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Studies & Degrees in Chemical Dependency

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Chemical dependency is used interchangeably with such terms as chemical dependence, addiction, alcoholism, drug addiction, substance dependence, or substance abuse. The Dual Recovery Anonymous World Network of Kansas, United States, defines it as a primary disease characterized by addiction to mood-altering chemical. Some authorities say it is a psychological or physical need to use alcohol or drugs, and this need stays even if the use of such alcohol or drugs causes negative consequences. The Encyclopedia Britannica agrees that chemical dependency is a person’s physical or psychological addiction to a psycho-active or mind-altering substance, such as narcotics, nicotine or alcohol. A chemically dependent person is usually characterized by his inability to stop drinking or taking a mood-altering chemical, loss of power or choice over using mind-altering chemicals, his increased tolerance for alcohol or drugs, by distortions in his thinking, and the desire to stop using chemicals for awhile only to return to it repetitiously against his intention or will power.

Many institutions, especially community colleges, consider chemical dependency as an important program as any course of study. The Yakima Community College in Washington state offers a 2-year Associate in Chemical Dependency program in which students are prepared for work in the field of chemical dependency counseling, especially in addiction treatment facilities, schools, hospitals, employee assistance programs, the clergy and other social service agencies. Their training involves assessment, treatment, and referral of individuals who are afflicted with addiction to either alcohol or other mind-altering chemical. The Wenatchee Valley College, also in Washington, also offers a 2-year, 94-credit Associate in Chemical Dependency in such courses as Survey of Chemical Dependency, Cultural Diversity Counseling Techniques, Interpersonal Communication, General Psychology, Adolescent Treatment Plan, Chemical Dependency and the Law, Community Prevention, Basic First Aid, and Personal Wellness, among others. The Westchester Community College in Valhalla, New York has a 2-year Certificate program in chemical dependency, consisting of 300 credit hours. The curriculum covers courses and seminar, such as Biochemistry of Addiction, Psychosocial Issues in Addiction, Ethics in Addiction Counseling, Alcoholism, Substance and the Family, Addiction Counseling Methods, Addiction Counseling Models, and Addiction Group Counseling.

The California State University’s 18-month certificate program in Chemical Dependency Studies is offered under its East Bay Continuing Education unit, with the objectives of enhancing skills of professionals in the substance abuse field, and serving the needs of counselors, therapists, nurses, officers in probation or correctional institutes, and those who work with alcohol and/or chemical abusers. The St. Cloud State University in Minnesota has a 4-year, 120-credit Bachelor of Science in Chemical Dependency in a program that is focused on community psychology and chemical dependency courses.