The Substance Abuse Counselor Training and Career Center


Welcome! You have arrived at the Substance Abuse Counselor Headquarters! Here you will find all the information you need for a career as a substance abuse counselor, including training, education requirements, qualifications needed for licensure and certification, and more! The Substance Abuse Counselor Headquarters will help you obtain the knowledge and skills needed to get where you want to be… fast!

Substance Abuse Disorders

Substance abuse disorders are disorders of dependency, addiction, intoxication, and withdrawal, caused by many varying types of substances of the legal and illicit variety. These are found in popular food products, over-the-counter medicines, street drugs, and prescriptions. The “Bible of Psychology,” the Diagnostics and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (the DSM) is the mental health technician, the psychologist, and the psychiatrists reference handbook. The substance abuse disorders within the DSM contain two categories: substance use disorders and substance-induced disorders. Abuse, addiction, and dependence, all fall under the category of substance use disorders. Substance-induced disorders include more acute psychological issues, such as intoxication, withdrawal, anxiety disorders, mood disorders, dementia, psychosis, and more. These occur as a direct result of the intake of a substance, either while under the influence or after its effects have worn off.  Substance abuse disorders are a deeply complicated topic.  Continue reading for more of an indepth discussion on the various types of disorders.

Substance Abuse Disorders – A Deeper Look

substance abuse disordersDependency is characterized by repetitive and frequent use of a substance, continued even after the abuser has experienced deeply troubing problems surrounding his or her use. Soon, the user begins to experience the symptoms of dependency which involves a longing and desire for the substance which is commonly called a craving. A tolerance is grown, requiring more of the substance to achieve the same effects as previously experienced.   This ultimately causes health and finances to suffer greatly.

The dependent substance abuser will experience withdrawals if the substance is not within his or her system. These withdrawal symptoms are dependent upon the substance, but usually include an increased heart rate, insomnia, iritability, fatigue, and involuntary shaking. Despite work, school, or interpersonal issues, the user continues his use, deepening his dependence upon the substance.  This is a large part of what causes relapse and continues the cycle of addiction.  It is hard to break the chain.

Intoxication is directly the effect of the substance being introduced to the user’s system. This exposure causes impaired judgement, a change in appetite and sleeping patterns, and especially emotional instability. There are many types of substance abuse disorders in the substance-induced disorders category, including anxiety, sleeping, depression, and other types. Restlessness, excitement and nervousness, insomnia, and more can occur. Complete psychosis can even result.  It difficult to help a current user agree to treatment.  Detoxification and being sober for a while helps the resistant user to finally see the help he or she needs.  This is why an intervention and forced treatment can help.

Substance Abuse Disorders – Further Learning

As more information is gathered, the American Psychiatric Association will continue to update the DSM. It is into its fourth revised edition at the time of this writing. Constant clinical research, data gathering through observation and survey, and experimentation is being done daily into the topic of substance abuse disorders. Follow academic and scholarly journals to stay up-to-date! This is your responsibility as a substance abuse counselor.  You need to stay as up-to-date on the current findings, therapeutic techniques, and medical advancements to provide the best treatment to your patients.

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