Substance abuse is defined as a habitual overindulgence of mood-altering drugs or alcohol. Prolonged substance abuse can lead to a variety of problems in all aspects of your life, from trouble in relationships, to physical damage to organs, and even changes in brain chemistry.
Substance abuse often co-occurs with mental health disorders such as Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), depression, and anxiety. When this is the case, Clearview Women’s Center can help you to end your reliance on dangerous substances.
Symptoms of Substance Abuse
Signs and symptoms of substance abuse range from the physical to the behavioral.
Physical signs of substance abuse include bloodshot or red-rimmed eyes, noticeable weight loss or gain, change in grooming habits, shaking hands, slurred speech, and nosebleeds (from damage to the nasal passages while snorting substances).
Behavioral signs of substance abuse include erratic mood swings, false confidence (or, alternately, total lack of confidence), lack of motivation, sudden change in favored activities or companions, and suspicious behavior.
Causes of Substance Abuse
Many people turn to substance abuse as a way to cope with situations in their life that feel out of control. These situations can range from social gatherings to major life-changing occurrences, such as loss. While the choice to begin using substances to cope or self-medicate may be voluntary, a pattern of abuse transforms that choice into a compulsion.
People may also turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to deal with symptoms of depression, anxiety, BPD, and other psychiatric disorders. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), nearly 20 percent of people who suffer from a mental illness meet the criteria for substance abuse.
Substance Abuse Treatment
Substance abuse is a treatable illness. Studies show that the most successful treatment plans include behavioral therapy.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is beneficial in that its skills allow you to live in the moment and experience the feelings that you may have previously been trying to numb through substance abuse. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is helpful in changing the damaging mindsets and beliefs that may cause you to turn to substance abuse as a coping mechanism.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is another evidence-based treatment that is effective when it comes to making a recovery from substance abuse.
When substance abuse co-occurs with a mental illness, both diagnoses should be treated so that you can completely heal from both.
Because substance abuse alters the chemistry of the brain, it is not uncommon for those seeking treatment to experience relapse. However, this should not be seen as a failure, but as a directive to continue or adjust treatment.
While treatment may feel like a daunting journey, a substance abuse problem left untreated can worsen, causing long-lasting damage physically, emotionally, and in your relationships.
It is of the utmost importance to continue treatment adequately and adjust it as necessary. According to SAMHSA, the highest recovery rate was from patients who spent time in a substance abuse residential treatment program. However, there are other options, such as substance abuse day treatment and outpatient treatment.
Why Choose Clearview Women’s Center?
Though Clearview Women’s Center is not a primary substance abuse treatment center, we can help you recover from substance abuse when it occurs with a mental health disorder. The symptoms and issues behind both are often intertwined, and we will develop an individualized treatment plan that can help you to address your particular diagnoses. That plan will include both behavioral and holistic therapies in individual and group settings, as well as the ability to attend 12-step meetings offsite as needed.
Q: How do I know whether or not I have a problem with drugs or alcohol?
A: You may wonder whether you’re just having fun or whether you have a dependency on drugs or alcohol. Only a professional can make a truly accurate assessment, but you can ask yourself a few questions that may lead you to decide whether or not to pursue a professional assessment. For example, do you frequently turn to alcohol when disappointed? Do you feel uncomfortable if alcohol is not available? When sober, do you often regret things you said while drinking, or are there moments you don’t remember at all? If you answered yes to these questions, you may want to look into talking to a professional.
Q: Will I be the only one in treatment with an addiction?
A: No. Many of the women who enter Clearview Women’s Center for substance abuse struggle with some form of addiction. While your addiction may not be the same as everyone else’s, you will be in an environment where you will get support from your peers as well as the treatment team so that you can address issues related to whatever addiction you may have.
Q: Can Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) help treat substance abuse?
A: Yes, and very well. Though DBT was originally developed to treat Borderline Personality Disorder, research has found DBT to be highly effective when it comes to treating substance abuse. The DBT skills you learn at Clearview Women’s Center can help you sustain abstinence through the use of healthier coping behaviors, a focus on mindfulness to help you manage urges to use, and an ability to more effectively deal with triggering situations.
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