Addiction counselors work under some of the most challenging conditions imaginable, and burnout is common.
The demands of human interactions in a treatment center setting, paperwork, and stress can add up over time. Couple that with funding cuts and the sadness and frustration from making connections with the people in treatment and then losing them to relapse, or worse, overdose. This can be a bitter mix leading to professional and personal burnout for addiction counselors.
As the nation battles the opioid crisis, addiction counselors feel the pressure of increasing client loads. What can such professionals do to counteract the stress and prevent burnout in this volatile environment? This article provides some answers.
A Quality of Life Survey by Addiction Professional revealed some sobering statistics concerning addiction professionals:
As if the turbulent mix of addiction counseling was not challenging enough, declining reimbursement has led to diminishing lengths of stay. This puts additional pressure on addiction counselors, who are then forced to try to change behaviors while the clock is ticking. So, what can an addiction counselor do to improve his or her longevity in the profession?
The National Institute of Health (NIH) published a study that reviewed the scientific literature on counteracting burnout in the mental health and substance abuse field. The studies seemed to highlight two key areas that must be changed in order to help addiction counselors’ avoid burnout:
Controlling individual behavior is, of course, easier than seeking change within an organizational construct. A 2010 article in Addiction Professional provides addiction counselors with 15 suggestions for “career-sustaining” behaviors to avoid burnout. The suggestions include:
Addiction counselors suggest these and other coping strategies to the very patients they are trying to treat. Avoiding burnout means addiction counselors must care for themselves by listening first to their own best advice.
Want to find an easy way to get your clients the help they need to battle addiction? Contact us to find out more about referring patients to our facilities.