Some form of substance abuse may affect nearly everyone in
our stressed and complicated world, and can manifest itself in many
ways. Abuse occurs when substances are consumed in amounts other than
prescribed or intended (affecting physical or emotional functioning), or
are considered illegal to use. For some there is control and abuse is
only occasional, but often this control diminishes with continued use,
though the user may continue to perceive themselves as being in control
as they become more dependent. As this pattern advances, distortions of
judgment anddiminished functioning complicates decision making
Some people drink or take drugs regularly and seem always to be a
"little tipsy" or "stoned" but never overtly drunk
or out of control. Others get drunk or stoned often enough to
generate complaints from those around them due to their behavior. Often,
those who would not ordinarily consider themselves as having a problem,
find difficulty trying to stop once they have begun using and
consequently get very high or drunk whenever they use even though it may
not seem to happen all that often.
CLICK HERE for a simple test to
see if you or a family problem has a substance abuse problem.
The symptoms of substance abuse vary, and can be very misleading,
disguised initially as minor physical or emotional irregularities.
Usually, as a pattern of abuse progresses the symptoms become worse over
time though, sometimes leading to severe behavior problems such as
fighting, child or spouse abuse, loss of employment and depression.
Treatment for substance abuse begins with the initiation of sobriety.
This is usually initiated by the individual since the only person who
can stop is oneself. Detox programs are sometimes utilized and AA/NA is
nearly always recommended.
Psychotherapy usually occurs in different stages, the initial
stage focusing on attaining and maintaining sobriety. After sobriety is
achieved, a more exploratory experience can be initiated during which
the emotional causes and/or ramifications of excessive use can be
There are different levels of substance abuse counseling, from
outpatient individual or group therapy to more intensive abuse programs
like IOP (Intensive Outpatient Program), Inpatient hospital programs,
and longer term residential programs.