Addiction occurs when someone has a compulsive desire to use a specific drug, such as alcohol, or perform a certain action, such as gamble. The desire is so powerful that it leads the person to neglect their own well-being and relationships.
Addictions often take time to develop. For example, when a person regularly uses alcohol or drugs, the body begins to develop a tolerance. The person will need an increased amount of the substance to reach a pleasurable state. This begins a dangerous cycle. The individual will pursue higher doses, which results in damage to the body and brain. Drug or alcohol dependency can also have harmful effects on a person's relationships, as the addiction begins to negatively affect their behavior and decision-making.
Learning about addiction can help you prepare for a career as an addiction therapist or substance abuse counselor. On this career path, you'll work with people suffering from addictions as they seek recovery. Your responsibilities will include helping them develop and implement a plan to break the addiction cycle and then tracking their progress. Other jobs, such as detox specialist and addiction psychologist, will also require a clear and in-depth understanding of addiction.
A career in addiction counseling might be ideal for you if you have a patient, compassionate, empathic, and firm personality. For many people, the road to addiction recovery comes with setbacks. When working with patients, you'll need to talk them through the feelings of guilt and frustration that come with relapses. You'll need to stay optimistic and practical about the recovery process.
Online courses can introduce you to common psychological theories and practices surrounding addiction and addiction recovery. You'll learn about common addictions, how they affect the brain, and how clinical skills can help you treat patients. Courses may include readings, lectures, and assessments that you can access via the internet and work through at your own pace.
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