Substance Abuse Recovery and Re-entering the Work Force

Within the many challenges of substance abuse recovery from relapse to reconnecting with family, one also finds difficulty again finding financial stability.  Usually many who recover from substance abuse and addiction are in debt due to their high habit spending tendencies.  In addition to being in debt, finding a stable job or career can be difficult.  Again, due to the addiction, many may have lost a job or career and are in the process of rebuilding oneself both professionally and financially.   With these struggles, someone who is recovering from an addiction needs to be able to properly represent oneself in an interview and in properly create a clear and concise resume.  This can be difficult because many potential employers may be weary of a job gap on a resume or may be hesitant to hire someone in recovery.  Hence one needs to be well prepared to counter many of these concerns.

Certified Substance Abuse Practitioners from AIHCP can help others in recovery

The article, “Employment Resources for People Recovering From Substance Abuse Issues” by Frank Hackett supplies some detailed hints and strategies for someone recovering from addiction and trying to secure a job or career again.  He states,

“In the U.S., over 19 million Americans suffer from substance abuse issues. The road to recovery is long, filled with lifelong trials and tribulations—yet many people encounter one major challenge: reentering the workforce after achieving sobriety. And a lack of employment and career prospects is a leading cause of relapse. Although reentering the workforce after treatment can be difficult, your past does not dictate your future. With perseverance and diligence, you have every opportunity to build a career that brings you fulfillment. ”

To read the entire article, please click here

Hackett, F. (2023). “Employment Resources for People Recovering From Substance Abuse Issues”. Resume Builder


Substance abuse recovery is a period of rebuilding and transformation, which often includes the daunting task of re-entering the workforce. Achieving financial independence is a common goal for those in recovery, yet the journey to secure employment is fraught with unique challenges and requires a delicate balance between personal health and professional development. This article explores the intersection of sobriety and employment, offering insights into the common hurdles faced and strategies to overcome them while maintaining sobriety in a professional setting.

Key Takeaways

  • Securing employment is a critical step towards financial independence and self-sufficiency for individuals in substance abuse recovery.
  • The process of finding and maintaining a job post-rehab is non-linear, often involving simultaneous management of personal recovery and professional responsibilities.
  • Common challenges in the job search include a lack of positive references, balancing ongoing rehabilitation with work, and overcoming stigma and criminal history.
  • Strategies for successful employment include identifying recovery-friendly workplaces, utilizing resources and assistance programs, and networking to build professional relationships.
  • Maintaining sobriety in the workplace is essential, with employment playing a vital role in sober living environments and requiring careful navigation of high-risk industries.

Introduction to Recovery and Employment

The Intersection of Sobriety and Financial Independence

Achieving sobriety is a monumental step in the journey of recovery, but it is often closely followed by the pursuit of financial independence. The re-establishment of a stable income is crucial for individuals seeking to rebuild their lives post-rehabilitation. Employment not only provides the means to support oneself but also contributes to a sense of purpose and self-worth, which are vital components of sustained sobriety.

For many, the transition from substance abuse to a sober lifestyle involves redefining personal values and goals. The focus shifts from the immediate gratification of addiction to long-term stability and well-being. This shift often includes a reassessment of one’s relationship with money and material possessions, which can influence their approach to employment.

  • Prioritize sobriety in job choices
  • Seek employment that supports recovery
  • Understand the value of financial planning

The journey to financial independence in sobriety is not just about earning a paycheck; it’s about creating a sustainable lifestyle that supports long-term recovery.

It is essential for individuals in recovery to be mindful of the potential triggers and stressors present in certain work environments. Choosing a job that aligns with one’s recovery goals can help mitigate the risk of relapse and ensure that the path to financial independence also leads to a healthier, more fulfilling life.

The Non-Linear Journey of Recovery and Employment

The path to re-entering the workforce after substance abuse recovery is seldom a straight line. Individuals often face the dual challenge of finding employment while still grappling with the complexities of their recovery process. The journey intertwines personal healing with professional development, and setbacks in one area can impact the other. For instance, those in active addiction are far more likely to display workplace behaviors such as absences, frequent tardiness, decreased job performance, or even substance use, which can lead to a cycle of job loss and further substance abuse.

It is essential to recognize that recovery and employment are interdependent. A stable job can provide the financial support and structure needed for sustained sobriety, while a strong recovery foundation can enhance job performance and reliability. However, the pressures of managing both can be overwhelming, especially when additional responsibilities, such as family care, are present.

The process of rebuilding a life during recovery is multifaceted, involving not just the search for employment but also addressing the underlying issues that led to substance use.

Navigating this non-linear journey requires patience, resilience, and a willingness to adapt to changing circumstances. It is a process of continuous self-improvement and professional growth, where each step forward, no matter how small, is a victory in itself.

Balancing Personal Needs and Professional Aspirations

For individuals in recovery, re-entering the workforce is a delicate balancing act that requires aligning personal health needs with professional goals. The pursuit of financial independence must not come at the expense of sobriety. A supportive work environment, reasonable working hours, and minimal stress are crucial factors in this equation. Vocational training and job placement programs offered by community organizations can be instrumental in facilitating this balance.

  • Prioritize recovery activities such as therapy sessions, support groups, and self-care.
  • Manage time effectively to ensure a healthy work-life balance.
  • Seek employment that accommodates the need for ongoing rehabilitation.

Balancing the additional pressures of personal and family needs with professional responsibilities can be overwhelming. It is essential to approach this challenge with a structured plan that emphasizes recovery maintenance.

Developing coping strategies for potential workplace triggers and stress is vital. Regular breaks, mindfulness, and relaxation techniques can help manage cravings and negative emotions. By maintaining a recovery-focused routine and building a supportive professional network, individuals can navigate the transition back into the workforce while safeguarding their sobriety.

Employment in Recovery: Common Challenges

Employment in Recovery: Common Challenges

For many individuals in recovery, re-entering the workforce is marred by a shortage of positive references. This gap often stems from a disrupted work history or strained professional relationships due to substance abuse. Employers typically seek references to validate a candidate’s reliability and work ethic, making this a significant barrier to employment for those in recovery.

  • Self-assessment: Reflect on personal strengths and past responsibilities to articulate one’s value to potential employers.
  • Volunteer work: Engage in volunteer opportunities to build a fresh track record of commitment and reliability.
  • Skill development: Pursue educational courses or certifications to enhance employability and provide evidence of self-improvement.

While the challenge is formidable, it is not insurmountable. Proactive steps can be taken to mitigate the effects of a sparse reference list, such as focusing on personal development and seeking out new opportunities to demonstrate one’s capabilities.

It is also beneficial to be transparent with potential employers about one’s journey through recovery. Honesty about past challenges can sometimes turn into an asset, showcasing resilience and a commitment to personal growth. Networking within recovery communities can also lead to connections with employers who are more understanding of the unique circumstances faced by individuals in recovery.

Managing Ongoing Rehabilitation with Work Demands

For individuals in recovery, re-entering the workforce is a pivotal step towards financial independence and societal reintegration. However, balancing work and recovery demands careful planning and support. Post-rehabilitation, the journey to maintain sobriety continues with aftercare services such as 12-step meetings or therapy sessions, which must be integrated into the work schedule.

A healthy post-rehab routine is essential for long-term recovery. It should include time for work, self-care, and ongoing rehabilitation activities. Here are some tips for professionals:

  • Prioritize your rehabilitation schedule alongside work commitments.
  • Seek employment that is supportive of your recovery journey.
  • Communicate with your employer about your needs in a professional manner.
  • Build a daily routine that balances work with self-care and recovery-related activities.

Balancing work and recovery is not only feasible but also imperative for making the rehab journey successful. It requires a commitment to self-care and the development of a structured daily routine that accommodates both professional responsibilities and recovery efforts.

Overcoming Stigma and Criminal History in Job Searches

The journey to re-enter the workforce post-rehabilitation is fraught with challenges, not least of which is the stigma associated with past substance abuse and criminal history. Despite legal protections for employment rights, the shadow of past difficulties often looms large during job searches. Employers may subconsciously allow biases to influence their hiring decisions, leading to fewer opportunities for those in recovery to even secure an interview.

The process of overcoming stigma is not just about securing a job; it’s about changing perceptions and advocating for the value that individuals in recovery can bring to the workplace.

Organizations dedicated to vocational rehabilitation play a crucial role in bridging the gap between recovery and employment. They offer a suite of services designed to support individuals with a criminal record or a history of substance use disorder. These services often include:

  • Information on employment rights and protections
  • Resources tailored to the unique needs of recovering individuals
  • Assistance with job-related skills and training

Branching out from personal networks to utilize these resources can be instrumental in navigating the job market. It is essential to recognize that a history of substance dependency or criminal background does not render an individual unemployable, particularly when they are committed to their recovery journey.

Strategies for Finding Employment Post-Rehab

Strategies for Finding Employment Post-Rehab

Identifying Recovery-Friendly Work Environments

For individuals returning to the workforce after rehabilitation, identifying a recovery-friendly work environment is crucial. Such workplaces understand the unique needs of those in recovery and often provide supportive measures to facilitate their reintegration. These measures may include flexible scheduling to accommodate therapy sessions, a culture that discourages workplace drinking or drug use, and access to employee assistance programs that offer counseling and support.

To build a healthy work-life balance, manage your time effectively, ensuring enough space for therapy sessions, support group meetings, and self-care activities.

A recovery-friendly work environment also prioritizes the well-being of its employees, recognizing that a supportive atmosphere can significantly enhance job satisfaction and retention. It is beneficial for individuals to seek out employers who demonstrate a commitment to their workforce’s recovery journey, often indicated by policies that promote mental health and sobriety.

  • Look for jobs with reasonable hours and minimal stress.
  • Consider vocational training or job placement programs offered by community organizations.
  • Establish a routine that maintains a focus on recovery, including time for self-care and support networks.

Utilizing Resources and Assistance Programs

For individuals in recovery, the path to employment is often paved with the assistance of various resources and programs designed to facilitate the transition. These programs provide critical support in areas such as housing stability, health insurance, and professional development. They are essential in helping individuals maintain their treatment and recovery while seeking employment.

  • Economic Development Assistance Programs (EDAP) offer ongoing support for public works and economic adjustment, which can be crucial for those re-entering the workforce.
  • Recovery support services focus on securing sustainable permanent housing, a fundamental need that directly impacts one’s ability to gain and maintain employment.
  • Training and support services are tailored to empower individuals in education, financial literacy, and health and wellness, including addressing mental health and substance use issues.

The integration of these resources into a recovery plan not only addresses immediate needs but also lays the groundwork for long-term stability and success in the workforce. It is a strategic approach that acknowledges the multifaceted challenges faced by those in recovery.

It is important for individuals to be aware of the ongoing application processes for programs like those sponsored by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) and USDA Rural Development (USDA RD). These programs are designed to assist residents in achieving outcomes that support their overall well-being and employment goals.

Networking and Building Professional Relationships

In the journey of recovery and reintegration into the workforce, networking emerges as a pivotal step. It is through the expansion of one’s social and professional circles that opportunities for employment can often be found. Individuals are encouraged to begin with the people they already know, leveraging existing relationships as a foundation for new connections.

Engaging with local organizations, such as civic groups or churches, can serve as a fertile ground for meeting community members and forming valuable relationships. Volunteering offers a dual benefit: it allows individuals to showcase their skills and dedication, while also expanding their network. These activities not only foster professional relationships but also contribute to building healthy relationships in recovery, providing support and acceptance.

  • Begin with familiar contacts and expand outward
  • Get involved in community organizations
  • Volunteer to demonstrate skills and passion

Finding employment post-rehabilitation is challenging but achievable. Joining professional groups and attending workshops are additional avenues for networking. These environments can be particularly conducive to meeting like-minded individuals and can lead to both personal growth and potential job prospects.

Maintaining Sobriety in the Workplace

Maintaining Sobriety in the Workplace

The Role of Employment in Sober Living Environments

In the realm of sober living environments, employment is often a cornerstone of recovery. The structure and accountability provided by a job can be instrumental in maintaining sobriety. Residents are typically encouraged, if not required, to seek employment, which not only fosters a sense of responsibility but also aids in the re-establishment of a normal routine.

Transitioning from a rehabilitation facility into a sober living arrangement that accommodates employment is an important step in the aftercare process.

However, the workplace can present its own set of challenges for those in recovery. For example, the restaurant industry is known for its high-stress environment and easy access to alcohol, making it a potential hazard for individuals striving to maintain their sobriety. A study on restaurant workers’ sobriety has highlighted this delicate balance between the necessity of employment and the risks it can pose.

To mitigate these risks, sober living homes often provide support through various means:

Addressing Unique Challenges in High-Risk Industries

Certain industries present unique challenges for individuals in recovery due to higher rates of substance use and the associated workplace culture. Industries such as construction, mining, and some service sectors are known for elevated levels of alcohol and substance use disorders. These conditions are characterized by an uncontrollable use of substances despite the negative consequences, and they disproportionately affect blue-collar, middle-class, and white-collar professions.

In male-dominated fields, where the workforce is predominantly male, the prevalence of alcohol-related problems is notably higher. This is particularly true in industries like construction, utilities, manufacturing, agriculture, and transportation. For example, in the construction industry alone, one in five workers is reported to have a substance use disorder.

The constant pressure to deliver, unpredictable weather conditions, loneliness, and depression are factors that contribute to substance misuse among professionals such as truck drivers. Younger workers, in particular, may turn to drugs to cope with work pressures.

Professionals in recovery must navigate these industry-specific challenges while maintaining their sobriety. Strategies to address these challenges include seeking employment in recovery-friendly work environments, utilizing support programs, and building a strong professional network that supports their recovery journey.

Creating a Supportive Social Circle in Professional Settings

In the journey of recovery, establishing a supportive social circle within professional settings is crucial for maintaining sobriety. This network not only provides emotional backing but also serves as a resource for guidance and accountability.

  • Choosing supportive work environments is the first step in fostering a conducive atmosphere for recovery.
  • Maintaining a recovery-focused routine helps in integrating work life with the essential aspects of sobriety.
  • Building professional networks through joining groups and attending workshops can lead to meaningful connections.
  • Developing stress management strategies and having a supportive network are key to navigating the pressures of the workplace.

By actively seeking out and nurturing relationships with colleagues who understand and respect the recovery process, individuals can create a buffer against potential relapse catalysts. Regular check-ins and participation in shared activities can further solidify these connections, providing a foundation of support that extends beyond the workplace.

Finding employment after rehab may be challenging, yet it opens the door to new opportunities for building relationships. Volunteering and engaging with community organizations are excellent avenues for expanding one’s social network and demonstrating commitment to both personal growth and professional development.

Achieving and maintaining sobriety is a commendable journey, and the workplace can be a critical environment for support and success. If you or someone you know is striving for sobriety in the professional setting, our comprehensive Substance Abuse Practitioner Certification can provide the necessary tools and knowledge. Visit our website to explore our certification programs, continuing education courses, and a wealth of resources designed to empower health care professionals in the field of substance abuse counseling. Take the first step towards enhancing your expertise and making a positive impact in your workplace today.


AIHCP offers a Substance Abuse Practitioner certification program for trained professionals to help others overcome addiction

In conclusion, re-entering the workforce after substance abuse recovery presents a complex set of challenges that require resilience, support, and strategic planning. The journey to financial independence and self-sufficiency is fraught with obstacles, including the need for positive references, the management of ongoing rehabilitation, and the potential for employment environments that may threaten sobriety. However, with the utilization of personal networks, job-related assistance programs, and a focus on building new professional relationships, individuals in recovery can navigate these challenges. It is essential to prioritize personal recovery and seek employment that aligns with one’s rehabilitation goals. By doing so, recovering individuals can rebuild their lives, contribute meaningfully to society, and solidify their path to long-term recovery. The process is neither easy nor linear, but with determination and the right resources, finding employment and reintegrating into society post-rehab is an achievable and rewarding goal.

Please also review AIHCP’s Substance Abuse Practitioner Certification and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals looking to help others through the process of addiction.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some common challenges faced during employment searches post-rehab?

Common challenges include a shortage of positive references, managing ongoing rehabilitation with work demands, and overcoming stigma and criminal history during job searches.

How can someone in recovery identify a recovery-friendly work environment?

Look for employers who demonstrate a supportive attitude towards recovery, offer flexible schedules for ongoing treatment, and have a clear policy on substance abuse.

What resources and assistance programs are available to help find employment after rehab?

There are job-related assistance programs specifically designed for recovering addicts, including vocational training, job placement services, and support groups.

Why is employment important in sober living environments?

Employment is a pillar of recovery that instills a sense of responsibility and normalcy, helping residents maintain sobriety and rebuild their lives.

How can recovering individuals balance personal recovery with work?

By establishing a structured routine that includes regular check-ins, prioritizing recovery activities, and seeking work that doesn’t compromise their sobriety.

What strategies can help in overcoming the stigma of substance abuse in the workplace?

Open communication, seeking supportive employers, advocating for fair employment practices, and focusing on demonstrating reliability and competence can help overcome stigma.

How can networking and building professional relationships assist in finding employment post-rehab?

Networking can lead to job opportunities, provide social support, and help build a professional identity that reinforces recovery goals.

What unique challenges do high-risk industries pose for individuals in recovery?

High-risk industries, like the restaurant industry, may have environments that are more prone to substance use, requiring individuals to be vigilant and seek additional support.

Additional Resources

“Finding Employment In Recovery From Addiction: A Step-By-Step Guide”. ARK Behavioral Health.  Access here

“Working Through Recovery: How to Navigate Sobriety on the Job”. Jedeikin, M. (2022). Indeed.  Access here

“Finding a Job While in Recovery”.  Reviewed by Hoffman, K. (2023).  Access here

“A Guide To Finding Employment In Recovery”. Powers, T. (2016). Sober Nation.  Access here

Substance Abuse and College Life

Navigating College Life in the Midst of the Substance Use Dilemma

College life can be a mix of calm and storm, especially when it comes to navigating the complex issue of substance use.  It is important for students entering into college life understand the pitfalls and dangers of drug use that may manifest at university life.  With parties, new friends, peer pressure, school, work, and exam pressures, drug use sometimes seems like a way for students to relax and de-stress but instead, whether it is simple binge drinking to more dangerous pills to enhance study performance, drug use within university life can be a dangerous detour in life.

Campus life and partying can lead to substance abuse problems throughout life


The article, “ADDICTION RECOVERY DURING HIGHER EDUCATION” from looks at some of the common issues, as well as drugs that accompany college life.  The article states,

It’s clear that college students are under a lot of pressure from school and their peers, leading them to engage in risky behaviors like substance misuse. There’s no denying the great benefit young adults stand to gain from attending schools of higher education, but it would be unwise to dismiss the use of alcohol and drugs as a normal part of the experience. Every year students struggle with academic performance and become injured or die as a result of substance use disorder.

To read the entire article, please click here



The Impact of Substance Use on College Students

Patterns of Substance Use

Understanding the patterns of substance use among college students is crucial for addressing the broader implications of this issue. The prevalence of substance use varies across different types of substances, with alcohol, marijuana, and prescription drugs being the most commonly used. The frequency and intensity of use also differ, ranging from occasional experimentation to regular, heavy use that may signal dependency.

  • Alcohol: Often seen as a central part of college social life, with a significant number of students engaging in binge drinking.
  • Marijuana: Usage has been rising, possibly due to changing legal status and perceptions of risk.
  • Prescription Drugs: Nonmedical use of prescription stimulants and opioids is a concern, particularly for their cognitive enhancement and pain relief properties.

The transition to college life can be a period of increased vulnerability to substance use due to new social pressures and stressors. This period often coincides with a peak in risk-taking behaviors, including experimentation with drugs and alcohol.

The data on substance use can be complex, with various factors influencing patterns, such as demographics, campus culture, and individual psychology. It is essential to analyze these patterns through a multifaceted lens to develop effective interventions.

Consequences of Substance Use

The repercussions of substance use among college students extend beyond the individual, affecting academic performance, personal relationships, and future career prospects. Substance use can lead to a range of health issues, from acute effects like overdoses and injuries to long-term consequences such as addiction and mental health disorders.

  • Academic difficulties: missed classes, lower grades, and increased dropout rates
  • Health problems: both physical (e.g., liver damage, heart problems) and psychological (e.g., anxiety, depression)
  • Legal issues: arrests, fines, and a criminal record
  • Social repercussions: strained relationships, isolation, and decreased social activities

The intersection of substance use and college life creates a complex web of challenges that students must navigate. The consequences are not isolated to health but permeate every aspect of life, often with long-lasting effects.

It is crucial to understand that these outcomes are not inevitable. With the right support and resources, students can overcome the challenges posed by substance use and lead successful, healthy lives.

Factors Influencing Substance Use

The myriad factors influencing substance use among college students are complex and multifaceted. Environmental, psychological, and social elements all play a critical role in shaping students’ attitudes and behaviors towards substance consumption.

  • Environmental Factors: The college environment itself can be a significant contributor, with the availability of substances and the presence of events that encourage use.
  • Psychological Factors: Individual characteristics such as stress levels, mental health status, and personal history with substance use can heavily influence a student’s propensity towards using substances.
  • Social Factors: Peer pressure, the desire for social acceptance, and exposure to substance-using role models are powerful social factors that can sway a student’s decision-making.

The interplay between these factors can create a scenario where substance use becomes a normative behavior, despite the potential risks and consequences. Understanding these influences is crucial for developing effective prevention and intervention strategies.

Mental Health and Substance Use in College

Co-Occurrence of Mental Health Issues

The intersection of mental health issues and substance use in college students is a critical area of concern. The prevalence of co-occurring disorders—where individuals struggle with both mental health problems and substance abuse—has been observed to be significantly higher in the college population compared to the general public. This dual challenge can exacerbate the severity of each condition, leading to a complex cycle that is difficult to break.

Numerous stressors at home and at school can push college students into experimentation with different types of drugs


The relationship between mental health and substance use is often bidirectional, with each influencing the onset and progression of the other. For instance, students may turn to substances as a form of self-medication for untreated or undiagnosed mental health issues, while substance use can also contribute to the development or worsening of mental health conditions.

The following list outlines common mental health disorders that frequently co-occur with substance use among college students:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Eating disorders

Addressing these co-occurring issues requires a comprehensive approach that considers the unique needs of each student. It is essential for college health services to integrate mental health and substance use treatment, offering a continuum of care that can adapt to the evolving needs of students.

Treatment Approaches

In the realm of college life, where mental health and substance use often intersect, treatment approaches must be multifaceted and tailored to the individual’s needs. Evidence-based therapies, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Motivational Interviewing (MI), have shown efficacy in addressing substance use disorders among college students. These therapies aim to modify harmful behaviors and thought patterns while enhancing motivation for change.

The integration of treatment modalities can significantly improve outcomes for students grappling with substance use issues.

A comprehensive treatment plan may include a combination of the following:

  • Individual counseling to provide personalized support and strategies for overcoming substance use.
  • Group therapy sessions that offer peer support and a sense of community.
  • Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for cases involving opioid or alcohol dependence.
  • Access to campus health services for ongoing medical and psychological care.

It is crucial for treatment programs to be accessible, non-judgmental, and supportive, creating an environment where students feel safe to seek help. Collaboration between campus health services, counseling centers, and external healthcare providers can ensure a continuum of care that addresses both the immediate and long-term needs of the student.

AIHCP offers a Substance Abuse Practitioner Certification for qualified professionals looking to help those dealing with addiction.

Preventive Strategies

In the realm of higher education, preventive strategies against substance use are paramount. Colleges and universities are increasingly adopting a multi-faceted approach to prevent substance misuse among students. These strategies are designed to address the issue before it escalates into addiction or causes harm.

  • Education and Awareness: Institutions are implementing educational programs to inform students about the risks associated with substance use.
  • Skill Development: Workshops on stress management, time management, and decision-making are offered to equip students with the skills needed to avoid substance use.
  • Environmental Strategies: Changes to the campus environment, such as limiting the availability of substances and promoting substance-free events, help to reduce the temptation and accessibility of drugs and alcohol.

By fostering a campus culture that prioritizes health and well-being, colleges can create a supportive environment that discourages substance use and encourages positive lifestyle choices.

The success of these strategies often hinges on their integration into the fabric of campus life, ensuring that they are not isolated efforts but part of a comprehensive plan. Collaboration between students, faculty, and health services is essential to create a unified front against substance misuse.

Social Dynamics and Substance Use in College

Peer Influence

The social environment in college can significantly shape students’ attitudes and behaviors towards substance use. Peer influence is a critical factor in the decision-making process of college students regarding the consumption of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. The desire to fit in or be accepted by a group can lead to the adoption of risky behaviors that are normalized within certain social circles.

  • The prevalence of substance use in social gatherings
  • The role of fraternities and sororities
  • The impact of peer pressure on individual choices

The dynamics of peer relationships often dictate the norms around substance use, which can either mitigate or exacerbate the issue.

Understanding the mechanisms of peer influence is essential for developing targeted interventions. Social networks within the college setting can act as conduits for both positive and negative behaviors. Therefore, addressing peer influence in substance use requires a nuanced approach that considers the complex interplay of social factors.

Social Norms

Social norms within the college environment play a pivotal role in shaping students’ attitudes and behaviors towards substance use. These unwritten rules and shared expectations can either mitigate or exacerbate the prevalence of substance use on campus. The normalization of substance use in social settings often leads to increased consumption among students, as they seek to align with perceived group standards.

  • The perception of substance use as a common and accepted behavior among peers
  • The influence of social gatherings and events where substance use is prevalent
  • The role of Greek life and other campus organizations in setting social norms

The challenge lies in altering the social narrative to one that promotes healthy behaviors and critical thinking about the consequences of substance use.

Efforts to shift social norms require a multifaceted approach, including education, policy changes, and the promotion of substance-free social options. By addressing these norms directly, colleges can create an environment that supports healthier choices and reduces the pressure to engage in substance use.

Campus Policies and Programs

Substance Abuse Practitioners can play a role in helping students cope with school and exams without relying on drinking or pills


Colleges and universities have a unique role in shaping the environment in which students make decisions about substance use. Campus policies and programs are critical in establishing norms and providing support to students grappling with substance-related issues. These policies range from strict enforcement of legal drinking age to the provision of counseling and rehabilitation services.

  • Prevention Programs: Aimed at educating students about the risks associated with substance use.
  • Counseling Services: Offer support for students dealing with substance use and mental health issues.
  • Recovery Communities: Provide a supportive environment for students committed to maintaining sobriety.
  • Policy Enforcement: Involves disciplinary actions for substance use violations to deter future incidents.

The effectiveness of these programs and policies is often reflected in the campus culture, which can either condone or condemn substance use. A proactive approach in policy implementation and program development is essential to foster a healthy educational environment.

It is imperative for institutions to continuously evaluate and adapt their strategies to meet the evolving needs of their student population. Collaboration with student organizations and health services can enhance the reach and impact of these initiatives, creating a more comprehensive approach to substance use prevention and support.

Academic Performance and Substance Use

Effects on Academic Achievement

The nexus between substance use and academic performance in college students is a critical area of concern. Substance use has been consistently linked to poorer academic outcomes, including lower grades, higher rates of absenteeism, and an increased likelihood of dropping out. The cognitive impairments associated with substance abuse, such as diminished concentration and memory, directly undermine the ability to learn and perform academically.

The relationship between substance use and academic achievement is not merely correlational but indicative of a complex interplay of factors that affect a student’s educational trajectory.

To illustrate the impact more clearly, consider the following table which outlines the correlation between substance use frequency and academic indicators:

Substance Use Frequency GPA Range Absenteeism Rate
High 2.0 – 2.5 20% – 30%
Moderate 2.5 – 3.0 10% – 20%
Low 3.0 – 4.0 5% – 10%

Furthermore, academic support systems play a pivotal role in mitigating the adverse effects of substance use. These systems include tutoring programs, academic advising, and mental health services. They are essential for providing the necessary assistance to students who struggle with substance use issues, ensuring that their academic journey is not irreparably derailed.

Support Systems

In the academic context, support systems play a pivotal role in mitigating the negative impact of substance use on students’ educational outcomes. Effective support systems are characterized by their accessibility, responsiveness, and comprehensiveness. They often encompass a range of services, including counseling, peer support groups, and academic accommodations.

  • Counseling Services: Provide individual or group therapy sessions to address substance-related issues.
  • Peer Support Groups: Offer a platform for students to share experiences and coping strategies.
  • Academic Accommodations: Assist students in managing their coursework during recovery.

These support mechanisms are designed to work in tandem, creating a safety net that encourages students to seek help without fear of judgment or academic penalty. It is crucial for institutions to actively promote these resources to ensure students are aware of and can easily access them.

The integration of support systems into the fabric of campus life is essential for fostering a nurturing environment that prioritizes student well-being and academic success.  Certified Substance Abuse Practitioners from AIHCP can offer aid and support to campus life.


Interventions in the academic setting play a crucial role in addressing substance use among college students. Early identification and support can significantly alter the trajectory of a student’s academic and personal life. Tailored intervention strategies are essential, as they must align with the unique needs of each individual.

  • Educational workshops
  • Counseling services
  • Peer support groups
  • Referral to professional treatment

These interventions aim to not only provide immediate support but also to equip students with the tools necessary for long-term recovery and academic success. It is imperative that institutions foster an environment where seeking help is normalized and encouraged.

It is important to discover other coping methods to face the daily demands of college life without falling victim to substance abuse

The success of interventions is often measured by their ability to reduce the frequency of substance use and improve academic performance. Continuous evaluation and adaptation of these programs are necessary to ensure their effectiveness in the ever-changing landscape of college life.

Coping Mechanisms and Substance Use

Stress Management

College life presents a unique set of stressors that can lead students to seek relief through substance use. Effective stress management is crucial in mitigating the risk of substance dependency. Students who develop robust coping mechanisms are better equipped to handle the pressures of academic and social demands without resorting to harmful substances.

  • Identification of stress triggers
  • Time management skills
  • Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and yoga
  • Regular physical activity
  • Adequate sleep

The ability to manage stress through healthy practices is not only beneficial for students’ mental health but also serves as a protective factor against substance abuse. Developing a personal toolkit of stress management strategies can empower students to navigate college challenges more successfully.

It is important for educational institutions to provide resources and support for stress management. Workshops, counseling services, and wellness programs can play a significant role in educating students about the importance of self-care and the dangers of using substances as a coping mechanism.

Coping Strategies

In the academic sphere, the development of effective coping strategies is paramount for college students grappling with substance use. Adaptive coping mechanisms can mitigate the risk of substance abuse and aid in the management of stressors inherent to college life. These strategies often involve a combination of personal, social, and institutional support systems.

  • Personal coping strategies may include mindfulness practices, physical activity, and engaging in hobbies. These activities serve to distract from cravings and reduce stress.
  • Social coping strategies involve seeking support from friends, family, or support groups who provide encouragement and accountability.
  • Institutional coping strategies refer to utilizing campus resources such as counseling centers, health services, and substance-free events.

The cultivation of a robust set of coping strategies is essential for students to navigate the pressures of college without resorting to substance use. It is a proactive approach that emphasizes resilience and self-care.

While individual strategies vary, the common goal is to foster an environment where students can thrive academically and personally, without reliance on substances. Institutions play a critical role in providing the necessary resources and creating a supportive campus culture.

Healthy Alternatives

In the quest to mitigate substance use among college students, the promotion of healthy alternatives plays a pivotal role. Engaging in regular physical activity, pursuing hobbies, and participating in community service can significantly redirect the focus from substance use to more constructive endeavors. These activities not only provide a sense of accomplishment but also enhance overall well-being.

  • Physical activities such as sports, yoga, or gym sessions
  • Creative pursuits like music, art, or writing
  • Volunteering for social causes or joining student organizations

Embracing these alternatives fosters a supportive environment that encourages personal growth and resilience. It is essential for students to have access to resources that facilitate the adoption of these positive practices.

Furthermore, the establishment of campus-wide programs that highlight the benefits of a substance-free lifestyle can reinforce the value of these healthy alternatives. By integrating such programs into the college culture, institutions can create a more inclusive and supportive atmosphere for all students.

Community Engagement and Substance Use Prevention

Community Initiatives

Community initiatives play a pivotal role in the prevention of substance use among college students. These programs often leverage local resources and are tailored to meet the specific needs of the community. Boldly, they bridge the gap between college campuses and the wider community, fostering a supportive environment that discourages substance use.

  • Campus-Community Partnerships: These collaborations focus on creating a seamless support network for students.
  • Awareness Events: Local events and workshops raise awareness about the dangers of substance use.
  • Volunteer Programs: Engaging students in community service can provide a sense of purpose and deter substance use.

Community initiatives not only address the immediate risks associated with substance use but also work towards building a resilient student body equipped with the knowledge and skills to make informed choices.

The success of these initiatives often hinges on the active participation of various stakeholders, including students, faculty, local businesses, and law enforcement agencies. By working together, they create a comprehensive approach to substance use prevention that resonates throughout the community.

Educational Campaigns

Educational campaigns play a pivotal role in substance use prevention on college campuses. These campaigns are designed to inform students about the risks associated with substance use, and to promote healthy, drug-free lifestyles. By leveraging various communication channels, such campaigns aim to reach a broad audience and create a more informed student body.

  • Awareness-raising events
  • Distribution of informational materials
  • Workshops and seminars
  • Social media outreach

Educational campaigns often rely on peer-to-peer communication to enhance their effectiveness. This approach capitalizes on the influence that students have over their peers, fostering a supportive environment for making healthy choices.

The success of these campaigns is frequently measured through surveys and feedback mechanisms, which help to tailor future initiatives to the needs and preferences of the student population. Continuous evaluation and adaptation are crucial to ensure that the message remains relevant and impactful.

Collaborative Efforts

Collaborative efforts in substance use prevention are pivotal in fostering a supportive environment for college students. Interdisciplinary partnerships between academic institutions, healthcare providers, and community organizations have shown to enhance the efficacy of prevention programs. These alliances leverage diverse expertise and resources to address the multifaceted nature of substance use.

  • Academic institutions provide research-based insights and educational resources.
  • Healthcare providers offer clinical support and mental health services.
  • Community organizations contribute with outreach programs and local support networks.

The synergy of these collaborations creates a comprehensive approach to substance use prevention, aiming to reduce the incidence and mitigate the impact on the student body.

The success of these joint ventures can often be measured through various metrics, such as reduced substance use rates, increased awareness, and improved student well-being. It is essential for these collaborative efforts to be sustained over time to ensure long-term benefits and adapt to the evolving landscape of college life.


In conclusion, the complex interplay between college life and substance use presents a significant challenge for students navigating this delicate balance. As highlighted throughout this article, the prevalence of drug use among college students underscores the need for comprehensive support systems and educational initiatives to address this pressing issue. By fostering a culture of open communication, promoting healthy coping mechanisms, and providing access to resources for those in need, universities can play a pivotal role in mitigating the risks associated with substance use on campus. It is imperative for all stakeholders, including students, faculty, and administrators, to work collaboratively towards creating a safer and more supportive environment that prioritizes the well-being and success of every individual.

Please also review AIHCP’s Substance Abuse Practitioner Program and see if it matches your academic and professional goals


Please also review AIHCP’s Substance Abuse Practitioner Certification and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification as a Substance Abuse Practitioner


Frequently Asked Questions

What are the common patterns of substance use among college students?

Common patterns of substance use among college students include experimentation, social use, regular use, and abuse.

What are the potential consequences of substance use for college students?

Potential consequences of substance use for college students may include academic decline, health issues, legal problems, and impaired decision-making.

What factors influence substance use among college students?

Factors influencing substance use among college students may include peer pressure, stress, mental health issues, and availability of substances.

How do mental health issues and substance use often co-occur in college students?

Mental health issues and substance use often co-occur in college students as individuals may use substances to cope with mental health symptoms.

What are some common treatment approaches for college students with co-occurring mental health and substance use issues?

Common treatment approaches may include integrated therapy, medication management, and support groups tailored to address both mental health and substance use concerns.

What preventive strategies can help college students reduce the risk of substance use?

Preventive strategies for college students may include education on the risks of substance use, promoting healthy coping mechanisms, and creating a supportive campus environment.

How does peer influence impact substance use among college students?

Peer influence can play a significant role in college students’ substance use behaviors, as individuals may be influenced by their peers’ attitudes and behaviors towards substances.

What role do campus policies and programs play in addressing substance use among college students?

Campus policies and programs can help create a safe and supportive environment by implementing substance-free initiatives, providing resources for students in need, and promoting healthy lifestyle choices.

Additional Resources

“Substance Use Among College Students”. Justine W. Welsh, M.D.,corresponding author Yujia Shentu, M.S., and Dana B. Sarvey, M.D. (*2019). National Library of Medicine.  Access here

“College Drug Abuse”. Addiction Center. (2024).  Access here

“Comprehensive Guide to Drugs on Campus”. Access here 

“For College Students Battling Addiction, a Safe Space for Recovery”. Johnson, S. (2022). U.S News.  Access here


Substance Abuse Counseling: Techniques for Addiction Recovery.

By – James M. Katz, BA

A sheet of paper with "Drug Addiction, Substance abuse" wrote on it.
Substance Abuse Counseling saves lives!

Substance abuse counseling plays a critical role in addiction recovery and families overcome the challenges of addiction. As a substance abuse counselor, the primary objective is to provide support, guidance, and therapy to those struggling with substance abuse and addiction. In this comprehensive guide, I will explore the various aspects of substance abuse counseling, including the role of a counselor, the nature of substance abuse and addiction, the stages of addiction recovery, counseling approaches and techniques, the importance of family involvement, tips for finding the right counselor, common myths and misconceptions, and resources for counseling and support.

Substance Abuse Counseling is extremely important in Addiction Recovery. Identifying the root causes of the addiction is also extremely important. Events, triggers, and existing issues in one’s personal life can create problems with any recovery effort. In the article quoted below, it goes more in depth on the causes of substance abuse.

Addiction can be a difficult and overwhelming experience for individuals and their loved ones. It is important to understand the root of the problem and take appropriate steps to combat substance abuse. Addiction can have a major impact on an individual’s physical and mental health, as well as their personal and professional relationships. Seeking help and support is crucial for overcoming addiction and maintaining a healthy, fulfilling life.

The Ultimate Guide For Addiction Recovery. By David Hucks December 6, 2023 Myrtle Beach SC News

 Full Article Here


The Role of Substance Abuse Counseling

As a substance abuse counselor, the role is multifaceted. They are responsible for assessing the needs of individuals struggling with substance abuse and addiction, developing personalized treatment plans, and providing therapy and support throughout the recovery process. Working closely with clients to identify the underlying causes of their addiction, address any co-occurring mental health issues, and help them develop strategies for maintaining sobriety. Additionally, they play a crucial role in educating individuals and their families about the nature of addiction and the importance of seeking professional help.

Understanding Substance Abuse and Addiction

Substance abuse refers to the harmful or hazardous use of psychoactive substances, such as alcohol, drugs, or prescription medications. Addiction, on the other hand, is characterized by a compulsive need to use a substance despite negative consequences. It is essential to understand that addiction is a chronic disease that affects the brain, leading to changes in behavior, cognition, and emotional regulation. Substance abuse and addiction can have severe physical, psychological, and social consequences, and seeking professional help is crucial for recovery.

The Stages of Addiction Recovery

Recovery from addiction is a complex and lifelong process that involves several stages. The first stage is recognition, where individuals become aware of their substance abuse problem and acknowledge the need for change. This is followed by the stage of detoxification, where individuals undergo a supervised withdrawal process to rid their bodies of the addictive substance. The next stage is rehabilitation, which involves therapy, counseling, and learning new coping skills to prevent relapse. Finally, the maintenance stage focuses on sustaining sobriety and preventing relapse through ongoing support and aftercare programs.

A post it note with "Addiction, We can Help!" wrote on it.
Addiction recovery? Coaching can help!

Types of Substance Abuse Counseling Approaches

Substance abuse counseling employs various approaches to address the unique needs of individuals struggling with addiction. Some common approaches include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which helps individuals identify and change destructive patterns of thinking and behavior, and motivational interviewing, which aims to increase an individual’s motivation to change. Other approaches may include dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), family therapy, group therapy, and holistic therapies such as yoga and meditation. The choice of approach depends on the individual’s needs, preferences, and the severity of the addiction.

Techniques Used in Substance Abuse Counseling

Substance abuse counseling utilizes a range of techniques to support individuals in their recovery journey. These techniques may include individual counseling sessions, where clients can explore their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in a safe and confidential space. Group therapy sessions provide individuals with a supportive community and the opportunity to learn from others who have faced similar challenges. Additionally, counselors may use behavioral interventions, such as contingency management, to reinforce positive behaviors and discourage substance abuse. The use of evidence-based techniques ensures that counseling is effective and tailored to the unique needs of each individual.

The Importance of Family Involvement in Substance Abuse Counseling

Family involvement is crucial in substance abuse counseling, as addiction affects not only the individual but also their loved ones. Families play a significant role in providing support, understanding, and encouragement throughout the recovery process. Family therapy sessions can help address underlying family dynamics that may contribute to substance abuse. Education and support for family members can also help them understand the nature of addiction and develop healthy coping mechanisms. Involving the family in counseling can strengthen relationships and provide a solid foundation for long-term recovery.

Tips for Finding the Right Substance Abuse Counselor

  • Finding the right substance abuse counselor is essential for effective treatment. Here are some tips to consider when searching for a counselor:
  • Look for credentials and experience: Ensure that the counselor is licensed and has expertise in substance abuse counseling.
  • Evaluate their approach: Different counselors may have different therapeutic approaches, so find one that aligns with your needs and preferences.
  • Seek recommendations: Reach out to trusted healthcare professionals, friends, or family members who may have experience with substance abuse counseling.
  • Consider accessibility: Choose a counselor who is conveniently located and offers flexible appointment options.
  • Trust your instincts: It is crucial to feel comfortable and trust your counselor, as this will facilitate open and honest communication.

Common Myths and Misconceptions about Substance Abuse Counseling

There are several myths and misconceptions surrounding substance abuse counseling that can hinder individuals from seeking help. It is important to debunk these myths to encourage individuals to seek the support they need. Some common myths include the belief that counseling is only for severe addiction, that it is a sign of weakness or failure, or that it is ineffective. Substance abuse counseling is a valuable and evidence-based approach to addiction recovery that can help individuals regain control over their lives and achieve lasting sobriety.

Resources for Substance Abuse Counseling and Support

There are numerous resources available for individuals and families seeking substance abuse counseling and support. Local community centers, healthcare clinics, and hospitals often offer counseling services. National helplines and online directories can provide information on local resources and treatment centers. Additionally, support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) offer a supportive community of individuals in recovery. It is essential to explore these resources and find the support that best suits your needs.


A group session being conducted.
Admitting you need Substance Abuse Counseling is the first step.

Substance abuse counseling is a vital component of addiction recovery, providing individuals and families with the support, guidance, and therapy needed to overcome substance abuse. By understanding the role of a substance abuse counselor, the nature of addiction, the stages of recovery, counseling approaches and techniques, and the importance of family involvement, individuals can make informed decisions about seeking help. It is crucial to debunk common myths and misconceptions and utilize available resources to find the right counselor and support system. With professional assistance and a commitment to change, individuals and families can embark on a journey of recovery and achieve lasting sobriety. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, don’t hesitate to seek help. Reach out to a substance abuse counselor or a local treatment center to start your journey to recovery today. For more information on how to become a substance abuse counselor please consider reviewing our Substance Abuse Practitioner program


SAMHSA Homepage

NAADAC – The Association for Addiction Professionals

Additional Resources:

Predictors of early dropout in outpatient buprenorphine/naloxone treatment. Marcovitz, D.E., et al. (2016), Am J Addict, 25: 472-477.

Access link here 

Deception and Drug Acquisition: Correlates of “Success” Among Drug-Seeking Patients. Sanders AN, et al. Journal of Primary Care & Community Health. 2016;7(3):175-179.

Access link here 

RCAM: a proposed model of recovery capital for adolescents, Addiction Research & Theory. Emily A. Hennessy, Julie V. Cristello & John F. Kelly (2019) 27:5, 429-436,

Access link here 

Lifestyle interventions in the management of substance use disorder. Naren, T., Cook, J., Armstrong, F., & Manger, S. (2022). Australian Journal of General Practice, 51(8), 560–564.

Access link here 



Managing Substance Abuse and Addiction during the Holidays

The holidays bring joy but they also can bring stress, grief, and even bad habits back to light.  It is amazing how a holiday, for some spiritual, and others family orientated can turn grey.  Some allow the eustress of the moment to overwhelm themselves and they lose the message.  Others face losses of loved one years earlier in the year and are facing the holiday alone for the first time without that person.  Finally, others may have addiction issues that are tempted during the holidays.  With more parties, drinking and unhealthy diets, individuals may fall prey to a simple taste or drink that can lead to re-opening bad habits.

When attitudes about religious holidays become about partying and drinking, then substance abuse occurs as well as addiction triggers


This is particularly true with substance abuse.  Individuals who have remained sober may find the celebration to be too tempting and share in one drink that turns into many. Others may re-awaken the demon of addiction by a simple taste.  Hence this time of year can be a big issue for individuals for different reasons.  In particular, this blog will look at addiction and drinking as something that can easily wrong during the holiday season.  The article, “THE RIGHT WAY TO CARE: Managing addictions during the holidays” by Jennifer Burdo brings to the light the danger of addiction and its re-emergence during the Holidays and how to better manage it.  She states,

“If you struggle with substance abuse, be prepared to decline invitations to consume alcohol at a social gathering. It’s also acceptable to decline an invitation to attend a social event entirely. Your peace of mind and stability are most important.  Plan ahead to deal with tempting situations. If you are hosting a party, be sure to offer plenty of non-alcoholic beverages. Never question why a person chooses not to drink alcohol or try to push him/her to just have one drink. Alcohol is not a requirement for celebrations.  Choose healthy new habits, opportunities to meet new friends and try new activities to limit temptation and the desire to engage in unhealthy habits.”

“THE RIGHT WAY TO CARE: Managing addictions during the holidays”. Burdo, J. (2023). Union-Sun and Journal.

To read the entire article, please access here


First and foremost, the mindset of the Holidays is so over secularized that it has become very pagan and alienated from the principles of Hanukkah, Christmas and Thanksgiving.  The times are supposed to reflect spiritual values, giving, sharing, family, and religious beliefs.   While secularized events, gifts, mythological characters, and exotic dinners are fine, they can become the everything of the season, dismissing the the true elements.  When such secularism runs wild without spiritual restraint, then parties and drinking become the central element.

“Overdose on Christmas, Give it up for Lent”

Those words from Robbie Williams song, “Millennium” sum up the whole problem.  The idea of feasting and over indulging is so synonymous with especially Christmas.  Instead of Christians preparing themselves for the birth of their Savior, within Christianity, most Christians are preoccupied only with the tree and tales of Santa, instead of also incorporating the manager scene and reading Scripture.  No idea of sacrifice is employed during Advent, as a time for preparing of the birth of Jesus Christ.  Instead, the idea of excess, commercialism and partying replace the time of sacrifice, giving and preparation.

The over indulgence with drinking is a major problem during the holidays. Please also review AIHCP’s Substance Abuse Counseling Certification


How many Jews and Christians attend services for Hanukkah or Christmas?  How many find time to read their sacred scriptures and prepare their souls?  The transformation of the Holiday season into a time of partying and buying things has created a dangerous mindset for those with addictive mindsets and because of this new and dangerous re-invention of the Holidays, individuals feel more obliged to over indulge with food, drinking and excessive spending.  It is the new spiritual guidelines to follow.

Managing Substance Abuse During the Holidays

Whether one invests in this mindset or not, whether spiritual or secular, those facing addiction have an upward challenge during the Holiday season.  They need to prepare themselves for the higher energy and sensory overloads of the season with its obliged indulgences and expected treats.  In doing so, those with addiction issues can make it known to family and friends there inability to drink and while not wishing to ruin the fun of others, politely in advance remind family and friends of their addiction issue.  If heavy drinking takes place, the individual needs to have the restraint to leave early, or maybe not go.  Individuals with addiction should be given alternative beverages at parties.   A host who pushes drink on an addicted person or does not provide alternative beverages should be avoided and those parties considered high risk by the addicted.

Others who are not addicted but trying to push back their drinking should consider moderation in consumption of alcohol and sugary treats.  The party mentality leads to hangovers, lost time, and greater stress.  It is far better to enjoy in moderation and share good times instead of drunken moments of embarrassment. Keep in mind, it is important for addicted and non addicted alike to limit triggers that cause excessive drinking or even having just one.  It is important to build boundaries in advance in response to peer pressure.  A plan is key for any event and how one will react or respond to temptation.

Avoiding triggers, having a plan and moderation is key during the holidays.
Please also review AIHCP’s Substance Abuse Counseling Program

Some may even consider different type of events not focused on partying and drinking.  There are many spiritual and also non spiritual events on community calendars void of drinking but instead wholesome family fun.  One can also find like minded individuals to spend the holidays with that are not centered on partying and drinking.

If hosting, be considerate to those with substance abuse issues and provide what is needed to help them have a fun but safe experience at your home.  Unfortunately, many individuals drive drunk during the Holidays leading to drunk and driving deaths and fatalities.  The roads can become far more unsafe than the ice on them.


With the proper disposition and attitude toward the season, many poor substance abuse decisions can be prevented.  Moderation and enjoyment in balance is the key.  For those addicted, it is important to manage where one goes and what parties one attends.  Hosts can play a key role in helping those with addiction find alternatives to drink or eat.

If one can make this time far more simpler, consider the grieving, consider the addicted, consider the poor and cold, and in term, moderate in the excessiveness of the season and return to the root of humility and giving, then the season can be less tempting to the addictive and far more productive for society, even if not religious or spiritual.

Bear in mind, such excess of lights, wonderment, and joy not grounded in spirituality, moderation and care of others can lead to a far more disruptive episode after the New Year when many individuals fall into depression.

Please also review AIHCP’s Substance Abuse Counseling Program


Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Program, as well as its Spiritual and Christian Counseling Programs, and also its Substance Abuse Counseling Program.  The programs are online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification.

Additional Resources

“10 Tips to Combat Substance Abuse during the Holidays”. Centerstone. Access here

“Navigating the Holidays With a Substance Use Disorder”. (2020). Psychology Today.  Access here

“Some Common Holiday Addiction Triggers, & How to Avoid Them”. McClernon, D. Recovery Centers of America.  Access here

“Supporting Those in Recovery During the Holidays”. Glordano, A. (2021). Psychology Today.  Access here

Chronology of Addiction and Substance Abuse

Addiction always begins with simple curiosity and eventually develops into habitual or biological and neurological dependence.   A simple taste, smoke, snort, drink, or injection can lead to a life long battle with addiction.   Peer pressure and escapism from issues can all open the door into these unhealthy habits.  Some have an easier escape via counseling and coping, while others have a more difficult escape due to withdraw and physical and neurological cravings for the substance itself.  Depending on one’s family history, the nature of the drug itself, personality,  and commitment and support, addiction recovery can have a long chronological path with many different stages and outcomes for different people.  Again, it simply begins with curiosity gone terribly wrong.

The process and chronology of addiction goes in phases but the entrance and exiting of addiction is different for many people based on numerous subjective aspects the addiction and its story.


The article, “The Chronology of Addiction: Watch Out for Key Warning Signs” by Dr Sachin Mangla looks at the chronology of addiction and paths it can take.  In the article, Mangla states,

“Although the factors that lead to addiction are varied, it is extremely hard to pull oneself out of the vicious cycle of addiction. Additionally, in a recent study, it has been found that individuals who are caught in one addiction are at an increased risk for developing another new addiction. While this is especially true among patients with alcohol dependence, this could be equally applied to other forms of substance abuse, including opioids, sedatives, inhalants, cocaine, amphetamines and cannabis, among other things”

“The Chronology of Addiction: Watch Out for Key Warning Signs”. Mangla, S. (2023). HealthShots.

To review the entire article, please click here

Entering Addiction

If one is seeking answers why individuals become addicted, then one will find a wide variety of reasons.

Age itself plays a key role.  Individuals in their teens are more prone to experiment and try new things that can be harmful due to peer pressure but also due to depression and hormonal changes.  With life seeming more dramatic that it is, individuals with low self image and chemical changes into adulthood may seek relief from substances, especially if good family support and example is not present in the home.  Teens can easily become attached to smoking, drinking and weed at an early age.  Some will later through these gateway drugs experiment with worst drugs in college and later life, especially if life takes an ugly turn.  While some may be able to “grow out” of it, some do not.  Family life and support, morals and upbringing, mental stability, and genetic predisposition are all issues that point to one “growing out” of it or going down a darker path.  Ultimately, curiosity can play a key role that can lead to a regretful decision.

In addition to age itself, many find themselves addicted through misuse of pharmaceuticals.   Adults who are hurt on the job in the past were ordered opiates, a time of pain reliever with highly addictive qualities.   Through misuse of prescribing, many became addicted well after their healing from the injury.  While the pain went away, the addiction to the opiate continued.  This led to massive pill abuse over the years and is another ugly path and chronological process of addiction.

Others enter into the devastating process of addiction through mental anguish.  Those suffering from depression, suicidal thoughts, extreme anxiety and loss in life, turn to drinking and other substances to alleviate the pain.  They enter into a chronic relationship with the substance as a way to cope with the issue.  This improper coping method leads to a disastrous addictive behavior.

Exiting Addiction

Entering addiction is far easier than exiting.  While many have their own stories why they became addicted, those exiting have multiple different struggles.

Those with genetic predisposition can face a harder path than without.  Family history can reveal genetic predispositions to addiction of a particular substance.  In terms of alcohol, some may have no predisposition while others will develop into alcoholism and have severe physical and mental repercussions when they try to escape the substance.  Hence, those without these genetic predispositions have an easier time leaving the addicting path than others.

However, there are some substances that are far more insidious than alcohol and leave a higher rate of addiction.  Cocaine, Heroin, Opiates and Meth are examples of drugs that are far more addictive in nature and leave a far higher percentage entranced by its power.   Beyond the gateway drugs, more advanced drugs have a strong ability to trap individuals in a physical and mental addiction that has severe withdraws and a life long craving.

Exiting addiction is also a different story for those with poor coping abilities.  Those without support systems and coping strategies will find it much harder to escape addiction.  If an individual has family support, peer groups, and healthy strategies when coping with issues, then exiting is far more easier than people who have not these things.  Peer support groups are an excellent way where like minded individuals can come together and share their stories and mutual support. AA has created a system based upon peer support and better coping that emphasizes responsibility and admitting the problem.  Hence exit can be easier for some but harder for others without the necessary tools to mentally cope and deal with the pressures of exiting addiction.

Different Paths

Hence everyone has different entrance and exit stories regarding their personal addiction.  There are many subjective issues that create different stories and outcomes for different people.  Addiction Counselors are able to identify and classify these subjective elements and help create the best exist plan for an individual.  They can identify the issues and habits and also understand the unique situation for the individual and help find the best exit path, strengthening and supporting against particular weaknesses for that particular person.  Some may have different needs to exit an addiction, but due to their unique path, will have different addiction exit plans of action.  Substance Abuse Counselors or Substance Abuse Practitioners can help individuals find the best tailored plan.

Substance Abuse Practitioners can help individuals understand their unique situation with addiction and the best ways to fight it. Please also review AIHCP’s Substance Abuse Practitioner Training Program


It is important to note for some, addiction may be a life long cross.  Relapses happen, and in many stories, relapses are common.  Relapses should not be a sign of shame but a sign of how powerful the addiction is and how hard it is to overcome.  One who relapses must find the courage and strength to continue the plan.  By admitting one is human and imperfect and that one has a problem, then one can better face addiction and possible relapse with a stronger resolve next time.  Support groups, substance abuse practitioners and family and friends can all play a positive role in helping those who fall, to get back up again.

Stages of Addiction

After curiosity or for whatever reason one decides to try a substance, one may become enticed by it.  Some may though choose to never do it again due to a negative social experience, but some will continue to experiment with the drug on a social level.  Some may binge the drug during the weekend or only on particular days.  This type of abuse is known with alcohol and binge drinking.  Usually this begins only as a social experimentation with the drug itself but will later catapult into other parts of life.  Many simply the stages with binging, withdraw and negative effects and finally preoccupation and anticipation as the brain craves the drug again.  Hence the vicious cycle.

Dr. George E. Valliant listed and more detailed explanation in his three core phases of drug abuse.  As shown above, the asymptomatic phase results in various social settings for amusement and has random occurrences of hangover or physical discomfort following binge episodes.  It is sporadic.  However, this is not say minus addiction, it is not abuse of the substance.  If multiple social events occur, and the individual continually over consumes, or participates in dangerous behaviors it can become a serious issue in itself.  It can become in some ways a dangerous social habit while not per say addicted to the drug.  If one cannot cope in public or social settings without a particular substance, then one seriously needs to reflect on one’s life and where it is going and how bad it can become if something were to go wrong.

Valliant’s second phase results in abuse.  While considering social settings that result in continual misbehavior as abuse, when abuse of the substance is in response to poor coping with life at work or in relationships, or to deal with loss or depression, then it can become a more addictive problem in traditional sense.  Individuals at this phase may drink or abuse the particular drug alone and find themselves facing negative social, legal or physical health issues, but still find the need to abuse the drug despite these issues.

Finally, Valliant points out the final phase of dependency. In this case, addiction is in full display.  The person needs the drug to function in life.  Valliant listed four qualities associated with this level of addiction.  He points out a high tolerance for the drug, the development of withdraw symptoms when the drug is absent in the system, inability to regulate intake of the drug, and significant disruption in all aspects of life.   While some of these qualities may also exist in the second phase it merely shows the danger of addiction when any abuse takes place.

So many do not escape addiction.  Lives are ruined due to it.  Some die of over doses and are found later.  Others waste away family relationships and finance to pay for the substance.  Others destroy family relationships and betray responsibilities.

If anyone sees signs of these qualities even at a mere social level, there is still time to address the issue.  Whether it is due to coping or merely because one needs a substance to be social, these are signs of a deeper need that needs met.  Drugs are not the answer to meet these issues.  If one needs help, they can turn to substance abuse practitioners, LCPs, or peer support groups to find the solution and better coping needed to overcome potential disaster.


People become addicted for different reasons and the nature of the addiction varies dependent upon a variety of factors.  For some exiting addiction may be easy, but for others it may a long process with relapses, but with good guidance via a substance abuse counselor or support group, one can find the courage to push forward and exit substance abuse.

Understanding the stages of addiction is important. Please also review AIHCP’s Substance Abuse Practitioner Training Program


Please also review AIHCP’s Substance Abuse Counseling Program and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification as a Substance Abuse Practitioner.

Additional Resources

“What Are the Physical and Mental Stages of Addiction? “.  American Addiction Centers. (2022). Access here

“Addiction: Stages, signs, and treatment”. Richards, L. (2023). Medical News Today. Access here

“What Is Addiction?”. Tyler, M. (2018). Healthline.  Access here

“The 3 Stages of the Cycle of Addiction”. Swain, E. (2023). Addiction Group.  Access here

The Connection Between Addiction and Mental Health: How to Overcome

Drug Addiction and pills
Close up macro shot.

Written by Joseph Gilmore

With several people battling addiction and mental health, addiction and mental health present major global issues today.

For the general public, it’s crucial to understand the relationship between addiction and mental health. Moreover, it’s also important for the successful treatment and recovery of the user’s daily lifestyle.

Let’s delve into the complex relationship between addiction and mental health and provide insight on how to navigate these challenges. That said, if you’re facing any mental health issues, we strongly recommend professional insight to guide you through the right process for treatment and recovery.


What is Addiction, and How Does it Impact Someone’s Life?

Addiction is a chronic, overwhelming, and emotional condition characterized by a compulsion to engage in specific behaviors or consume substances, despite understanding their harmful consequences. Addiction affects people’s mental and physical health in undesirable ways.

In the United States, numerous Community Health Recovery Centers are dedicated to assisting individuals nationwide who are battling drug addiction. Ohio, in particular, is home to a number of these centers that prioritize providing effective treatment plans and comprehensive support. These centers recognize the significance of tailored care and offer a wide array of evidence-based treatments, therapy, and counseling services to address the unique circumstances of each individual. Emphasizing personalized approaches, Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers empower individuals to regain control of their recovery journey and work towards long-lasting well-being. These centers are essential resources within Ohio’s healthcare landscape, fostering a compassionate environment where individuals can find the support they need to overcome addiction and rebuild their lives.

Most of the time, addiction results in a lack of self-control, which in turn affects personal relationships with friends, family, and even one’s overall daily routine. Addiction, in general, can lead to serious financial, legal, and physical health problems.

Also, addiction worsens feelings of anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems. That’s why overcoming addiction requires an expert’s assistance and adherence to a complete treatment plan.


The Relationship Between Drug Addiction and Mental Health

The relationship between drug addiction and mental health reveals to you how important self-awareness and rehabilitation facilities are.

Recovery facilities play an important role in providing treatment to individuals battling addiction and mental health conditions alongside the support of friends and loved ones.


The Link Between Addiction and Mental Health

Addiction and mental health illnesses often coexist and can significantly impact one another. This connection is influenced by some factors, such as:

  • Self-Medication: People struggling with mental health have a high chance of using illegal substances to self-medicate and deal with negative emotions like anxiety, depression, or trauma.
  • Neurochemical Imbalance: Addiction and mental health problems can ruin the delicate normal balance of neurotransmitters in the brain, which can really increase the chance of co-occurring illnesses in your physical body.
  • Genetic Predisposition: Most people are likely to get addicted to drugs because of their family genes. A family history of substance addiction or mental illness can significantly raise the chances of increasing these problems.

Common Co-occurring Disorders


A young troubled man sitting on a chair in a blurred background. In the front hands of a therapy specialist taking notes during an individual meeting. Copy space.

  • Anxiety Disorders: Health disorders like panic and social anxiety disorder usually come with addiction. Anxiety-related stress can motivate people to seek comfort through the use of drugs.
  • Depression: Depression results from continued use of drugs. People use drugs or substances to numb their emotional anguish in the meantime or ease their feelings by getting high.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Traumatic experiences from the past can cause PTSD. It is causing people to self-medicate with drugs just to avoid disturbing dreams that are running through their heads.


Integrated Treatment Approaches

Integrated treatment approaches have been proven to be effective in the past years. They efficiently help address the complicated relationship between addiction and mental health.

  • Dual Diagnosis Assessment: This is an assessment and diagnosis of addiction and mental health issues required to develop a tailored treatment strategy. It helps concurrently address the patient’s conditions.
  • Comprehensive Therapies: Treatments such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and trauma-focused therapy are proven to help patients live healthier lives. They also help deal with traumatic situations and manage many health disorders simultaneously.


These treatments are recommended by experts for someone who is battling drug problems.

  • Medication Management: In some cases, it can be helpful to use medication to treat mental health problems and speed up the recovery process. In fact, it’s highly recommended by mental health experts most of the time. That said, close medical expert supervision is needed to guarantee safe and effective use.
  • Support Groups: Participating in support groups, such as 12-step programs or group therapy, can help people expand their knowledge and understanding. Peer support is also recommended for the long-term rehabilitation process.

A solid support system is essential in addition to professional treatment. This includes family, friends, or support groups that are used with the difficulties linked with addiction.


Seeking Professional Help: Recovery Centers and Addiction Treatment

Recovery centers are places specialized in offering full care for addiction and mental health problems. These recovery centers hire professionals with experience to help people with specific addictions and mental health issues.

 Here are some of the following reasons why a rehab center is recommended:

  • Expertise: Staff members at rehab centers specialize in addiction treatment. They have tons of experience in managing co-occurring mental health problems.
  • Holistic Approach: Most recovery plans take what we call a “holistic” approach to treatment. This means that they focus more on the person’s physical, emotional, and mental health.
  • Safe and Supportive Environment: Recovery centers are built to provide a safe and supportive environment. They also encourage healing and growth with proper treatment.


Why is Having a Strategy for Addiction Rehabilitation Important?

Recovery methods are important for a lot of different reasons. The first reason is to get help in stopping addiction and abuse of substances.

Secondly, the treatment for addiction offers a safe and supportive place for addicts or individuals with a history of substance abuse. They focus on minimizing the triggers and promoting healing. Rehabilitation facilities advise creating proper coping methods, improving relationships, and restoring individuals’ lives.

Lastly, when helping in rehab facilities that are battling addiction it’s more likely that the person will stay healthy. It also reduces the chance of a return or relapse, helping people get back to their normal lives and live a happy life without drug abuse.


Key Takeaways

There is a definite link between addiction and mental health and dealing with both is important for long-term healing. These said treatment methods help deal with these problems at the same time can help people heal and change in a better way.

Getting help from a rehabilitation center is the best way to get support and therapy. They can help individuals beat addiction and overcome other mental health problems.

People take charge of their lives, improve their health, and find a way to long-term recovery.

Remember that the first step toward a better and healthy future for someone with a drug problem is to get the correct information and help from experts.


By Joseph Gilmore

“Joseph Gilmore has been in the addiction industry for six years, including experience working with addiction treatment facilities all across the country. He is passionate about helping people learn more about the dangers of substance abuse and helping people get the assistance they need to fight back against addiction”


Please also review AIHCP’s Certificate Program for Substance Abuse Practitioner and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.  These programs are online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification.

Substance Abuse Counseling Advice for Teens and Parents.

By – James M. Katz, BA

Substance Abuse Counseling is an important step in battling addiction. Addiction is a complex condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It can be challenging to understand why some individuals become addicted to drugs or alcohol, while others do not. However, there are common causes and risk factors associated with addiction, and substance abuse counseling can help individuals overcome these challenges. In this article, we will explore practical tips and insights from substance abuse counseling experts and discuss the role of substance abuse counseling in overcoming addiction.

Understanding addiction and substance abuse counseling

Addiction is a chronic disease that affects the brain’s reward, motivation, and memory functions. It is characterized by compulsive drug-seeking behavior despite negative consequences. Addiction can lead to significant physical, psychological, and social problems, such as health issues, financial difficulties, and relationship problems.

Substance abuse counseling is a type of therapy that helps individuals with addiction overcome their substance abuse problems. It involves a range of interventions, including individual counseling, group therapy, and family therapy. Substance abuse counseling aims to help individuals understand the causes and consequences of their addiction, learn coping skills, and develop a plan for recovery.

Below is an article with more advice on teenage drug abuse and how to help our adolescent children overcome their addictions.

“The period of transition between childhood and adulthood, known as adolescence, is a crucial stage of development. Children entering adolescence experience many physical and psychological changes. Adolescents also tend to engage in risky behaviors, including alcohol and other substance use. Research has shown that most cases of substance use disorders started during the teenage and young adult years.

Studies and surveys have been highlighting the prevalence of substance use among high school students, including alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, prescription opioid, inhalants, ecstasy, cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, and injection drug. “

Full Article Here

Commentary:Students Holding Question Markes, What Kind of Future Could Have?

Statistics on teenage drug use and addiction

Teenage drug use is a significant public health concern in the United States. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), in 2020, approximately 24% of high school students reported using illicit drugs in the past year. Additionally, 5% of high school seniors reported using prescription drugs for non-medical purposes in the past month.

Teenage drug use can lead to a range of problems, such as poor academic performance, social problems, and health issues. It can also increase the risk of addiction later in life. Therefore, it is essential to address teenage drug use early on to prevent long-term consequences.

Common causes and risk factors for addiction

  • Addiction is a complex condition that can develop for various reasons. Common causes and risk factors associated with addiction include:
  • Genetics: Some individuals may be more susceptible to addiction due to genetic factors.
  • Environment: Exposure to drugs or alcohol at an early age, peer pressure, and stress can increase the risk of addiction.
  • Mental health issues: Individuals with mental health issues, such as anxiety or depression, may turn to drugs or alcohol to self-medicate.
  • Trauma: Individuals who have experienced trauma, such as physical or emotional abuse, may turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with their emotions.

Understanding the causes and risk factors associated with addiction can help individuals and their loved ones recognize the signs of addiction early on and seek help.

Signs and symptoms of addiction

Addiction can have a range of physical, psychological, and social symptoms. Common signs and symptoms of addiction include:

  • Physical symptoms: Changes in appetite, sleep patterns, and weight loss or gain.
  • Psychological symptoms: Mood swings, irritability, anxiety, and depression.
  • Social symptoms: Isolation from friends and family, financial difficulties, and legal problems.
  • Individuals with addiction may also experience cravings for drugs or alcohol and engage in compulsive drug-seeking behavior despite negative consequences.

The role of substance abuse counseling in overcoming addiction

Substance abuse counseling plays a vital role in helping individuals overcome addiction. It provides a safe and supportive environment for individuals to explore the root causes of their addiction and develop coping skills to manage their cravings and triggers.

Substance abuse counseling can also help individuals develop a plan for recovery, which may include individual counseling, group therapy, and family therapy. Additionally, substance abuse counseling can help individuals address co-occurring mental health issues, such as anxiety or depression, which may contribute to their addiction.

Practical tips for overcoming addiction from substance abuse counseling experts

Overcoming addiction is a challenging and ongoing process. However, there are practical tips and insights from substance abuse counseling experts that can help individuals on their journey to recovery. Some practical tips for overcoming addiction include:

  • Build a support system: Surround yourself with supportive friends and family members who understand your struggles and can offer encouragement and advice.
  • Practice self-care: Engage in activities that promote your physical, emotional, and mental well-being, such as exercise, meditation, and hobbies.
  • Develop coping skills: Learn healthy coping skills, such as deep breathing, mindfulness, and journaling, to manage your cravings and triggers.
  • Set realistic goals: Set achievable goals for your recovery, and celebrate your successes along the way.
  • Seek professional help: Work with a substance abuse counseling expert to develop a personalized plan for recovery and address any co-occurring mental health issues.

Insights on effective addiction treatment methods

Effective addiction treatment requires a comprehensive approach that addresses the physical, psychological, and social aspects of addiction. Some effective addiction treatment methods include:

  • Individual counseling: Work with a substance abuse counseling expert to explore the root causes of your addiction and develop coping skills to manage your cravings and triggers.
  • Group therapy: Engage in group therapy sessions with other individuals in recovery to gain support and learn from others’ experiences.
  • Family therapy: Work with a substance abuse counseling expert to address any family dynamics that may contribute to your addiction and develop healthy communication and coping skills.
  • Medication-assisted treatment: Use medication, such as methadone or buprenorphine, to manage opioid withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings.
  • Peer support: Engage in peer support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, to gain support and learn from others’ experiences.

The importance of peer support in recovery

Peer support plays a vital role in recovery from addiction. Peer support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, provide individuals with a safe and supportive environment to share their experiences, gain support, and learn from others’ experiences.

Peer support can also help individuals develop a sense of belonging and purpose, which can be especially important for individuals with addiction, who may feel isolated and ashamed of their struggles. Additionally, peer support can help individuals develop healthy coping skills and strategies for managing their addiction.

Resources for substance abuse counseling and addiction treatment

There are many resources available for individuals seeking substance abuse counseling and addiction treatment. Some resources include:

  • National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): Provides information on drug abuse and addiction and resources for treatment and support.
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): Provides resources for substance abuse treatment and mental health services.
  • Alcoholics Anonymous (AA): A peer support group for individuals with alcohol addiction.
  • Narcotics Anonymous (NA): A peer support group for individuals with drug addiction.
  • SMART Recovery: A self-help group that uses evidence-based techniques to help individuals overcome addiction.


Addiction is a complex condition that can have significant physical, psychological, and social consequences. However, with the help of substance abuse counseling, individuals with addiction can overcome their struggles and achieve long-term recovery. By understanding the causes and risk factors associated with addiction, recognizing the signs and symptoms of addiction, and seeking professional help, individuals can develop a personalized plan for recovery that meets their unique needs and goals. Remember that recovery is a journey, and it takes time, patience, and support.

Substance Abuse Counseling is a difficult yet extremely rewarding field. Psychologists and licenses counselors actively help drug addicted patients on a path to sobriety and a productive life. Constant continuing education is required to keep techniques and knowledge up to date. If you are interested in becoming a Substance Abuse Counselor and would like to learn more, please visit our Substance Abuse Practitioner program.


The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

National Institute on Drug Abuse

Additional Resources:

Teenage Substance Abuse: Impact on The Family System and Parents’ Coping Strategies. Prudence Mafa* Et Al. Pertanika J. Soc. Sci. & Hum. 28 (3): 1925 – 1938 (2020) Department of Social Work, Faculty of Humanities, University of Limpopo, 0727 Sovenga, South Africa

Access link here

Characteristics of Pregnant Teen Substance Abuse Treatment Admissions.  Strashny A. Review from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US), Rockville (MD), 23 Sep 2016 PMID: 27656738

Access link here

The Mediating Role of Social Support in the Relationship Between Parenting Styles and Adolescent Drug Abuse Identification. Li Liu Et Al. Front. Psychol., 10 January 2022 Sec. Educational Psychology Volume 12 – 2021

Access link here

Teens, Drugs, & Vegas: Toxicological surveillance of illicit prescription and illegal drug abuse in adolescents (12–17 years) using post-mortem data in Clark County, Nevada from 2005 to 2015. Anthea B. Mahesan Et Al.  Presented at the International Association of Forensic Sciences Conference, 2017, Toronto, Canada August/24/2017.

Access link here



Behavioral Addiction

Addiction is both physical and mental.  Behavioral addiction is very common from anything to gaming to gambling to pornography to sex.  The mindset of resetting the mind and overcoming addictions due to behavior is a long task that sometimes involves a variety of coping methods.  Whether substance or action, certain behaviors can be broken over time if the person is willing to acknowledge the issue.  Meditation and hypnosis as well as support groups can all play big roles in helping others overcome addiction.  The key is reshaping old behaviors and habits into better productive and healthy ones.  Moderation is key

Behavioral addictions can range from gambling to gaming to multiple things that dominate a person’s habits. Please also review AIHCP’s Substance Abuse Counseling Program


Please also review AIHCP’s Substance Abuse Counseling Certification and see if it matches your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification.

Please also review the video below on Substance Abuse and behavioral addiction

Addiction and Personality Distortion

Addiction has a negative affect on personality and relationships.  It distorts oneself and leads to a variety personal relationship issues.  Individuals who become addicted become more self centered and place all others underneath their need. It can drive them to steal, cheat, and abandon others.  This distortion also leads to irresponsible behaviors that usually may not be part of the person’s regular self.  In turn, this will break down others around the person.  It will break friendships and families.

Addiction has numerous negative effects on one’s personality and relationships

The urge is seen as the reward or feeling of the drug.  The addiction to that “reward” or feeling becomes so strong and interlocked with functioning that individuals put it above everything else.  This corrupts one’s normal personality and puts values and morals secondhand to fulfilling the urge.

It is important for families to still be able to be empathetic to another’s addiction without becoming overwhelmed and used and manipulated by the addicted person.  Tough love is sometimes the only cure and allowing someone to hit rock bottom sometimes is the only way to wake the person up.  When the person realizes the distortion of his or her personality then they may finally see the need to impose change into life.  Substance Abuse Counseling is the first step to finding control.

The article, “The Relationship Between Addiction and Personality” by Timmen Cermak takes a closer look at addiction and how it distorts personality and relationships.   He first discusses the negative aspects of addicted personality and then looks at how these negatives affect families and friends.  He also identifies ways families and friends can help their addicted loved one while also protecting themselves.   He overall states that personalities are overtaken by addiction by the need to protect the habit.  He points out that,

“Once addiction occurs and the brain’s reward circuitry is hijacked by alcohol and/or other drugs, many people’s personalities are seriously altered. Common changes include increased self-centeredness, irresponsibility, and a tendency to blame external factors for one’s failures and suffering. While these traits often exist prior to becoming addicted, as they do to some degree in all of us, they become greatly exaggerated during addiction. The cause of this exaggeration lies in how addictive substances change the brain. When people’s motivation to drink or use drugs becomes too high a priority in their reward center, traits stereotypically seen in addiction develop to deny and protect the alcohol and/or drug use.”

“The Relationship Between Addiction and Personality”. Timmen Cermak. February 13th, 2023. Psychology Today.

To review the entire article, please click here



Addiction and personality are often intertwined, as evidenced by research suggesting that certain personalities may be more susceptible to addictive behaviors. It has been suggested that individuals with a higher level of impulsivity or low sensitivity to reward are more likely to become addicted due to their tendency towards risk-taking and difficulty in understanding the implications of their decisions.  The degree to which addiction is present is likely dependent upon the constellation of these traits and how they interact with the environment.

The ability of addiction to alter personality is due to the neuroadaptation of the reward system it induces in the central nervous system. Through this adaptation, addiction modifies a person’s sense of self-control and impairs their executive functioning, particularly when it comes to decision making and impulse control.  Specifically, it is thought to predispose individuals to engage in a range of maladaptive behaviours and cognitive processes, leading to the emergence of traits such as impulsivity and compulsivity, which ultimately affect an individual’s overall personality.

Obviously, the desire to meet the demands of addiction lead to a variety of impulses that create an aura of self centeredness and irresponsibility.  The need to meet the urge overcomes all other needs, putting job, family and friends last.  The urge can also cause destructive behavior, pushing individuals to dangerous solutions and illegal endeavors to meet the urge of the addiction.

Families dealing with an addict are often confronted with a particular set of social and psychological challenges, as addiction can have a variety of deleterious effects on both the individual and the family unit. The multifaceted nature of addiction is further complicated by its intersection with numerous systemic inequalities, such as income disparity, access to health care, and exposure to trauma. Families must undertake the difficult process of navigating these obstacles in order to provide appropriate support for their addicted loved one.  The behavioral, social and psychological impacts of addiction can present difficulties for those family members, who are oftentimes left feeling helpless and without recourse. This may lead to feelings of guilt, shame and even blame among family members in some cases.

Families can lose hope, empathy and even completely walk away from an addicted person.  Sometimes, it takes this type of tough love to convince someone to change.  Through Substance Abuse Counseling and other therapy, one can find control of one’s life.  Addiction can be defeated but it takes choice.  When someone no longer likes what one sees in a mirror and the individuals hurt, then one can begin the long process of fixing the problem.


Addicted individuals need to seek help. Certified Substance Abuse Practitioners can guide one away from addiction


In conclusion, addiction can have a profound effect on a person’s personality. It can lead to changes in behavior, emotions, and thoughts that would otherwise not occur. It is important for those struggling with addiction to seek help from a qualified mental health professional who can provide treatment tailored to the individual’s needs. Additionally, it is also important for family members and friends of an addict to reach out and offer support during their recovery journey.

Professionals can help.  Individuals looking to help others can become certified in substance abuse counseling.  Please review AIHCP’s Substance Abuse Practitioner Program and see if it matches your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification.

Additional Resources

“What Are the Traits of an Addictive Personality?”. Marissa Crane. January 11th, 2023.  American Addiction Centers.  Access here

“6 WAYS ADDICTION CHANGES YOUR PERSONALITY”. Burning Tree Ranch: Authentic Long Term Treatment.  Access here

“Addiction and the Brain”. Psychology Today Staff.  Psychology Today.  Access here

“What is an addictive personality?”. Zawn Villines. February 13th, 2022. MedicalNewsToday.  Access here

Negative Effects of Alcohol Video

While drinking is seen as social and acceptable in society, it can also be equally as destructive to one’s life as any drug if not properly controlled.  Many individuals face physical addiction, while others are socially tied to it at any event.  Others function but consistently drink to function.  This leads to a myriad of negative effects on life.  Physical and social negatives can all emerge from excessive and unsafe drinking.   The long term damage to the body, one’s family  and professional life and potential jail time due to drunk driving can ruin lives.  It is important hence to have a clear understanding of the negative effects of alcohol that the television ads do not always show.  Substance Abuse Counselors can also help individuals see the destructive power of alcohol on lives.

There are numerous negative effects of excessive drinking. Please also review AIHCP’s Substance Abuse Practitioner Program


Please also review AIHCP’s Substance Abuse Practitioner Program and see if it matches your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Substance Abuse.

Please review the video below to learn more about the negative effects of alcohol on life.