Substance Abuse Issues
I imagine that you are here because either you or someone you care about has an issue with alcohol or drugs (marijuana, cocaine, prescription medication abuse) and you suspect that counseling or psychotherapy will be helpful. The truth is, counseling for substance abuse can help people return to living productive and healthy lives.
Through drug and alcohol counseling, many times by paying attention to your usage—and addressing the issue that caused the increased usage—you can go back to “normal”. Substance abuse does not have to lead to dependence but if unattended, it might develop into a real and continual problem for you. Often, people cannot overcome a substance abuse addiction without the help of an experienced counselor or therapist.
If you find yourself identifying with even one or two of the issues on this list, you may have some bigger issues with drugs or alcohol.
Signs of Substance Abuse or Dependence
Some signs that alcohol or drugs may be a problem for you are:
- Repeated efforts to control, modify, or reduce your drinking or drug use.
- Preoccupation with thoughts about drinking or using drugs, like wondering or planning. when you might drink or use next, how much you will use, etc.
- Negotiating the amounts that you will drink, smoke, or swallow.
- Rationalizing your drinking or drug use, e.g. “I was really tired that’s why I drank so much” or “It was such a stressful day at work, that’s why I got stoned” or “If you (wife, parent, child) didn’t make me mad then I wouldn’t have gotten drunk.”
- When you act outside of your morals and/or values while under the influence.
- Hiding your usage.
- Lying about your usage, either to yourself or others.
- Continuing to perform the same behaviors that yield the same negative consequences.
- Getting annoyed with people who are talking to you about their concerns about your drinking or drug use.
- Needing more of a substance to yield the same effect (developing tolerance.)
- Needing less of the substance to get the same effect (reverse tolerance.)
- Blacking out (periods of time that one does not remember while under the influence or intoxicated). This can happen with as little as one drink depending on your tolerance or chemical makeup.
- DUI’s (driving under the influence)—less than 2 drinks can impair your ability to drive!
- Quitting for a period of time just to “prove” it’s not a problem.
- Drinking or doing drugs while alone.
- Increasing difficulty abstaining from substances.
- More frequent and severe withdrawal symptoms (like tremors of the hands, sweating and fever.) A hangover is a type of withdrawal.
- Anxiety and guilty feelings following your use of chemicals.
- Drinking more than your friends do.
You may find that you can check off many of these. You may find that there are only one or two that are an issue. In either case or anything in between, it may be helpful to talk with a counselor or therapist who specializes in working with drug or alcohol issues, including abuse, dependence, or addiction.
You Can Get Better
Here is what I want you to know…you can get better! You can heal your problematic relationship with alcohol or drugs.
In psychotherapy counseling, you can heal the issues surrounding your addiction by:
- Exploring the issues that surround your drinking, drug or substance use.
- Looking at what might be the underlying issues that you are medicating.
- Working on the source of the issue.
I can help you sort through all of these signs and symptoms of possible problem usage. Through treatment for your addiction, I can help you figure out what may be motivating your drug or alcohol usage and help you find ways for you to help yourself stop this very self-destructive behavior. In addiction counseling, you will learn how to stop drinking or doing drugs through behavioral changes and thoughtful suggestions along the way.