Addictions have been wrongly stigmatized for a long time. Unfortunately, many people suffering from addition are judged and treated unfairly by society every day. However, those who work in social and community services can aid in empowering clients to face their addictions and get the help they need.
There are many misconceptions about addiction illness. Some people believe it’s a choice, that it’s not an illness at all, or that it’s a hopeless case. But community services workers (CSWs) know that this is simply not true, and that reversing the shame surrounding addiction is actually the first step to improving an addict’s life.
If you’re looking for a rewarding career where you can help people regain control of their lives, a community and social services role may be your career calling. Read on to discover three things you should know about addiction and the recovery process.
Grads With a Community Services Worker Diploma Know Addiction Is a Disease
As a student training to become a community services worker, you may know that the Canadian Medical Association Journal classifies addiction as a disease. This is because addiction and substance abuse change the brain’s functioning. For example, every person’s body releases pleasure hormones when their basic needs such as thirst and hunger are met. When addictive substances are consumed, they cause the body to release this same pleasure hormone. Over time, addicts cannot feel normal without the drug and may also lose interest in meeting their other basic needs, as they become dependent on drugs for that same feel-good hormone.
Students in Community Services Worker Training Need to Know About Co-Occurring Diseases
The 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that 40.7 per cent of the US population who had a substance abuse problem also had another mental health condition as well. In addition, the study also found that people who have a mental illness are twice as likely to abuse illegal drugs compared those who do not have a mental illness. These staggering numbers clearly demonstrate the close relationship between mental health and addiction. This is known as co-occurring diseases.
Once you graduate with your community services worker diploma, you will likely encounter many clients struggling with both addiction and mental health problems during your career. It can be especially hard to assist clients who suffer from co-occurring disorders, because it may be hard to isolate their symptoms. However, as a CSW with knowledge of addictions, you could recommend that your clients look into an integrated treatment plan that works to treat both of their illnesses simultaneously.
Students in Community Services Worker Training Know to Look Out for High-Functioning Addicts
As a CSW you will work closely with families from many different backgrounds as you monitor them for warning signs of abuse, addiction, and other activities that may threaten their safety. As you take on this role, it’s important to remember that the signs of addiction are not always very obvious. Many addicts are high-functioning, meaning that they can have a stable family life, a job, and may even be a respected member of their community. As a result, it can be hard to recognize from the outside that something is wrong.
As a CSW student you will take introductory courses on crisis management and drug addictions. Some warning signs you may learn to look out for are a loss of interest in old hobbies or being unable to cope with life’s challenges without turning to a drink. With high-functioning addicts, often the best way to propose treatment is through non-threatening methods, such as having family members leave treatment brochures around the home.
Are you interested in starting a challenging, but rewarding career by enrolling in community services worker training?
Contact an advisor at the National Academy of Health and Business to get started!