An Overview of Addiction Treatment Credentials and What They Mean

An Overview of Addiction Treatment Credentials and What They Mean

Addiction treatment centers may staff a variety of professionals who have specialized skills to help patients achieve sobriety

There is no cookie-cutter addiction treatment program, so the best facilities need people with multiple specialties to offer quality services. From social workers to addiction specialists, the variety of people involved in a patient’s treatment plan offer well-rounded services that lead to better outcomes.

Components of Addiction Treatment

Addiction is a chronic disease that varies in seriousness from mild to severe. A patient may only exhibit a few of the symptoms outlined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V), the bible of psychological disorders, or may have several of them. Depending on the seriousness of the disorder, a treatment plan may require care from a few specialists or multiple specialists over a longer-term period. [1]

Staff members at a dedicated addiction treatment facility are experienced with substance use symptoms, which include an overwhelming compulsion to find and use substances in spite of many negative consequences. In fact, many staff members at facilities are recovering addicts who offer counseling and advice based on personal experiences. Everyone at a treatment facility is part of a continuum of care that offers medical and mental health services along with support for living in recovery.[2]

As part of the continuum of care, many addiction treatment facilities begin by offering medically supervised detoxification from substances followed by a customized treatment plan that includes counseling services, medications and other medical services as needed.[3] Treatment specialists involved in the continuum may include the following specialties endorsed by the Association for Addiction Specialists (NAADAC):[4]

  • National Certified Addiction Counselor (NCAC) (level 1 and level 2): addiction counselors must pass the NCAC exam, have three or more years of experience as a substance use counselor, and have 270 or more hours of education and training in substance use disorders and related counseling subjects; level 2 requirements include a bachelor’s degree, five years of experience and 450 hours of continuing education.
  • Master Addiction Counselor (MAC): addiction counselors with a master’s degree or higher in substance use disorders, three years of experience in the field and 500 hours of continuing education.
  • National Endorsed Co-Occurring Disorders Professional (NECODP): addiction counselors with a bachelor’s degree or higher in substance use disorders, five years of experience in the field and 70 hours of continuing education in co-occurring disorders, which include addiction that occurs along with a mental health disorder like anxiety or depression.

The NAADAC also offers certifications for nicotine dependence (NDS), adolescent addictions (NCAAC, NESAP) and peer recovery support – former addicts with counseling experience (NCPRSS).

In addition to NAADAC credentials, there are other specialists in the addiction treatment field. The American Society of Addiction Medicine defines an addiction specialist as a physician certified by the American Board of Addiction Medicine or a psychiatrist certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.[5]

Once a patient progresses through treatment, he may need follow-up services, such as job training, legal support, housing support, family counseling or other services to support long-term sobriety.[6]

Counseling Treatment Credentials

Behavioral treatments that address the mental aspects of addiction are some of the most important aspects of addiction care. Professionals who provide behavioral services may be certified in several counseling protocols. While there are many treatments for behavioral health problems, one common counseling orientation is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT-certified counselors offer strategies to change behaviors, thoughts and feelings. Other specialists may include social workers, nurses trained in addiction medicine and other specialists who offer recreation therapy, art therapy, music therapy or other beneficial  tools for improving mental health.[7]

Need Help Finding Addiction Treatment?

Even though millions of Americans meet the criteria for an addiction, only a small percentage of people ever get treated. Knowing more about the disease is important to make sure people who need help get it.

Addiction is a chronic disease that requires physical and psychological treatments for the best possible outcomes. While there is no single method for treating addiction, there are many evidence-based treatments that offer excellent outcomes and reduce the chance of relapse. The best treatments must be tailored to meet each person’s needs. Users also benefit from services that teach coping skills and ways to avoid relapse.

If you or a loved one is suffering from an addiction, give our admissions coordinators a call. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to offer advice on the best treatment options. With a number of addiction treatment options available, there is no excuse to avoid seeking help. Call today.


 

[1] American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders. Retrieved Dec. 6, 2015 from http://www.dsm5.org/documents/substance%20use%20disorder%20fact%20sheet.pdf.

[2] National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2009). Drug Facts: Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction. Retrieved Dec. 6, 2015 from http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/treatment-approaches-drug-addiction.

[3] Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2015). Treatments for Substance Use Disorders. Retrieved Dec. 6, 2015 from http://www.samhsa.gov/treatment/substance-use-disorders.

[4] The Association for Addiction Specialists. (2015). NCC AP Credentials Overview. Retrieved Dec. 6, 2015 from http://www.naadac.org/ncc-ap.

[5] American Society of Addiction Medicine. (2015). What is an Addiction Specialist? Retrieved Nov. 6, 2015 from http://www.asam.org/for-the-public/what-is-an-addiction-specialist.

[6] National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2009). Drug Facts: Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction. Retrieved Dec. 6, 2015 from http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/treatment-approaches-drug-addiction.

[7] Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2015). Treatments for Substance Use Disorders. Retrieved Dec. 6, 2015 from http://www.samhsa.gov/treatment/substance-use-disorders.