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Substance Abuse Counseling

Substance Abuse Counseling

Substance abuse counseling case studies can be custom ordered from Paper Masters to be written by one of our psychology writers. Learn how to write a case study and assess substance abuse among family members, spouses or for individual therapy and counseling.

The following is the beginning of a Substance Abuse Counseling case study sample:

Dealing with substance abuse in today's environment is not an easy task. Throughout history substance abuse has found its way into every segment of society from the protected environments of the Victorian age to the mega technological world of the twenty first century. Probably the most prevalent substantive abuse problem in the country today, among adolescents and adults, is that of alcohol abuse. Whether or not the abuse was a result of a psychosocial problem, or the cause of the problem is significant when attempting to treat the disease. The most complex and difficult patient I encountered in the counseling practicum was that of a 69 year-old male that not only was an alcoholic but also suffered from two psychological disorders; namely depression (dysthymia) and panic. Whether or not the alcohol abuse caused the psychological disorder or vica versa was never determined. Difficulty with this particular case centered on gathering baseline clinical data (intake); maintaining a counseling program with follow-up; and sustaining the patient's sobriety needs.

The complicatedness with this patient was evident from the onset. Difficulty in gathering information via the initial clinical interview was extremely widespread. The patient was neither cooperative nor particularly verbal. Attempting to gain insight about the patient's medical, cognitive, and psychological history was laborious and oftentimes uneventful. Several sessions had to be conducted, some in an associative mode, in order to establish a baseline as to where the patient placed on a mental health continuum. Throughout the majority of clinical interview sessions the patient exhibited short term breathing problems, trembling, shaking, and, as described by the patient, "a tingling sensation in the hands and toes".

It is estimated that between 35 and 50% of substance abusers also suffer from a co-occurring mental illness such as severe anxiety, depression, paranoia, delusions, or hallucinations. This fact complicates the diagnosis of the individual in that the two disorders acting simultaneously have a range of similar effects that may mask either one of the illnesses. Today, as an example, we will consider the case of an individual who has previously been diagnosed as suffering from depression who has recently been arrested for a DWI and faces treatment options. The individual currently is not treating the depression and presents evidence that he believes that the diagnosis was incorrect. He says he feels fine most of the time, and that the arresting officer had no real reason to pull him over, but arrested him because he refused a breathalyzer. In one breath he claims he was not overly intoxicated, and in the next he admits that he had had too much to drink. Family members have answered yes to every one of the signs of addiction listed in the manual, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders by the APA including:

  • Preoccupation with the substance between usage
  • Using more of the chemical than expected, a high tolerance
  • Symptoms of withdrawal
  • Repeated efforts to cut back
  • Inappropriate times of intoxication
  • Choosing the chemical over family or social opportunities
  • Continued usage despite negative consequences

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