Substance Abuse Disorders

Substance Abuse Disorders

Substance abuse disorders are mental health conditions that cause an individual to have an unhealthy relationship with drugs or alcohol. Substance abuse is the use of a substance, such as drugs or alcohol, in a manner that is outside the medically accepted standards of use, for psychological or physical reasons, that disrupts physical, psychological, or social functioning.

Substance abuse disorder is classified as a mental health disorder, meaning it causes significant changes in thinking, behavior, and emotions. It is common to have other mental health problems accompanying a substance abuse disorder, such as depression or anxiety.

Signs and Symptoms of Substance Abuse Disorder

  • Repeatedly using a substance even when it causes problems with work, socializing, or family.
  • Using substances to cope with negative feelings, such as sadness, hopelessness, or guilt.
  • Using more of the substance than originally planned.
  • Developing a tolerance, meaning higher doses are needed to achieve the desired effect.
  • Experiencing physical withdrawal symptoms such as shaking, nausea, and increased heart rate when the substance is not used.
  • Experiencing cravings for the substance when it is not available.
  • Isolating from friends and family.
  • Experiencing financial problems because of the need to buy substances.
  • Skipping work or school.
  • Increasing risky behaviors, such as driving recklessly.

Treatment for Substance Abuse Disorder

Treatment for substance abuse disorder involves identifying triggers for substance abuse, learning how to cope with cravings, and developing healthy ways to manage stress. Treatment can also involve identifying underlying mental health issues that contribute to the substance use and developing new life skills.

Treatment programs can vary from short-term outpatient treatment to long-term residential programs. The type of program will depend on the individual’s needs and circumstances. Treatment typically includes individual and group counseling, along with activities such as yoga, meditation, and art or music therapy.

Therapy can help individuals identify triggers for substance abuse and manage them in healthier ways. A trained therapist can also help individuals develop strategies to cope with cravings and work through any underlying mental health issues that may be contributing to substance abuse.

Recovery from Substance Abuse Disorder

Recovery from a substance abuse disorder is possible with the right treatment and support. Recovery is an ongoing process, and it is important for individuals to have a strong support system in place and access to resources to help them manage stress and triggers. Seeking treatment is the first step in the journey to recovery.