Substance abuse is a broad term referring to a maladaptive pattern of behavior surrounding the use of a substance. Under this definition a substance can be many things including:
- Illicit Drugs (cocaine, heroin, marijuana)
- Tobacco / Nicotine
- Prescription Drugs
- Over the counter medications (sleeping aids, caffeine)
Symptoms of Substance abuse can vary depending on the person and the substance of abuse, however there are often common themes to look for when deciding if someone has a problem with the use of a substance.
- Recurrent substance use resulting in a failure to fulfill obligations at work, home or school
- Recurrent substance use in situations where it is physically hazardous
- Recurrent substance use related legal problems
- Continued use despite having persistent social, interpersonal or legal problems
- The substance is taken in larger amounts or over a longer period that is intended
- Spending a great deal of time in activities related to obtaining the substance or recovering from its effects
- Important social, occupational or recreational activities are given up, or reduced, due to substance abuse
- Experienced withdrawal symptoms when the substance is not taken
Treatment for substance abuse problems can involve the use of behavioral therapies. Therapy can help motivate people to participate in more intensive drug treatment, offer strategies for coping with cravings, teach ways to avoid drugs and prevent relapse, and help people minimize the effect of relapse if it occurs. Therapy can also help people improve communication, relationships and parenting skills as well as family dynamics.
If you feel like you, or someone you know, may have a substance abuse problem, please call Dr. Schwerzler for a free telephone consultation to see what treatment options are available for you.
Dr. Schwerzler can also assist with court ordered or independent substance abuse evaluations to assess for the presence and severity of substance abuse issues.