LCAC mock - Licensed Chemical Addictions Counselor
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Addiction is a complex and devastating condition that affects millions of individuals and their families worldwide. Addiction can severely affect mental health, relationships, and overall well-being, whether it's substance abuse, gambling, or technology dependency. However, there is hope. Through the compassionate guidance of addiction counseling, individuals can embark on a transformative journey toward recovery and rediscover a life of meaning and fulfillment.
Before diving into the vital role addiction counseling plays in the recovery process, it is crucial to understand addiction itself. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, approximately 20 million Americans aged 12 or older battled a substance use disorder in 2020 alone. These staggering statistics highlight the urgent need for effective intervention and support.
Addiction is a chronic disease characterized by compulsive and uncontrollable substance use or behavior, despite negative consequences. It affects the brain's reward system, leading to changes in neural pathways and hijacking one's ability to make rational decisions. Furthermore, addiction can have far-reaching impacts, including financial problems, strained relationships, and deteriorating physical and mental health.
The role of addiction counseling
Addiction counseling is a specialized form of therapy designed to address the underlying causes of addiction and support individuals in their journey toward recovery. By combining evidence-based techniques with empathy and understanding, addiction counselors create a safe and non-judgmental space for clients to explore their struggles and develop effective coping strategies.
The benefits of addiction counseling
The impact of addiction counseling extends far beyond the recovery process itself. By seeking professional help, individuals can experience the following benefits:
Types of Group Therapy for Addiction Therapy
There are several types of group therapy commonly used in addiction treatment. Here are some of the most prominent options:
It's important to note that the availability and specific types of group therapy may vary depending on the treatment facility or program. Individualized treatment plans should be developed with the guidance of a qualified addiction therapist or counselor to determine the most appropriate group therapy options for each person's needs.
To find a therapist, visit the Psychology Today Therapy Directory.
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What do addiction counselors do?Therapists and clinicians who treat addiction will conduct a comprehensive medical and psychiatric screening and then work to address both a person’s substance abuse or behavioral compulsion as well as any co-occurring physical or mental-health conditions. A patient’s family is typically asked to meet with counselors and take an active role in supporting their treatment program as well.
Who can diagnose addiction?An addiction can be diagnosed by a mental health professional who will determine if an individual is displaying symptoms such as using a substance (or engaging in an activity) longer than intended; continuing it despite its disruption of their personal or professional lives; feeling a strong craving for it; and experiencing withdrawal in its absence. A clinician will also gauge the severity of a patient’s addiction, and their desire to stop, before devising a treatment plan.
What is the best form of treatment for addiction?Many therapists believe a patient’s commitment to change is more important than what type of therapy they select. Detoxification is typically prescribed as a foundational step, sometimes accompanied by medications to counter the use of addictive substances or treat underlying issues such as depression or anxiety. Cognitive behavioral therapy sessions, as well as group therapy or peer-support programs and family therapy, often begin at the same time. Some patients work with individual therapists, while others work with a team at an outpatient clinic, and a smaller number commit to long-term residential facilities.
Can you overcome addiction with therapy?Substance use disorders are treatable and full remission is often achievable, although it may require a substantial commitment of time, and success may be gradual. Relapses are common enough to be seen by many therapists as a normal part of the process. People who subscribe to the so-called disease model of addiction view it is a lifelong condition that can never be “cured,” but for those who achieve remission of an addiction disorder for five years, research suggests, the likelihood of relapse is no greater than for the general population, and successful treatment has been found to reverse changes in brain circuitry that had made substance use so hard to control.
The Concentration in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Counseling (CMHSAC) is an academic and clinical training certificate program offered as an option in conjunction with the MA in General Psychology.
The curriculum brings together courses in the treatment of substance use disorders and other addictive behaviors as well as general principles of psychology, providing students with a unique foundation for work in this field.
The CMHSAC employs a harm reduction orientation, placing the program at the cutting edge of training in the treatment of substance misuse and substance use disorders and other addictive behaviors. The CMHSAC also sponsors workshops, events, and trainings that promote a harm reduction orientation.
Earning the CMHSAC certificate gives graduates an applied career opportunity that can be pursued on completion of the MA, or carried forward into PhD studies and training. Psychology MA graduates who have completed the CMHSAC will have completed the training and educational requirements to apply for certification as a Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor Trainee (CASAC-T) and may then take the test and fulfill the supervised practical work requirements to become a Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC). CASAC-Ts and CASACs are employable as substance abuse counselors at hundreds of treatment sites in New York State.
Students who enroll in the CMHSAC are eligible to participate in field placements in New York City treatment agencies, receiving practical and applied training in treating substance use disorders. Placements range from 6-12 months, and typically begin in the Fall of their second year in the program. Although direct clinical experience is not required as part of the curriculum for the CMHSAC, it is strongly encouraged.
For more detailed information, please read below and review the CMHSAC Handbook.
New York State CASAC Requirements
Upon graduation from the CMHSAC and the MA in General Psychology, students will have met the 350-hour education and training requirements set by New York State's Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) and will be eligible to apply to New York State for a CASAC-Trainee (CASAC-T) certificate. The CASAC-T is an interim professional credential that grants trainees up to five years to qualify for full CASAC certification by passing the IC&RC Alcohol and Drug Counselor (ADC) test and completing the required 2,000 hours of supervised work, which can be done at a variety of OASAS-approved treatment facilities in New York.
May 2—DANVILLE — With a new casino soon opening in Danville, two local counselors who treat gambling addiction predict the need for their help will grow.
Kicking the habit is possible, they say, but it isn't easy.
"It's as hard, or harder than alcohol," said Kerrick Kiley, president/director of Alpha Omega Counseling Services, which offers treatment in Champaign and Danville for compulsive gamblers.
Alpha Omega is also one of a handful of treatment providers in Illinois where people with gambling addictions can sign up to voluntarily ban themselves from casinos and sports wagering, but Kiley said he's only handled voluntary self-exclusions for a couple of people from the Chicago area in the last few years.
He became a contract gambling-treatment provider for the state when plans for a new casino in Danville were first being discussed, he said.
Kiley attributes the lack of people in the local area signing up to exclude themselves from casino gambling to the fact that there hasn't been a casino near enough for them to patronize on a regular basis, but that will change when the Golden Nugget Danville opens, he said.
The Illinois Gaming Board has offered voluntary self-exclusion since 2002, which gives with gambling problems a chance to keep themselves out of casinos to help regain control over their lives.
Currently, there are 14,733 people on the state's voluntary self-exclusion list, and anyone interested in joining will also be able to enroll at the Golden Nugget, according to Joe Miller, director of policy for the state gaming board. Once people sign up, they agree not to enter or gamble in a casino. If they're caught returning to a casino in the state, they agree to donate all chips, tokens and vouchers in their possession to designated state agencies dealing with problem gambling.
Once on the list, getting off is difficult, according to the gaming board. Self-excluded people can request to be removed from the list after five years, but they must provide an affidavit from a licensed mental-health professional who is also a certified gambling-addiction counselor attesting that that they're no longer problem gamblers.
The state also offers a voluntary, confidential registry for problem gamblers, in which emails are sent providing information on problem gambling and where to find treatment.
But there's no mechanism to keep compulsive gamblers — even those who self-exclude themselves from casinos — from gambling in slot-machine parlors and using machines in bars and restaurants, Kiley said.
With gambling opportunities so pervasive in society, he said, the chances for relapse are high. And, Kiley said, "if you're a problem gambler, if you're addicted to gambling, the only way you can successfully stop gambling is abstinence, period."
The Rev. Nelson Cuevas, an addiction-treatment counselor who operates Alpha Omega's counseling offices in Champaign, treats both English- and Spanish-speaking people with gambling addictions. He, too, sees the potential for more people in the area needing help after the Golden Nugget opens.
While gambling is as difficult to kick as other addictions, Cuevas said, "I think gambling is more complicated, discreet and serious, due to the fact that the outcome of gambling is usually a high suicide rate."
Still, he and Kiley said, overcoming gambling addiction is possible for people who make the decision to get help.
"There is treatment, there is hope, and there's resources to help them overcome," Cuevas said.
Step 1 is recognizing the problem, Kiley said. By the time that happens, he said, people are often very behind on bills and their spouses are threatening to leave them if they don't get help.
Step 2 is making the call for help, he and Cuevas said.
Many make the call when they're at the stage of filing for bankruptcy, Cuevas said.
Kiley said he calls recovery from gambling addiction a miracle, because multiple factors have to be present — including the gambler truly recognizing the problem and wanting to stop — for treatment to succeed.
"There's a lot of miracles," he said.
Need help with a gambling problem? Tax money from Illinois casinos and other gambling businesses helps pay for gambling-disorder treatment and education through 29 treatment and recovery service organizations in the state. For the current fiscal year, the state appropriated $10 million for that purpose, according to Department of Human Services spokesman Patrick Laughlin.
He encouraged those aware that they have gambling problems, or who know problem gamblers, to seek confidential help 24/7 through the state Gambling Helpline at 800-426-2537, or check out the website areyoureallywinning.com or text "ILGamb" to 833234.
SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - Post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a mental condition that’s triggered by a traumatizing event, either by experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms can come on shortly after the event or may not appear until years later.
To talk about this condition, KSLA was joined Monday, May 15 by licensed counselor, Clint Davis.
The counselor talked about what PTSD does to a person and how the condition can be better understood. He also talked about the signs of the disorder, and whether or not it every fully goes away, and what treatments are available. Davis also spoke about what someone can do when they feel triggered by the disorder.
WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW BELOW:
Trauma and addiction counselor, Clint Davis, joins KSLA to talk about signs of PTSD, and how to cope with it.
Copyright 2023 KSLA. All rights reserved.
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Shane Gerlach has been a drug and alcohol addiction counselor for eight years. Prior to 2023, none of his clients had ever fallen victim to a fentanyl overdose death. This year, it’s happened to four of his clients.
“One of them that I lost, it was her first ever use of fentanyl,” said Gerlach, who works at the Carroll Institute in Sioux Falls. “She had never used it, and it was offered to her, and she tried it, and it took her life. One use, one use of a blue pressie took her life. Left behind a child. Three of the four that I’ve lost have left behind children. It’s devastating.”
“Pressies” are also known as “blues” because of their color. The tiny pills are highly addictive and, Gerlach says, are becoming more common in Sioux Falls. But they’re not the only threat.
“We are seeing fentanyl added to all substances in the area,” Gerlach said. “Recently a young 18-year-old girl who bought cannabis overdosed from fentanyl, so even the cannabis, even the pot is being laced with fentanyl. What I’m hearing from my clients is they don’t know what they’re taking.”
Just this month, the South Dakota Department of Health sent out a warning about fentanyl being added to an animal sedative. According to the DEA, it’s a growing threat across the country.
“Things you need to be aware of with opioids: nodding, when you see someone just nodding off,” Gerlach said. “I’ve had clients report that at their workplace, in parking lots, at gas stations, they’ll have people nodding off with their car actually moving.”
Gerlach also recommends picking up some Narcan.
“Narcan is available at all pharmacies,” he said. “It is free. It is life-saving. It is a nasal spray that you can administer to someone that you believe is having an opioid or a fentanyl attack, an overdose. It’s life-saving.”
Five simple but powerful words form a message for anyone struggling.
“There’s hope, and there’s help,” Gerlach said.
Gerlach says the Carroll Institute does assessments for walk-ins on Monday; no appointment is needed.Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to KELOLAND.com.
ALLEGHENY COUNTY, Pa. — Theresa Colaizzi, Dave Fawcett, Sara Innamorato. Michael Lamb, Will Parker, and John Weinstein are the six Democrats battling to become the next Allegheny County Executive. Joe Rocky is the only Republican running.
In a crowded primary race filled with seven candidates and important issues like public safety, housing, and county-run facilities, three voices have risen to the front of the pack: Sara Innamorato, Michael Lamb, and John Weinstein. On Friday, Channel 11 News sat down with each of them.
State Representative Sara Innamorato:
“Being a state representative and having those connections are completely and utterly vital for the next county executive,” Innamorato said.
Pittsburgh City Controller Michael Lamb:
“I’ve been working around county government and city government for all of my career,” Lamb said.
County Treasurer John Weinstein:
“Six consecutive terms, I’m the only candidate who still works for Allegheny County,” Weinstein said.
We asked them what issues they would prioritize. For Weinstein, public safety is key.
“People have to feel safe and as the county executive, we could utilize resources to help the municipalities the communities that need it the most,” Weinstein said.
Innamorato stressed the need for affordable housing.
“It means that we are addressing the homelessness in our region, it means that we are creating programs where working families can afford to purchase a home and stay here and raise their family here,” Innamorato said.
Lamb wants to bring jobs back to the region and suggested free tuition for community college.
“We have close to 40,000 job vacancies here in Allegheny County and 60% require some form of certificate and not a four-year degree,” Lamb said.
On the issue of the Shuman Juvenile Detention Center and Allegheny County Jail. All agreed the jail needs new leadership, more staffing, and oversight.
As for Shuman, Lamb would like to partner with neighboring counties to help with costs.
“I think it has got to be publicly run because, to me, private says profit,” Lamb said.
Innamorato and Weinstein want to reimagine the juvenile center.
“The number one goal of that should be about restoration and connecting youth back to the community, ultimately,” Innamorato said.
“We are going to have mental health counselors, addiction counselors, we are going to have a truancy counselor,” Weinstein added.
Election day is this coming Tuesday and candidates have just days to sway undecided voters.
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©2023 Cox Media Group
April is Alcohol Awareness Month. Government research showed alcoholism was a greater struggle for women than men.
Counselors at the Valley Hope of Boonville Addiction Treatment Center said Alcohol Awareness Month reminded everyone to be more cautious about how much alcohol someone drinks as part of their daily routine.
Caption: Addicted Missouri
Women process alcohol differently than men.
Old federal guidelines allowed women to have two to three drinks every night.
The U.S.D.A. now recommends women have one drink at night, compared to two drinks for men.
Valley Hope of Boonville Lead Counselor Charlsi Lewis said, “Women weigh less than men. Alcohol hangs out in the water in our system. Women have less water in their bodies than men. That means when a man and a woman drink the same amount of alcohol, the alcohol goes to the bloodstream of the woman much faster than it goes to the bloodstream of the man.”
Lewis said society looked at women differently than men when they sought treatment for alcoholism.
“They may fear they are going to lose custody of their kids if they seek treatment," Lewis said. "They may fear people will call them a bad mother because they are seeking treatment rather than staying drunk.”
Lewis said the anecdote for women facing alcohol abuse and addiction was a connection. She also said women need to connect with family members and trusted friends to get the resources and the help they need to overcome their struggles with alcohol.
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