Overcoming substance abuse requires more than simply stopping a habit; it also entails finding a new way to go through life. Occupational therapy can assist in this journey, retraining individuals to enjoy life without the substance. If you're looking for travel therapy jobs that suit your interests, consider an occupational approach to treating addiction. Here's what that looks like:
What occupational therapists do
Occupational therapists can treat a range of individuals depending on their specialty. By and large, they guide ill or injured people through a treatment plan that helps them find easier and better ways to do daily activities. For instance, they teach a patient who has lost a limb how to adjust his or her lifestyle to accommodate the injury while continuing to work and live. As such, occupational therapists create specialized treatment plans that change from person to person.
When it comes to substance abuse, occupational therapists can help patients identify patterns of behavior that make them susceptible to temptation and alter habits to avoid it. Additionally, they search for activities that bring their patients joy without the use of drugs or alcohol. That way, patients will have a hobby they can participate in instead of falling back on abuse.
The need for help
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 21.5 million Americans over the age of 12 experienced a substance addiction in 2014. That number includes both drugs and alcohol. What's more, 3.3 percent of surveyed adults experienced mental health issues on top of addiction. When it comes to recovery, the longer someone abstains from the substance, the more likely they will remain sober. A study published by SAGE found that individuals who were sober for at least five years had only a 15 percent chance of relapse.
This research shows the necessity of helping those with a substance addiction become and remain sober. Because those in occupational therapy jobs identify behavioral patterns and work to find alternatives to drugs and alcohol, patients may see lasting results.
The work of an occupational therapist
Travel therapy professionals working with those experiencing addiction will create unique programs for their patients. This role lives somewhere at the intersection of occupational therapy and counselor, as you'll help patients examine themselves and how their mental state changes throughout the day. Together you'll identify triggers and find ways to redirect negative emotions. Not only will you help patients avoid drugs and alcohol, but you'll get them to the point of pursuing positive activities instead, whether that's a job, new hobbies or just better coping mechanisms.
Education and income
If assisting people in search of a more positive lifestyle sounds appealing, occupational therapy specializing in substance addiction could be a good fit. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, occupational therapists made a median salary of $80,150 in 2015, and expected job growth between 2014 and 2024 is 27 percent. The MinnPost noted that occupational therapy originally served those battled substance abuse, but the field's popularity died down. However, with the healthcare industry focusing more on mental health, the role is gaining ground once again. As such, now is a great time to invest in a future as a travel occupational therapist specializing in substance abuse.