal with opioid addictions and trauma. They can guide patients through Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy. Others specialize in family therapy. They help drug addicts mend relationships with family members and loved ones.
Before booking an interview or an appointment with the addiction counselors, take a look at their specialties. Consider the types of drugs that they are most familiar with, and the techniques they use. This may help you narrow down the list of potential candidates.
Need Help? Discuss Your Feelings and Concerns with a Substance Abuse Counselor
If you need help dealing with an addiction, speak to a counselor today. Many rehab facilities have on-site addiction counselors that help patients work through the entire recovery process. Patients can enjoy easy access to behavioral therapies and counseling sessions if they opt for an inpatient treatment program over an outpatient one.
Here, at New England Recovery & Wellness, we have several behavioral therapists on-site at all times. You can speak with each counselor to find one that best understands your needs. During the recovery process, you have access to the therapists at all times. You can discuss your concerns, fears and other feelings with the therapists whenever you hit a roadblock. We also schedule one-on-one or group counseling throughout the entire week. Patients receive a high level of care to help them get through their addiction. Their treatment plan can also vary depending on the amount of support they need from the addiction correctional treatment specialists.