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

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

Substance Abuse and SUD in Women

Substance Abuse is a big issue in the United States.  Substance Use Disorders or SUD prey upon all genders while men are more likely to fall victim, women are equally open to addiction and equally fall at rates  to SUD approximately to men.  Women, however, fall victim to addiction for varying reason and unfortunately treatments are sometimes only tailored to men.  Women also need a special treatment that reviews their gender and gender needs in regards to SUD.

Women face their own unique challenges with Substance Abuse and need treatment based on those unique gender needs


The article, “How substance use disorders affect women differently” by Sarah Handzel looks closer at the needs of women regarding addiction counseling and recovery.  She lists unique social and personal issues that affect women, as well as neurobiological.  One issue in particular is treatment.  Handzel laments the fact that many treatment plans fit one but not all, especially in the case of women.  She states,

“Unfortunately, a one-size-fits-all approach to substance abuse treatment is still relatively common, according to the NIDA research. While women typically have a shorter history of substance use, they are more likely to enter treatment with concurrent behavioral, medical, psychological, and sociocultural issues.”

“How substance use disorders affect women differently”. Sarah Handzel. December 7th, 2022. MDLinx

To read the entire article, please click here


Substance Abuse Disorders can be caused by a multitude of reasons.  Whether it is past trauma, poor coping, or teenage access, substance abuse can affect all genders.  Help is critical for many to find true permanent recovery.  Women in particular need their own special recovery plan that meets their particular needs.

Substance Use Disorder

Substance use disorder is a condition characterized by the frequent and recurrent use of substances in a manner that produces maladaptive impairments in functioning across multiple contexts. It encompasses a wide range of conditions, such as substance intoxication, substance withdrawal, and substance dependence. The etiology of this disorder is multi-factorial, with individual predisposition to misuse being a key contributing factor.  This disorder has been classified into three distinct subtypes: mild, moderate and severe.

Substance abuse is an issue that has long been studied in relation to gender, with the aim of understanding how gender-specific factors may be influencing the prevalence and types of substances abused. It has been suggested that biological and hormonal differences between genders can make certain individuals more susceptible to drug use and addiction. Furthermore, social differences such as family dynamics, economic opportunities, sense of identity, and access to resources have also been found to be influential in the development of substance misuse among different genders.

Substance use disorder (SUD) has been identified as a significant public health concern among women. Research indicates that SUD disproportionately affects female gender populations. The biological and psychosocial factors associated with SUD in women are complex and multifaceted, and have been hypothesized to include genetic predisposition, environmental exposure, and socio-cultural influences. Additionally, the concept of gender-based vulnerability has been proposed to explain the higher prevalence of SUD among women.

Substance abuse amongst women is a complex issue that can be attributed to multiple factors. The underlying causes for substance abuse in women typically involve psychological, physiological and socio-cultural influences. Psychological factors include stress, trauma, family history of substance abuse, depression and anxiety. Physiological factors may include the potential for genetic predisposition or underlying medical conditions that may increase vulnerability to substance use disorders.
The influence of gender-based pressures on women has been linked to an increased incidence of substance abuse. Specifically, existing research suggests that gender inequality creates a heightened societal stressor for female individuals, which in turn may foster the emergence of maladaptive behaviors such as substance use. This is thought to be due to the fact that women are exposed to more environmental obstacles than men, such as unequal access to resources and higher levels of discrimination, resulting in psychological distress and emotional instability.
Treatment for Women with SUD

Substance abuse treatment is a multifaceted, multidisciplinary approach that involves the use of evidence-based therapeutic interventions to reduce or eliminate maladaptive substance-related behaviors. The process typically includes an evaluation of the individual’s psychological, social, and physical well-being; identification of problematic patterns of behavior; implementation of appropriate psychotherapeutic techniques; and monitoring for relapse prevention.

Substance abuse treatment for women is a critical area of focus, given the unique needs and challenges that this particular demographic faces. The gender-specific model of treatment seeks to address the underlying issues such as social norms, expectations, and experiences that contribute to substance use among female populations. It is holistic in nature, encompassing aspects such as psychological evaluation and counseling, medical management, self-care strategies, relapse prevention planning, and family systems therapy.

When treatment is designed more for the male population and not focused to meet these unique needs of women facing addiction, then success becomes limited in helping women find the help they need.


In conclusion, gender is a significant factor when considering substance abuse. Men and women differ in their usage, motivations, and consequences of drug and alcohol use. Men are more likely to engage in risky, hazardous behaviors while women are more likely to suffer from physical and mental health issues due to addiction. It is important to understand the differences between genders when looking into substance abuse treatment and prevention methods. All genders should be provided with information and support they need to make healthy decisions related to drugs or alcohol.

It is important in substance abuse treatment to meet the social and personal needs women face. Please also review AIHCP’s Certification Program in Substance Abuse Counseling


Substance abuse treatment for women is essential to the health and wellbeing of the individual. Women often feel isolated, ashamed and fearful when it comes to seeking help, but with the right resources and support network in place, substance abuse treatment can be successful. It is important to understand that everyone’s journey is different and everyone needs a different path to recovery. Treatment should be tailored to each individual woman’s needs and that also includes family members as part of the healing process.

Please also review AIHCP’s Substance Abuse Counseling Program and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.  The program is designed to help qualified professionals become better equipped to help others deal with addiction.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals.  Please review AIHCP’s Substance Abuse Counseling Certification and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.


Additional Resources

“How Women Experience Addiction Differently Than Men”. Lipi Roy, MD. Forbes.  Access here

“Women and Addiction: An Update”. Nassima Ait-Daoud, etc. al. 2019 Jul;103(4):699-711.  National Library of Medicine.  Access here

“Women, Do We Need an Intervention?”. Ericka Andersen. April 3rd, 2022. New York Times. Access here

“Women Have Special Needs in Substance Abuse Treatment”. Promises Behavioral Health. May 26th, 2010. Promises Behavioral Health. Access here


Drinking Signs of a Bigger Problem

Drinking problems are common among people.  Many individuals who would not even consider themselves addicts experience problems with drinking.  Utilizing liquor to cope with stress is the first sign, but when drinking starts to affect one’s life with work and school, one may need to reconsider one’s relationship with alcohol.  There are furthermore, many high functioning alcoholics who deal with a problem but find a way to fulfill duties all the while still experiencing a drinking problem that is harming their health.

What are some potential signs that your drinking problem may be bigger than you may think?

It is important then to understand oneself.  It is important to see if a certain habit or substance negatively affects one’s life or if it a source of coping.  These types of signs are signs of a possible issue that one should consider to rectify.  In some cases, a certified Substance Abuse Counselor may be a way to find the help needed to re-direct one’s life.

The article, “‘I’m an Addiction Expert. These Are 3 Signs You Have an Alcohol Problem'” by NUNO ALBUQUERQUE reviews three key things he sees in his clients that possible identify a drinking problem.  He lists the three total signs that drinking may be affecting one’s life negatively.   He states,

“I have very few clients that go into residential treatment straightaway because they feel like they have a problem. Normally there are attempts to control or stop their drinking first.  If you attempt to control your drinking, that implies to me that there is already a problem. When you say to yourself, “Tonight, I’ll only have three drinks,” and that becomes a theme, almost every night, that implies there’s a worry and you see your drinking as something you need to start observing a bit closer.”

“‘I’m an Addiction Expert. These Are 3 Signs You Have an Alcohol Problem'”. Nuno Albuquerque. November 15th, 2022. Newsweek.

To read the entire article, please click here


Albuquerque points out that drinking issues usually are subtly noticed by a person when they start to think about limiting themselves to drinks even before they go out.  These types of limits show that one is having issues controlling oneself.  One must be held accountable.  Other issues he points out is when those targets are especially missed.  If one limits oneself to three drinks and has twelve, then issues are definitely on display.  These dump into other parts of one’s social life in relationships, work and school.

Whether one is “officially” addicted, socially inclined to drink too much, or a “high functioning” alcoholic”, all three face issues with controlling alcohol in their life and how they choose to cope with problems in life.  It is important to control intake and cope in other ways to avoid health issues, social distress and legal trouble.

Signs of Drinking Problems

Signs of drinking problems can be observed in individuals who display excessive alcohol consumption, or an inability to abstain from liquor, thereby compromising their daily functioning. In such cases, an individual may demonstrate a pattern of increased tolerance and withdrawal symptoms which are commonly associated with the development of physical dependency. Additionally, they may engage in impulsive behavior which is potentially deleterious to themselves or others while under the influence.

The deleterious effects of alcohol consumption on interpersonal relationships are undeniable. Regular drinking has been shown to undermine the ability to connect with others and to form strong social bonds. This may be due in part to diminished cognitive functioning, resulting from alcohol-induced neurobiological changes, particularly in the prefrontal cortex, which can lead to impaired judgement and an inability to recognize and respond appropriately to social cues.

Limiting Drinking

Limiting drinking is an effective method of reducing the potential for alcohol-related harm. By moderating one’s intake and forming healthier habits, individuals can reduce their risk of developing a dependency on alcohol or engaging in hazardous activities while under its influence. Furthermore, limiting drinking can help to diminish the incidence of negative physiological and psychological effects associated with excessive alcohol consumption.  When attempts to limit drinking or meet goals fail, it may be time to talk to a Substance Abuse Counselor in how to better avoid drinking itself.

When addicted, individuals need to learn new cognitive therapy skills to find other ways to cope with stress without drinking


The cessation of alcohol consumption can be achieved through a variety of interventions that focus on reducing the individual’s susceptibility to relapse. These include behavioral techniques, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy; pharmacological approaches, including naltrexone and acamprosate; and psychosocial approaches, such as peer support and family therapy.  Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is one such approach, which seeks to modify maladaptive thoughts, feelings, and behaviors related to alcohol use. Additionally, pharmacological interventions can be employed to alleviate cravings by introducing medications such as naltrexone or disulfiram.

Ultimately, individuals need to learn how to cope with stress without drinking.  Coping without drinking can be described as the process of abstaining from alcohol consumption, either in the short-term or long-term, to manage negative emotions and stressors. This behaviour may involve a range of adaptive strategies such as self-reflection, positive self-talk, relaxation techniques and problem-solving exercises. Such strategies are often employed in conjunction with social support networks and/or therapeutic interventions to aid the individual in avoiding relapse into unhealthy drinking habits.


In conclusion, alcohol addiction is a serious issue that affects millions of people around the world. It can have devastating effects on the individual, their family and friends, and society as a whole. If any signs of alcohol addiction are present, it is crucial to seek help from a professional health care provider as soon as possible. With the right treatment, recovery from alcohol addiction is possible and many go on to lead healthy and fulfilling lives. Everyone deserves the opportunity to be free from addiction and live life to its fullest potential.

A certified Substance Abuse Counselor can also help one with addiction.  While not all counselors tied to facilities are licensed counselors, many are still able to aid an individual with addiction.  Others may require one on one therapies with a licensed counselor, or meet in peer support groups.  AIHCP offers a Substance Abuse Counseling Certification for qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Substance Abuse Counseling.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals.  Please review and the program and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.

Additional Resources

“Recognizing an Addiction Problem”. Mara Tyler. January 12th, 2018. Healthline. Access here

“Signs and Symptoms of Addiction”. Psychology Today Staff. Psychology Today.  Access here

“Top 10 Ways to Eliminate Stress Without Alcohol”. Adl Jaffe. April 2nd, 2019. Psychology Today. Access here

“6 Alcohol-Free Ways to Unwind at the End of a Long Day”. Vivian Manning-Schaffel. September 23rd, 2021. EverydayHealth. Access here



Substance Abuse Counseling Certification Blog on Addiction

Substance abuse is not always a choice.  While the initial taste or inhalation or snort or injection of a drug is a bad choice, the addiction is something far more sinister.  Addiction later captures the individual and the choice to escape is no longer present.  Instead the individual faces strong urges that control their mind and body.  Substance Abuse Counseling can help individuals face addiction better as well.

There are many reasons why people might choose to use drugs and become addicted. Some people might use drugs to escape from reality or to cope with difficult life circumstances. Others might use drugs because they’re curious about them or because their friends are using them. Some people might even use drugs for medicinal purposes. Whatever the reason, drug use is a complex issue with many contributing factors.  Ultimately, the drug leads to a state of addiction for millions of Americans.

Poor choices and bad coping can lead to addiction. Please also review AIHCP’s Substance Abuse Counseling Certification


Addiction is a state characterized by compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli, despite adverse consequences. Despite the involvement of a number of psychosocial factors, a biological process – one which is induced by repeated exposure to an addictive stimulus – is the core pathology that drives the development and maintenance of an addiction.  The traditional view of addiction, as a strictly behavioral phenomenon, has been challenged by more recent research which highlights the role of neurochemical changes in the brain in mediating addictive behavior.

The brain and addiction are intimately linked. Addiction hijacks the brain’s natural reward systems, causing powerful cravings and reinforcing the behaviors that lead to addiction. Over time, this can lead to changes in the brain that make it even harder to break free from addiction. But it’s not all doom and gloom – there is hope. With treatment and support, people can recover from addiction and go on to lead healthy, productive lives.

Addiction is a complex disease that affects the brain and body. It is a chronic, relapsing disease characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use despite harmful consequences. Overcoming addiction is a difficult and long process that requires professional help, support from family and friends, and often takes many tries. However, it is possible to overcome addiction with hard work and determination.  There are a few key things to keep in mind when recovering from addiction. First, it is important to understand that addiction is a disease. Just like any other disease, it takes time, effort, and patience to recover. Second, it is important to seek professional help. Substance Abuse Counselors can help you develop a plan for recovery and provide support along the way.

When an individual is struggling with addiction, they are often fighting a battle on multiple fronts. Not only are they dealing with the physical cravings and withdrawal symptoms that come with addiction, but they are also often battling mental health issues, social stigma, and financial instability. Coping with addiction can be incredibly difficult, but there are a few key things that individuals can do to help themselves.   Addiction Counselors can play a large role in recovery.

Addiction counselors are mental health professionals who work with individuals struggling with substance abuse and addiction. They provide support and guidance to help people overcome their challenges and live healthy, drug-free lives. Addiction counselors use a variety of techniques to help their clients, including individual and group counseling, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and 12-step programs.

Addiction Counselors and support groups can help with substance abuse. Please also review AIHCP’s Substance Abuse Counseling Program


Cognitive therapy is a type of psychological therapy that helps people to change the way they think and feel about different situations. It is based on the idea that our thoughts, feelings and behaviors are all interconnected, and that by changing our thoughts, we can change our feelings and behaviors.  Cognitive therapy has been shown to be effective in treating a range of mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, eating disorders and substance abuse.

The 12-step program is a set of guidelines for recovering from addiction, originally developed by Alcoholics Anonymous. The program has since been adapted for use with other types of addiction, such as narcotics, gambling, and food.  The 12 step program is a set of guidelines for recovery from addiction. The program is based on the belief that addiction is a disease that can be treated by following certain steps. The steps involve admitting that you have a problem, admitting that you cannot control your addiction, and making a commitment to change your behavior. Other steps include finding a support group, learning new coping skills, and making amends for past mistakes.

There is a growing body of research that suggests that family involvement can also be helpful for people who are struggling with addiction. This may include providing support and understanding, helping with treatment and recovery, and making changes in the home environment to reduce stressors and triggers. While each situation is unique, involvement from family members can make a significant difference in the outcome of treatment.

An individual who receives help through the process of recovering from a substance must continue after treatment.  It is a life long cross that one must carry.  Relapse is an unfortunate result for many individuals facing addiction.  Relapse is defined as a return to drug use after a period of abstinence, and it can occur even after years of being clean. The risk of relapse is highest in the first few months after quitting, but it can happen at any time.

Many times individuals return to the source of their addiction because they feel alone, rejected, or seek to escape reality.  One must understand that the fight against addiction is a permanent war that will rage the entire person’s life.  This is why during recovery and well beyond it is important that individuals keep good company and avoid occasions that lead to the use of a particular substance or push for its usage.

Addiction is a horrible disease and stigma for many.  If individuals understand the nature of it and see the life that is being destroyed by it then they can better face it and find the help they need. Many understand this but find it difficult.  This is why the first step is so critical and important to be supported and encouraged.  When one starts to realize they have a problem and look to take accountability, then a ray of hope enters into that person’s life

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 in Substance Abuse Counseling Training.

Additional Resources

What Is Addiction? from Healthline

The 12 Steps & 12 Step Programs: Everything You Need to Know” reviewed by Susan Stader

Substance Abuse” by Roxanne Dryden-Edwards, MD

Overcoming Addiction” by Marc Galanter in Psychology Today

Does Adult ADHD Lead to Alcoholism or Drug Use? 

Written by Fay Smith

ADHD is a common diagnosis for kids who struggle in school, but what happens when kids grow up and struggle in their offices, communities, and relationships?

Adults with ADHD have difficult challenges, and many turn to drugs and alcohol to cope.

In this article, we’ll look at how and why that is.

How Adults Cope with ADHD

ADHD presents many challenges for adults, but one of the biggest is regularly lacking dopamine.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is largely responsible for the pleasure that you feel when you accomplish something. A sense of accomplishment boosts you and makes it easier to take on your next tasks. For people with ADHD, this doesn’t happen the same way.

Adults with ADHD have a different reward system than neurotypical adults. A normal work routine, including meetings, might be somewhat boring for an office manager who is neurotypical, but it could send someone with ADHD into a spiral.

Without feeling like they are accomplishing anything important to them, and receiving the dopamine boost that goes along with that, it becomes increasingly hard to concentrate.

Having ADHD and needing to do things you don’t want to do and aren’t interested in can be extremely difficult, and even painful.

It’s a process of trying to force your brain to act in ways it doesn’t want to. The result is usually a drop in neurotransmitters and the onset of depression. Up to 53% of people with ADHD also struggle with depression.

There are legal substances that can provide a lot of help to adults with ADHD. Coffee can help to stimulate the brain to produce more neurotransmitters, and legal CBD can help to relax the nervous system and provide the restful sleep that adults with ADHD need to maintain good brain health. Know more about it here.

However, there are many adults with ADHD who turn to alcohol and drugs – not just to cope with the pain of having ADHD as an adult in a world designed for neurotypical people, but to help manage an unruly brain that won’t seem to follow directions.

Why do ADHD Adults Turn to Drugs and Alcohol?

It’s important to note that every adult with ADHD was once a child with ADHD, and it is typically in pre-adolescence or adolescence when substance abuse problems or tendencies first arise.

An 8-year longitudinal study found that at the age of 14.9, 40% of ADHD subjects and only 22% of control subjects had used alcohol (Barkley et al. 1990). This suggests that alcohol and other drugs are more appealing to people with ADHD in early adolescence.

A different study found that at age 25, alcohol use was roughly equal between ADHD adults and control groups, but we know that early and intense alcohol use is a risk factor for later alcohol and drug problems.

Growing up is when most people start to face increasing demands on their time and attention, which is also when young adults with ADHD begin to face significant struggles and shoulder the shame that comes from not being able to act or be like everyone else.

ADHD adults use drugs to cope, practically and emotionally.

In a practical sense, drugs and alcohol change the brain and produce the mental states that people with ADHD are looking for. When you are unable to feel happy or concentrate, a cup of coffee can help. So can other drugs. When you can’t seem to calm down or regulate your energy or emotions, alcohol can help. So can other drugs.

Neurotypical adults might be able to take a deep breath and restore calm and focus, but this just doesn’t happen for ADHD adults, who struggle to regulate themselves.

On an emotional level, it is easy to blame yourself for your problems as someone with ADHD. An inability to focus can be mistaken as a lack of interest or care. Disinterest in boring and unrewarding tasks can come across as laziness.

Adults with ADHD have to deal with a disabling inability to focus, as well as being blamed personally for that inability to focus.

In a culture that values constant productivity and readiness, adults with ADHD often struggle to regulate their attention and emotions and use drugs or alcohol as tools to cope.

Recovery for Adults with ADHD and Drug Problems

Although alcohol and other drugs might relieve temporary symptoms of ADHD, they invariably make life worse.

This is not just for all of the reasons that you’re familiar with – the cost, the health impacts, the social impacts, etc – but also because alcohol and most other drugs are harmful to the brain and end up making symptoms worse in the long run.

A healthy brain releases more neurotransmitters that help focus and attention. An unhealthy brain doesn’t regulate itself well. When you start messing with your brain’s reward system, it makes it even harder to set things right.

If you or someone you know is an adult with ADHD and a drug or alcohol problem, find a treatment solution that also addresses the impacts of ADHD. True recovery requires solutions to multiple problems.



Author Bio: Fay Smith

Fay Smith worked in communications for five years before settling down with her husband. She’s now a mother of two young children and takes care of three lovable Pomeranians. Fay Smith is a regular contributor on various health and wellness sites. She also works as a freelance writer and researcher on wellness topics, such as alternative treatments and CBD.




Please also review AIHCP’s Attention Deficit Consulting certificate program and see if it matches your academic and professional goals.  The program in online and independent study and open to qualified professionals.

Addictions Signs of Substance Abuse

Many family members do not notice the signs of addiction.  It is important to identify these signs so that one can properly help before it becomes too late.  Addiction is a disease but it is something that can be controlled through proper intervention and coping methods.  Substance Abuse Counselors can help others through the issues of addiction and help them find ways to better cope through the difficulties addiction can produce.

Knowing the signs in one’s children or in friends and family can be key in stopping addiction from becoming far worst.  It can help lead one to the help one needs.  Being diligent and alert in what friends and family are doing and noticing changes in life style can be the key in saving a friend or family member, or even own child.

There are numerous behavioral signs of addiction. Please also review AIHCP’s Substance Abuse Counseling Certification


The article, “The Warning Signs of Addiction and How To Help” from Avera’s Behavioral Health Team takes a closer look at signs of addiction.  The article emphasizes the critical importance of noticing addiction signs and what to particularly look out for.  Possible signs of hiding substances, irritability, or behavioral changes are all listed.  Ultimately, helping the person find help is the key. The article states,

“Addiction is among the most difficult diseases to treat. Part of the reason for this is because in 60 to 80% of cases, mental health conditions are intertwined with the abuse of alcohol or drugs “When a loved one is struggling with addiction, it’s likely they’re also facing a mental health condition,” said Malia Holbeck, LCSW-PIP, outpatient manager with Avera’s Addiction Recovery Program. Holbeck said that’s why professional support is recommended to treat the person. Going it alone – without a pro backing your efforts – can lead to failure.”

“The Warning Signs of Addiction and How To Help”. Behavioral Health Team. July 26th, 2022. Avera

To read the entire article, please click here


Substance abuse is a major problem in our society. It leads to crime, violence, and other problems. Substance abuse is also a major health problem. It can lead to addiction, disease, and death. We need to do something about this problem.

Signs of Addiction

The signs of addiction can be divided into three categories: physical, psychological, and behavioral. Physical signs include tolerance (needing more of the substance to get the same effect), withdrawal (experiencing negative symptoms when not using the substance), and cravings (intense desires to use the substance). Psychological signs include preoccupation with using the substance, loss of control over one’s use of the substance, and continued use despite negative consequences.

The signs of addiction for family and friends may include changes in behavior, mood, and physical appearance. Family and friends may also notice a change in the person’s social life, work life, and hobbies. The person may become more isolated and withdrawn, and their relationships may suffer. They may also begin to neglect their personal hygiene and appearance.  There may also be financial problems and difficulty keeping up with work or school.   Also, if a friend or family member has experienced a loss or experienced a tragedy, if over time, they do not seem to resume normal activities, one may need to check on their progress and check and see if they are using drugs or other substances. If you are concerned about someone you love, it is important to talk to them about your concerns and get help from a professional if needed.  If you notice any of these changes in a loved one, it may be time to seek help.

There are many signs that a teen may be addicted to drugs or alcohol. These include changes in mood or behavior, withdrawal from friends and activities, secrecy, lying, and financial problems. Teens may also have difficulty concentrating, sleeping, or eating. They may also become more withdrawn, irritable, or aggressive. If you suspect your teen may be addicted to drugs or alcohol, it is important to get help right away.

Preventing Substance Abuse in Teens and Family

The best way to prevent substance abuse in teens is through a family-based approach. This means that parents need to be involved in their child’s life and be aware of what they are doing. They also need to provide support and guidance to their child so that they can make good decisions. Additionally, families need to be able to communicate openly about difficult topics like substance abuse.

Parents who take the time to care will find any negative signs.  It is when parents do not look for the signs because they become to busy in their own life that bad things such as substance abuse and addiction occur.  By caring, many bad things can be prevented.


By taking time to care for friends, teens and family, individuals can easily spot the signs of addiction.  It is when individuals become to enveloped in their lives that simple signs are missed.  It is important to be aware and see the glaring physical, behavioral, or events that occur in another in order to process a bad change taking place.  It is not a difficult thing but only a thing that requires attentiveness and priorities for the overall health of others.

If the signs listed above manifest, talk to the individual and if necessary, guide them to substance abuse counselors or appropriate healthcare and mental healthcare professionals.

Please also review AIHCP’s Substance Abuse Counseling 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 Counseling Certification.  After completion of the required courses in substance abuse, professionals can then earn the four year certification.

Additional Resources

“Recognizing Signs of Prescription Drug Abuse and Addiction, Part I”. Felicilda-Reynaldo, Rhea Faye D.  Medsurg Nursing; Pitman Vol. 23, Iss. 6,  (Nov/Dec 2014): 391-396. Access here

“Symptoms of Addiction”. Elizabeth Hartney, BSc, MSc, MA, PhD. April 30th, 2022. Verywellmind. Access here

“Signs of Drug Addiction”. Paula Spencer Scott. January 27th, 2021. WebMD. Access here

“Signs of Addiction”. FHE Health. Access here

The Nature of Addiction and Substance Abuse

Addiction can be social but in most cases it is genetic.  Addition in the brain compels an individual to become physically dependent upon the substance.  This is by far a stronger addiction than social and peer influences.  The individual actually becomes addicted in the brain to the new substance.  It is hard to say who or who will not become addicted to a particular drug, based on the chemical makeup of the drug itself and also the genetic makeup of the individual.  This is why it is critical to avoid addicting substances.  Please also review AIHCP’s Substance Abuse Practitioner Program if you wish to help others face addiction.

The process of addiction starts in the brain. Please also review AIHCP’s Substance Abuse Practitioner Program and see if it meets your professional goals


The article, “The Science of Drug Use: How Substance Use Can Lead to Addiction” by Simbiat Bakare looks closer at the process of addiction within the brain and its neuro transmitters.  He states,

“Substances like marijuana, heroin, amphetamine, and cocaine tap into the brain system, causing the neurons to release large amounts of natural neurotransmitters which are chemical brain messengers that amplify a user’s craving for hard drugs. With drug users indulging their cravings, the brain adapts to the surge in dopamine and other neurotransmitters by reducing the number of receptors, thus making the user take a higher dosage of drugs to get the desired euphoria.”

“The Science of Drug Use: How Substance Use Can Lead to Addiction”. Simbiat Bakare. June 15th, 2022. NET.

To read the entire article, please click here


Addiction is a state of compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli, despite adverse consequences. It is a brain disorder characterized by compulsive engagement in activities that are intrinsically rewarding (e.g., eating, sex, gambling) and/or by compulsive engagement in activities that are extrinsically rewarding (e.g., working, caring for others). The former group of activities is typically referred to as natural rewards, while the latter group is typically referred to as conditioned rewards.  Addiction is a complex condition that is characterized by compulsive drug-seeking behavior and continued use despite harmful consequences. Addiction is caused by a variety of factors, including genetic predisposition, social environment, and psychological factors.  The initial decision to take drugs is voluntary for most people, but repeated drug use can lead to brain changes that challenge an addicted person’s self-control and interfere with their ability to resist intense urges to take drugs.

Substance Abuse

Substance abuse is a term used to describe the harmful or hazardous use of psychoactive substances, including alcohol and illicit drugs. The term encompasses a range of activities, from binge drinking and occasional drug use to addiction and dependence. Substance abuse is a serious public health problem. It is estimated that one in four adults in the United States has engaged in some form of substance abuse at some point in their lives.

Substance abuse is the overindulgence in or dependence on a psychoactive substance, especially alcohol or drugs. Though often associated with illegal drugs, alcohol and prescription medication can be just as addictive and damaging. Addiction is a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. Drugs change the brain in ways that make quitting hard, even for those who want to.

Addiction and the Brain

The brain’s job is to constantly receive information from the body and decide what to do with it. The brain also has to keep track of what is going on around us in our environment.
Addiction occurs when drugs or alcohol change the way the brain works.  There is a growing body of evidence that suggests that addiction is, at least in part, a brain disease. This is because addiction appears to change the structure and function of the brain, which then leads to changes in behavior. These changes in the brain can be long-lasting and can lead to the harmful behaviors seen in people with addiction.

The behaviors that stem from brain issues due to addiction cause an individual to feel a sense of compulsion or obsession with a particular activity. These behaviors can be harmful to the individual’s health and well-being, but they may continue to engage in them despite the negative consequences. There are many different types of addictive behaviors, but some common ones include substance abuse, gambling, sex, and shopping.


In conclusion, addiction is a serious problem that affects millions of people worldwide. It is a complex disease that changes the brain in ways that make it difficult for people to control their impulses and make healthy choices. While there is no easy solution, treatment can help people recover from addiction and lead fulfilling lives.

Addiction and recovery are difficult topics to discuss. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to addiction, and recovery is a lifelong process. However, there is hope for those struggling with addiction, and many resources available to help them on their journey to recovery. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please reach out for help.

Please also review AIHCP’s Substance Abuse Practitioner 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 in Substance Abuse Counseling.   Those who become certified can offer aid to those affected by addiction.  Many certified members work in lower tier positions under the guidance of a licensed professional at addiction clinics or addiction services.  Licensed social workers and licensed counselors benefit from earning a certification to enhance their resume and practice in helping others deal with the dangers of addiction.


Additional Resources

“Neurocircuitry of Addiction”.George F Koob & Nora D Volkow. Neuropsychopharmacology volume 35pages217–238 (2010).  Access here

“What is addiction?”. Harvard Health Blog.  September 12th, 2021. Harvard Health Publishing. Access here

“What is addiction?”. Alyssa Peckham. June 3rd, 2021. MedicalNewsToday.  Access here

“What Is Addiction?”. Psychology Today Staff. Psychology Today. Access here

“What causes addiction?”. Adam Felman.  November 2nd, 2018. MedicalNewsToday. Access here

“Biology of Addiction”. October 2015. News In Health.  Access here

Substance Abuse Counseling Blog on the Nature of Addiction

The science of addiction looks at how one goes from non use to habit to addiction.   Addiction can be in many forms to multiple things from drugs and substances to even actions and various activities.   It is important to never let one thing dominate one’s life and to always remain balanced and moderate in all actions.

The nature of addiction has multiple causes for different people. Please also review AIHCP’s Substance Abuse Counseling Certification


The article, “Why do we become addicted to things? Recognizing the top 10 most common addictions” by Dawn Jorgenson looks at the tops types of addiction and the addiction process.  She states,

“As many people can probably guess, most of us aren’t born with an addiction, so how do people become addicted to something, anyway?  The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration says it happens gradually, but it always begins with experimentation. Experts say that when broken down, addiction is a mental disorder — a compulsive engagement with something that makes a person feel rewarded or happy, despite the fact that the experience can bring unfavorable consequences.”

To read the entire article, please click here

Please also review AIHCP’s Substance Abuse Counseling 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 in Substance Abuse Counseling.