Addiction and Substance Abuse in Professional Psychology

Most addiction-focused professions aim at understanding drug addition, treatment plans and their respecticve application in professional practices. Experts in the field of addiction deal with a wide range of disciplines, but they all have a common knowledge of the addictive phenomenon. Each treatment practitioner must have a fundamental grasp of addiction, which includes knowing the theories, being aware of psychoactive drug impacts, and appreciating the context of substance use. All treatment providers should understand the therapy and recovery processes. Addiction experts must recognize the kind of assistance that will best suit every client’s needs. Attitudes and a reflective openness to other ways all play a role in progressing a successful practice. Knowledge and attitudes contribute to the development of discipline-specific proficiencies.

Proper understanding of addiction is the second most difficult of the four main foundations. Addiction refers to chronic condition that is characterized by continuous drug-seeking despite their related advance effect. The result will be determined by ones attitude and understanding of the client’s predicament (Singh et al., 2020). To comprehend addiction, one must change his/her mindset and be receptive to knowledge that may differ from personal beliefs. There is also need to construct thoughts via critical thinking. It is also important to respect cultural differences and give credit where credit is due.

Moreover, to enhance understanding of addition, experts must also be familiar with the common vocabularies, the background of legally and illegally drug use, and the techniques used to evaluate theories. For most of the 20th century, there was a divide between two addictive motivation and behaviour models. The first model saw addictive behaviour as a moral failing for which addicts should be held accountable and condemned. The second model gained scientific dogma as our ability to see neurobiological processes increased, gradually ruling addiction research and shaping popular understandings of addiction (West et al. 2018). One must also understand the addiction’s cultural, social, economic, and political background. Include any risk variables that identify people and their surroundings.

Treatment knowledge is gained via experience and a thorough understanding of the condition that has to be addressed. The result will be determined by your attitude and ability of the client’s predicament. Individual attitude toward embracing new evidence-based treatment options must be receptive and open. In an advanced therapy and rehabilitation context, appreciation for the importance of several systems is required. The professional must be familiar with the commonly acknowledged therapy models’ techniques, results, and policies (West et al. 2018). Hypnotherapy, mental health, mutual support and self-help, medication, automated society, and behavioural self-control training are widely acknowledged methods. It is also important to understand the many roles that social connections and families play.

Most of advancements in addiction therapy have focused on the physical dependency and withdrawal that comes with addiction to certain substances of abuse. In contrast, developing drugs that successfully treat drug needs and relapse, which are central aspects of addictive diseases, has proved more challenging (Burrow-Sánchez et al., 2020). Drugs that block a drug from reaching its protein destination that imitate drug effect and partly ease drug need or alter the addiction process are currently being developed. The latter method is the most experimental, but it also has the best chance of turning fundamental addiction understanding into therapeutic improvement.

One of the four commons, application to practice, necessitates the collaboration of the other three. Application to practice means to put it into practice where results will be determined by your attitude and understanding of the client’s predicament (Burrow-Sánchez et al., 2020). While practising, open-minded to varied treatment approaches and services dependent on the client’s requirements. As a professional, there is need to be aware of the many ways that work for various individuals.

Moreover, as a professional applying theory to practice, personal knowledge must be up to date. The diagnostic criteria, including the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) and the International Classification of Diseases, must be established by the expert (West et al., 2018). Professionals who have been trained according to these standards should construct placement criteria and understand the strengths and limits of several diagnostic and placement criteria. Brief and long-term treatments, assessment techniques and tools, coercive and voluntary care models, and inclusion of family and significant others are all examples of helpful tactics.

The changing ethnic makeup and the growing pressure to utilize evidence-based therapies (EBTs) make it difficult for health providers to adjust treatments and interventions to meet the needs of patients. The most typical ways of modifying drug use therapies include a mix of community participation, current research, literature, and expert advice to adjust EBTs (Singh et al., 2020). This creates necessity for more research to establish which particular EBTs justify adaptation. Research will also give a clear guide on the duty of maintaining a balance between faithfulness and transformation, and the problem of intragroup variation. These are all difficulties of confronting the creation of culturally adapted treatments.

The most challenging of the four main foundations are Professional Readiness. Professional readiness is a state of mind as it is a result of completing school and training. Without the right expertise and attitude toward assisting others, it is impossible to show regard a professional. A desire to study and recognize one’s cultural values is required of the professional. One must also be prepared to accept constructive criticism and develop and adapt at a professional pace (West et al., 2018). The professional has to be conscious of their capabilities and limits. In this regard, it is essential to recognize and put aside ethical, gender, and cultural prejudices in a professional context. Additionally, experts should be aware of the link between drug use and other cultures, lifestyles, and values. The key to success is knowledge. Upon learning about all the cultures and needs of individuals, including those with disabilities, one is regarded as prepared.

In the realm of alcohol and drug counselling, TAP 21 serves a vital role. It contains all the material information one needs to be a professional. Reading it once opened my eyes to a lot of stuff I did not know before. It helped in advancing my knowledge and attitudes not just in this field but across the globe. TAP 21 has a straightforward goal to assist people who want to be informed or reminded of their responsibilities in the area. It provides a few reminders on conducting yourself and what you need to know while working with clients. To assess or evaluate a client, you must have a thorough awareness of the following foundations: addiction, treatment knowledge, application to practice, and professional preparation. It is impossible to be recognized or accepted as just an addiction professional until you have the four standard foundations.


Burrow-Sánchez, J. J., Martin, J. L., & Taylor, J. M. (2020). The need for training psychologists in substance use disorders. Training and Education in Professional Psychology, 14(1), 8. Web.

Singh, A. A., Nassar, S. C., Arredondo, P., & Toporek, R. (2020). The past guides the future: Implementing the multicultural and social justice counseling competencies. Journal of Counseling & Development, 98(3), 238-252. Web.

West, R., Christmas, S., Hastings, J., & Michie, S. (2018). Developing General Models and Theories of Addiction. In The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy and Science of Addiction (pp. 160-172). Routledge.

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PsychologyWriting. "Addiction and Substance Abuse in Professional Psychology." September 4, 2023.