Posted: February 15th, 2022
Substance Abuse Counseling Activity
Globally, substance abuse remains a great challenge affecting the wellbeing of affected individuals. The process of recovering and receiving appropriate treatment by those who suffer from the disorder is very costly. It remains an endeavor of healthcare professionals to engage and apply different counseling and education activities to help the patients take personal initiatives to prevent themselves from overindulging in substance use. The activity is particularly important as it creates awareness among those vulnerable about the dangers they are exposed to if they engage in substance and drug abuse. This research will look into the problem associated with substance in society, the possible ways to solve it, the overall trends of the problem globally, and the role and the role the healthcare professionals will play in improving it.
The problem with substance abuse
One of the main problems associated with substance abuse is its effect on one’s life and overall wellbeing. Firstly, substance abuse triggers nutritional deficiencies. That is apart from causing loss of appetite and regular change of moods. That is because it impairs the functioning of the digestive system (MedBroadcast, n.d.). Based on that, one could not manage to fight infections because of low immunity. Also, without eating enough food, a victim may not perform their daily duties because of being weak. Notably, there are several substances in the mainstream and illegal markets that are abused.
The drugs most abused include Vicodin, Percocet, morphine, codeine, and several other categories of opioids. The other legal substances commonly abused comprise alcohol, tobacco, and related products. The illegal drugs include cannabis, cocaine, and heroin. Another common problem these drugs have is that they are associated with different diseases such as lung cancer, heart disease, brain damage, and liver disease (MedBroadcast, n.d.). Also, excessive use of substances can cause reproduction defects. Generally, substance use disorder (USD) is a health problem that can completely change the way one lives and the ability to operate normally. Most importantly, it can reduce the lifespan of very many people if not controlled.
The hypothesis to solve the problem
The study hypothesizes that incorporating cognitive-behavioral interventions (CBT) in counseling and education activities will have a significant impact on solving the problem of substance abuse (Williams & Garland, 2018). The approach is based on the premise that cognitive cues determine the behavior of an individual. The CBT program is a time approach that evaluates and determines the effect of specific health interventions. The strategy focuses on identifying and reorganizing dysfunctional thoughts, controlling negative moods, and applying intervening measures to prevent a full-blown relapse and the first lapse (Jhanjee, 2014). Most importantly, the proposed solution enables individuals to avoid making irrelevant and irrational decisions. The main strategies CBT uses in addressing the problem of substance abuse include relaxation training, coping with desires for substances, promotional activities against substance abuse, cue exposure, and managing relapses.
In determining the effectiveness of the proposed hypothesis, one major randomized trial that involves project matching will be used. A possible sample of 1,500 people who are into substances will be used. The trial will entail administering different interventions randomly, including CBT. The participants will be allowed to choose the interventions they like. The results will then be assessed after 3 months, six months, and one year. The other interventions to use and compare the results with CBT are motivational interviewing (MI), brief interventions (BIs), relapse prevention (RP), contingency management (CI), and the use of medication and substitute drugs. The results will be compared throughout the 12 months to determine the outcome (Williams & Garland, 2018). It is expected that at the end of the trial, more of the patients who used CBT will have either withdrawn from substance use or significantly reduced the amount of consumption. That is because they will be able to control their feelings and make the right decisions towards substance use. The results for all interventions will be measured using percentages.
Established data from the research
Figure 1: A chart showing the demand and supply of substances
The demand and supply of different substances, as shown in figure 1, various between low-income, middle-income, and high-income countries. For instance, at the end of 2030, the United Nations (UN) predicts that consumption of such substances will have increased by 43 percent in low-income countries. In middle-income countries, the supply and consumption will increase by 10 percent (United Nations, 2021). However, in the developed countries, there will be a drop of 1 percent. Several factors contribute to the trend, including availability, culture, depression, lack of employment, and limited educational and counseling programs. All those factors are attributed to the lack of capacity by respective governments to put in place measures to fight the rampant use of substances.
Figure 2: A Graph showing substance usage among adolescents in the U.S.
As shown in figure 2 above, the number of students who reported to have used illegal substances in America in 2020 significantly reduced in 2021. For the 12th Grade students, it reduced by 4.8 percent, 11.7 percent for 10th Grade students, and 5.4 percent for the 8th Grade students (NIH, 2021). That trend is attributed to the measures taken by the administrators in educations in highlighting the risks they face when they abuse drugs.
The role of health science professionals in improving the problem
One way health science professionals can successfully improve the problem of substance abuse is by introducing counseling and education programs in their health facilities. That will help increase the network from which the victims can be served. In line with that, it is crucial to introduce support social networks where they can exchange more knowledge with the patients and interact on matters related to substance abuse and how they can avoid them (Jhanjee, 2014). Through social networks, the patients can also interact among themselves and encourage one another to overcome the desire to abuse drugs. Finally, the healthcare professionals should collaborate with the local community leaders, societies, religious organizations, and government to fight the problem. The leaders easily connect with the people and easily identify the possible places where the victims can access the drugs. That will help destroy those hubs to reduce their supply in the market.
This research establishes that the problem of substance abuse is common in different countries. Its existence ruins the lives of many people, and governments spend huge budgets to rehabilitate those affected. The effects of the problem are eminent, and if an appropriate solution is not found, the overall wellbeing of the citizens will be affected because of the diseases they cause. That is because they are exposed to different diseases because of low immunity and cannot be productive because of the frequent desire to abuse those drugs. However, health science professionals can help mitigate the problem through counseling, education, and collaboration with members of society.
Jhanjee, S. (2014). Evidence based psychosocial interventions in substance use. Indian Journal Psychology Medicine, 36(2), 112-118.
MedBroadcast (n.d.). Substance Use Problems. Retrieved from: https://medbroadcast.com/condition/getcondition/substance-use-problems.
NIH (2021). Monitoring the future 2021 survey results. Retrieved from: https://www.drugabuse.gov/drug-topics/trends-statistics/infographics/monitoring-future- 2021-survey-results
United Nations (2021). Global overview of drug demand and drug supply. Retrieved from: https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/data-and-analysis/wdr-2021_booklet-2.html
Williams, C. & Garland, A. (2018). A cognitive–behavioural therapy assessment model for use in everyday clinical practice. Advances in Psychiatric Treatment, 8(3), 172 – 179.
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