Many addiction treatment centers do not maintain an on-staff psychiatrist. While most treatment centers are staffed with capable and experienced addiction counselors, some rehabs keep expenses in check by hiring "layman" counselors with little formal training. Although generally based on a desire to keep treatment costs down, this is an unfortunate decision for many clients who can benefit greatly from the skills and specialized training that a psychiatrist can provide.
Skilled counselors are critical in drug and alcohol treatment. An addiction counselor is a valuable support system for clients, able to serve as a partner and ally throughout the entire treatment process. A counselor listens and empathizes, educates clients, and provides encouragement, understanding and guidance as clients develop skills for drug-free lifestyles. Counselors are trained to help addicted individuals deal with high-risk situations and learn to cope with emotions such as loneliness, guilt, anger and shame.
Psychiatrists, however, are trained to diagnose clients and devise treatment plans for those with co-occurring disorderssuch as depression, anxiety, bi-polar disorder, ADHD, personality disorders or trauma. Psychiatrists are also equipped to diagnose and treat serious psychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia or borderline personality disorder. NIDA (the National Institute for Drug Abuse) estimates that six out of 10 substance abusers have at least one mental disorder.