A new collaboration will provide increased resources, publications, events, and training opportunities for professional counselors, therapists, and advocates who care for individuals struggling with the co-occurrence of addiction and mental health disorders. The two organizations are Hazelden and NAADAC. Hazelden is a national non-profit organization that focuses on addiction prevention, treatment, and recovery for both addicts and their family members. NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals (formerly the National Association for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors) is a nationwide membership organization for addiction-focused health care professionals.
Addiction is very often accompanied by one or several additional mental health struggles. In many cases, depression, social isolation, PTSD or anxiety led the person to self-medicate through substances in the first place. In other cases, substance abuse can trigger depressive feelings and can drive away friends and family, making the emotional and psychological toll of the addiction that much worse. Often, the relationship between mental health and substance abuse is reciprocal and simultaneous. In fact, the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration estimates that half of the Americans struggling with mental illness lean on drugs or alcohol to deal with their problems.
Effective addiction therapy or addiction counseling goes well beyond treating the physical addiction and behavioral compulsion alone. The more that therapists, counselors, and social workers understand about the co-occurrence of addiction with depression, PTSD, anxiety, and other issues, the better treatment all clients will receive. Together, NAADAC and Hazelden plan to increase professional awareness of co-occurrence issues in a number of ways. They will provide training opportunities in the form of workshops, events, and web conferences, starting with this month’s launch of the Lifelong Training Program, Integrating Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders: An Introduction to What Every Addiction Counselor Needs to Know. They will also increase access to print publications and web resources surrounding therapy and counseling for substance abuse, especially with co-occurring disorders.
© Copyright 2010 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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