What is Addiction Counseling?

Addiction CounselingCounseling takes many forms in today’s society, and addiction counseling offers support and treatment options to individuals suffering from afflictions like eating disorders and alcoholism.

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. estimates that more than 17 million people in the United States suffer from alcohol abuse, which means about one in 12 people may be dependent on alcohol.

That’s just a single type of substance abuse, and there are many additional types of addiction and substance abuse that addiction counselors treat.

What is Addiction?

Addiction takes many forms from substance abuse to addiction to activities like gambling, food, and prescription drugs. Some activities may not prove harmful in regular doses, but a person who is addicted to a particular activity may put himself in danger because of his inability to control his actions.

For example, millions of people visit Las Vegas each year and participate in moderate gambling activities. One couple might spend a few evenings playing the slot machines, and another might try to play games like roulette and blackjack. Gambling for a few days for fun isn’t dangerous, and it’s not even dangerous when engaged in on a regular basis.

A person who has an addiction to gambling, on the other hand, will engage in the activity to an extreme degree and will negatively impact his or her health and welfare with constant gambling. Individuals who are addicted to gambling may seek help via addiction counseling.

Why Do People Get Addicted?

Unfortunately, there is no single reason people become addicted to activities, habits, or drugs, which means there is no simple answer to addiction. Addiction counselors have a difficult job because helping a person with a problem means getting to the root cause of their addiction, which might be anything from addictive personalities to past experiences with physical abuse.

For example, an individual who experiences physical abuse during childhood may grow up and experiment with drugs as a way to forget his or her past. The addict may experience physical pain because of the drug abuse but be unable to stop using drugs because of his or her body’s dependence on the illicit substance.

The addict may need to seek help from a professional treatment facility that would provide medical assistance for quitting the drugs, as well as mental assistance and treatment from an addiction counselor.

How Do Addiction Counselors Help?

Addiction counseling is a diverse area of therapeutic treatment, and an addiction counselor may work with individuals or families during treatment. Counselors may work at assisted living facilities where patients are working toward recovery from an addiction. Addiction counselors may also work at schools, hospitals, or other facilities where people may require counseling.

A typical day for an addiction counselor might begin with the examination of patient records, continue with counseling sessions for patients, and conclude with research into treatment plans for patients. Addiction counseling often requires long-term contact between counselor and patient, so treatment may take place over several months or even several years.

Related Resource: Wellness Program Coordinator

Treatment for addiction is a complex area of healthcare, because entering recovery often means treating the physical and mental effects of addiction. Drug addicts may experience physical withdrawal symptoms that are so severe that they become life threatening and reducing the likelihood of relapse often means connecting with an addiction counselor. In the treatment of addiction and substance abuse, addiction counseling is a central feature of successful rehabilitation.