Drug Counseling Video #8 the drug counseling field.

Drug Counseling #8 An overview of the drug counseling field.

Drug counseling involves a lot more than just talking to clients or giving advice. This video explores some of the skills and knowledge a drug counselor needs to develop to be successful on the job. Topics include: what makes drug counseling effective, working with mandated clients, the differences between drug counseling and mental health counseling, modalities, ASAM patient placement criteria, what happens after treatment, and collateral services.

Drug Counseling Video #6 counseling sessions.

Drug Counseling Video #6. Individual and group counseling sessions.

Drug and alcohol counselors need to become skilled in both individual counseling and group counseling. They should be familiar with best practices, multicultural counseling, counseling theories, counseling techniques, and feelings work.

Drug Counseling Video #5. Case Management, Crisis Intervention, and Education.

Drug Counseling Video #5. Case Management, Crisis Intervention, and Education.

Drug counselors need to understand the tasks involved in case management, crisis intervention, and education. This video discusses how to determine the dangers in the situation evaluate client’s resiliency and the process of placing clients on a legal hold or involuntary commitment. Drug and alcohol counselors often need to provide education to the client, their family, and the community.

Drug Counseling Video #4 Treatment Planning.

Drug Counseling Video #4 Treatment Planning.

Treatment planning for drug and alcohol counseling. Planning for treatment of all the parts of the client’s life that have been affected by a drug and alcohol use disorder. Services the drug program will provide, and services to which the client will be referred. The difference between referrals and linkages. Consent to release confidential information. Referrals and consultation.

Drug Counseling Video #3 Clinical Evaluation.

Drug Counseling Video #3 Clinical Evaluation.

Drug Counseling, Clinical Evaluation, Screening, Assessment, and Crisis Intervention. In drug counseling when is assessment done? Types of assessment, how to assess. The two types of collateral and why it may be important. Diagnosis of drug use disorders. Recognizing behavioral addictions.

What is an Alcohol Use Disorder?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.


Alcoholic beverages.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

How is Alcohol Use Disorder different from Alcoholism?

Used to be a time when doctors treated medical issues, Therapists treated mental illness, Social services treated poverty-related issues and – well – no one exactly wanted to do anything with drug addicts and alcoholics. Times are changing.

Turns out that no matter where you are and who you work with there is a good chance that people around you are being affected by chemicals, alcohol in particular, long before they reach the “alcoholic” or “Chemically Dependent” stage.

In Drug and Alcohol counseling we used to spend a lot of time debating what made you an alcoholic or addict. Turns out the lines are fuzzy. One estimate is that 90% of alcoholics have full-time jobs. Some people do not drink that often. Half the adult U. S. population did not drink in the last thirty days.

Even if you only drink once a year, say for New Years, if you have gotten into fights while drinking, gotten DUI’s several times, then your only drink once a year is not of much import. If when you drink, bad things happen, then you have an Alcohol Use Disorder. The DSM uses the expression “Problematic Pattern of Alcohol Use.”

What we discovered was that it was not so much what you drink or when you drink that matters when it comes to Alcohol Use Disorders, it is what happens when you drink that is significant.

The Symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder.

The new DSM-5 has switched to the use of the term “Alcohol Use Disorder” to indicate someone whose use of alcohol is causing them problems whether they are “Alcoholic” or not and lists 11 criteria for Alcohol Use being a problem. Here is my plain language version of those Criteria.

  1. Once you start drinking you drink more than you planned on and/ or keep drinking longer than planned.
  2. You keep trying to cut down on your drinking. In other Alcoholism texts, this is also described as efforts to control your drinking or to quit drinking. See, people do not try to cut down, control or quit drinking unless it is a problem.
  3. Drinking eats up a lot of your time.
  4. You have cravings for alcohol when you are not drinking.
  5. Drinking gets in the way of work, school, home life or recreation. A real Alcoholic cuts out this other stuff so they can concentrate on their drinking.
  6. You know that when you drink bad stuff happens but you keep drinking anyway.
  7. You start cutting out other parts of your life to spend more time drinking.
  8. You try to get away with drinking even when you know it makes the situation dangerous.
  9. You keep drinking even though you now realize it is causing you problems.
  10. Your body starts building up tolerance. (See post “What is Tolerance” in the “What is” section.)
  11. You experience “withdrawal” when you stop drinking and the blood alcohol level starts dropping. (See post “What is Withdrawal” in the “What is” section.)

These problems with Alcohol can come in mild, moderate or severe. Mild Alcohol Use Disorder would have 2-3 of these symptoms, Moderate has 4-5 symptoms and severe has 6 or more.

If you or someone you know is exhibiting these symptoms think about treatment and or self-help groups. The sooner Alcohol Use Disorder gets treated the better the life prognosis. While sooner is better it is never too late to get treatment for an alcohol use disorder as long as you are alive.

Terms and their meaning can differ with the profession using them. The literature from the Rehab or AOD (Alcohol and Other Drug) field may be very different from that in the mental health field. There is still a large gap between recovery programs, AOD professionals and the terms and descriptions used in the DSM.

FYI These “What is” sometimes “What are” posts are my efforts to explain terms commonly used in Mental Health, Clinical Counseling, Substance Use Disorder Counseling, Psychology, Life Coaching and related disciplines in a plain language way. Many are based on the new DSM-5; some of the older posts were based on the DSM-IV-TR, both published by the APA. For the more technical versions please consult the DSM or other appropriate references.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.