All posts tagged drug addiction Central Baltimore

The Five Traits of a Strong Addiction Counselor

Addiction counselors have a demanding career that has no “regular hours” or “typical days”. 

In fact, being an addiction counselor requires certain professional skills and personality traits like few other jobs. It’s a difficult career choice but also an immensely rewarding one. 

If you are looking for an addiction counselor or are considering it as a career, here are several important traits that every counselor should have:

  1. Good listener: The art of any conversation begins with listening. Addiction counselors must have this trait as they will be meeting with patients all day. They have to not only hear what their patients are saying, but they also have to listen to them. Their listening builds rapport and trust. It also helps to build a relationship with the patient.   
  2. Empathy: Addiction counselors need to understand and share the feeling of another. They should be kind and have a desire to help their patients. They should not be harshly judgmental. Empathetic counselors will make deep connections with their patients who will, in turn, open up about their addictions and struggles. Many addiction counselors can empathize because they have been through it themselves. They may even be in recovery, too!
  3. High ethical standards: Successful addiction counselors hold themselves to a high code of ethics and standards. They have professional licenses and certifications and belong to organizations that assist with continuing education. *** Some counselors are also addicted but are in recovery and not using drugs or alcohol.  They “practice what they preach”. 
  4. Flexibility: Addiction counselors must have been able to bounce back after an adverse situation. They have to readjust to changes and keep going in the face of adversity. It’s essential everything is not under their control. Patients will relapse and have many struggles. Not being emotionally tied to every client is crucial. This trait is developed over time as the counselor learns to empower each client to rise above addiction.
  5. Cultural sensitivity: Addiction counselors must take time to understand the cultural backgrounds of their clients. They should have well-developed cultural competencies in order to interact with patients of different ethnicities and backgrounds. 

As you can see, this is not a “9-to-5 job”. It is a position requiring more than forty hours a week and competency in a number of areas. But, most importantly, it requires an individual who listens and has empathy for people struggling with drug or alcohol addiction. 

Concerted Care has a staff of trained, licensed, and experienced drug addiction, counselors. If you or someone you know needs substance abuse treatment, consult one of our experienced counselors. The Concerted Care Group of Central Baltimore, MD, and Brooklyn, MD, has a compassionate behavioral health team that includes therapists, a psychiatric nurse practitioner, psychiatric and medical providers a nurse practitioner, and a psychiatrist. Services include individual, group, and family therapy for adults and adolescents. Group therapy and psychiatric services are available for adults.

Contact us at (833) CCG-LIVE to make an appointment.

*** Go to The National Association for Addiction Professionals website for a list of licenses and certifications for drug addiction counselors.

Ten Great Drug Rehab Gifts for the Holidays

Christmas and New Year’s will be difficult this year as the pandemic restrictions will

keep many of us at home, away from loved ones and friends. Office parties, family get-

together, and dinners are now limited to Zoom. ***

 

It can be challenging and depressing. However, a gift in the mail from friends,

colleagues, and family will cheer anyone up. It’s almost as good as being there.

If you have a loved one who is recovering from drug addiction, there are a number of

appropriate, compassionate, and inexpensive gifts you can give them this holiday:

 

  1. A journal: Journaling is a recommended way for people in recovery to be mindful

and to process their feelings during this time. They can also reflect later on their

feelings and struggles. Additionally, it also gives them a first-hand perspective on

how far they have come. It can be raw, honest, and encouraging. A journal is one

of the most practical, and appreciated, gifts you can give.

  1. Photo album: Most albums are kept in smartphones or computer memories.

However, this gift, a hard copy photo album can have several uses. Addiction

can cause family rifts. A photo album filled with photos of family and friends

reminds them of their journey and of those people who support them. You should

leave a few pages blank so they can fill it with meaningful photos.

  1. Fitness Center Membership: Individuals in recovery need physical activity. A

fitness center membership can do wonders for their mind and body. It gets their

mind off of their situation and helps them sleep better, too. They may also meet

people who can encourage them along their journey. (Of course, fitness center

participation varies due to COVID restrictions.)

  1. Personalized jewelry: One constant reminder of their recovery achievements

could be a personalized ring, necklace, or bracelet. It could be embossed with

the first day of sobriety and have their initials on it. (Amazon carries a large

number of jewelry items that celebrate serenity and sobriety.)

  1. Your time: Your time is priceless. So, spending it with someone in recovery is as

special and compassionate as it gets. Take time out from your busy holiday and

schedule coffee, a walk, a movie, or a Zoom call with them. Don’t rush it or look

at your watch. Just sit with them and listen, laugh, cry, and enjoy their company.

You will never regret it and it will bring happiness to their holiday.

 

Holiday arrangements can be complicated by COVID restrictions, but they aren’t

impossible. Make it memorable by giving a special gift to a loved one in recovery.

 

If you or someone you know needs substance abuse treatment, consult one of our

experienced counselors. The Concerted Care Group of Central Baltimore, MD, and

Brooklyn, MD, has a compassionate behavioral health team that includes therapists, a

Psychiatric nurse practitioner, psychiatric and medical providers a nurse practitioner,

and a psychiatrist. Services include individual, group, and family therapy for adults and

adolescents. Group therapy and psychiatric services are available for adults.

 

Contact us at (833) CCG-LIVE to make an appointment.

 

For more on how Zoom is being utilized for the holiday, go to this New York Post link.

 

What is Behavioral Therapy?

Treatments for people addicted to drugs vary in scope and focus. 

One type of treatment that has several types of therapies is known as “Behavioral Therapy”***. Addicts need incentives to reduce and end their dependence on the drug(s). Behavioral therapies accomplish this on several levels: 

  1. It helps the addict develop life skills that help them handle stressors that once caused them to resort to the addiction. 
  2. Cravings are blunted by redirecting environmental cues that make them desire the drug. 
  3. Drug abstinence is incentivized through newly learned behaviors.  

Behavioral therapy intimately involves the patient in changing their behavior and moving forward, addiction-free and permanently changed. There are several types of behavioral therapy that are used for addicts and, specifically, opioid users:

  1. Contingency Management (CM) is a popular behavioral therapy. It reinforces positive behaviors. Abstinence is the focus. This is used in methadone programs and has been shown to promote abstinence and increase treatment retention. 
  2. Voucher-Based Reinforcement (VBR) is for opioid abusers, mainly heroin, and cocaine users. The patient gets a “voucher” when their urine is tested and it’s drug-free. That voucher can then be used to purchase food, tickets, or other valuable items the patient can use. The vouchers start at a low value and increase in value as the patient successfully passes each urine test. If the patient has a positive urine test, the voucher values are reversed. Vouchers are an effective method of incentivizing opioid and cocaine users to stay clean. 
  3. Prize Incentives (PI) is similar to the vouchers but actually uses cash prizes as an incentive to stay abstinent. During a three-month period, the patient participates in breath tests or urine tests. If they are clean, their name is entered into a bowl for prizes worth $1-$100. Additionally, the patient may also get extra draws for attending counseling sessions or accomplishing goal-related activities.  (This method has been criticized for promoting gambling though studies have shown that it does the opposite.) 
  4. 12-Step Facilitation Therapy: Once again, abstinence is focused on utilizing 12-step self-help groups. From the patient’s daily or weekly attendance, they agree that their addiction is overwhelming and that they have absolutely no control over it. They cannot overcome their craving and dependence on it by themselves. So, they must surrender to a “Higher Power”. The patient then seeks the fellowship of other recovering addicts. The patient’s commitment to regular attendance and participation in the meetings has been shown to keep them abstinent and sustain recovery. 
  5. Family Behavior Therapy (FBT): Bringing a spouse, parent or significant other into the treatment has been shown also to be quite effective in leading the patient into positive behavior reinforcement. Opioid abuse is addressed along with other issues such as depression, unemployment, and abuse. Family Behavioral Therapy combines behavioral contracting with contingency management. The patient and family members apply the strategies and skills to improve their home life. Patients use new behaviors to stop opioid abuse. CMS (Contingency Management System) is used as an incentive when the behaviors are demonstrated. At the session, behavioral goals are reviewed. Rewards are given as goals are met. Patients can choose interventions from a menu. 

This is not a complete list of behavioral therapies. There are other therapies that we will focus on in a future blog. If you or a family member have an opioid addiction, please contact a drug treatment center immediately. 

Concerted Care Group of Central Baltimore, MD, and Brooklyn, MD, has a compassionate Behavioral Health team which includes therapists, a psychiatric nurse practitioner, a nurse practitioner, and a psychiatrist. Services include individual and family therapy for adults and adolescents. Group therapy and psychiatric services are available for adults.

Contact us at (833) CCG-LIVE to make an appointment. 

***Click here for more information on behavioral therapy.