Magazine article Addiction Professional

More Health Professionals Need Addiction Training

Magazine article Addiction Professional

More Health Professionals Need Addiction Training

Article excerpt

Colleges and universities that prepare students to become medical and behavioral health professionals have an ethical obligation to provide training on addictive disorders. While this seems like common sense, it is far from the case in practice. In many universities in the United States it is possible to obtain advanced degrees such as MD, PhD, and MSW without being required to have taken one course on addictive disorders. Few programs require training in co-occurring disorders.

Yet once individuals graduate with such degrees they qualify to be licensed to treat patients who have issues with addictions or mental illness. Because of the lack of education and clinical training provided by many universities, new professionals are not prepared to recognize addictions. As a result, many individuals with addictive disorders go undetected or, worse yet, are misdiagnosed.

In an effort to correct the absence of education in addictive disorders in graduate training programs, the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) will require courses in addictions in all master's and doctoral degree programs, beginning with its 2009 standards. The council, the professional accreditation body for counselor education programs, also will list requirements for a master's degree in addiction counseling.

In addition to imparting a strong working knowledge relative to addictive disorders, it is imperative that university programs provide a foundation on the integrated model of treating co-occurring addictions and mental health issues. …

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