Drug or Substance Abuse

Drug (or substance) addiction is characterized by the inability to control drug consumption despite the long-term physical, financial, and social consequences. This can include losing your job, family or personal relationships, jail time, and even death from the physical toll of addiction. Drug addictions commonly begin with using drugs at social events. Eventually, it can lead to taking the drugs habitually and in extremely unhealthy doses, as well as seeking more potent drugs in order to.

Signs & Symptoms of drug addiction

  • Taking the chemical every day or more than once in a day
  • Taking drugs to feel good and to solve your problems
  • Spending a lot of time acquiring and taking drugs
  • Stealing drugs or spending all your earnings just to have and use the drugs
  • No longer spending money or time on your basic needs
  • Important responsibilities such a job and relationships are less of a priority if they get in the way of your drug use

Different types of drug addiction

  • Addiction to barbiturates and benzodiazepines, which are central nervous system depressants, can cause confusion, depression, lack of coordination, drowsiness, and memory impairment.
  • Addiction to cocaine, on the other hand, causes restlessness, insomnia, weight loss, paranoia, euphoria, decreased appetite, increased heart rate and temperature, and rapid speech in an addict.
  • Club drugs include MDMAor Ecstasy, Rohypnol, and GHB. Signs of club drug use include impaired coordination and judgments, reduced inhibitions, increased blood pressure, and an exaggerated sense of happiness.
  • Hallucinogens like LSD and PCP. The most common signs of LCD are having hallucinations, tremors, high blood pressure, perception changes, and rapid heart rate. Flashbacks also occur, which are repetitions or re-experiences of hallucinations. PCP causes euphoria, panic, depression, and even violent behavior.
  • Addiction to opioidssuch morphine, codeine, opium, or heroin causes anxiety & panic, confusion, depression, paranoia, mood issues, and a host of physical issues including sleeping difficulties, chills, headache, sweating, tremors, and weakness.
  • Methamphetamine addictionhas several physical signs such as tooth decay and loss, weight loss, acne, among other more general symptoms of drug abuse like twitching, dizziness, and irregular heartbeat. Psychological symptoms include anxiety, depression, and violent behaviours.
  • Prescription drug abuseis often referred to as a “misuse” because the drugs have legal, medical uses. There are so many different types of prescription drugs regularly abused, sometimes by people who have a legitimate prescription and need, that it is difficult for people to know if the sufferer’s behaviour is problematic.

When is it time to get help?

If you are dependent on drugs or know of anyone exhibiting these signs, then it’s important to get help from a doctor and therapist. Medical help is crucial if you have shared needles or have engaged in unprotected sex while taking drugs.

Addiction treatment methods

Following medical intervention or monitoring, Alberta Health Services – Addictions Services (AHSAS) may also be a great resource for you as it is an agency that specifically assists people in resolving drug addiction issues. Insight’s Therapists are dedicated and able to work both alongside and independently of AHSAS and 12-Step programs and offers counselling and assessments with regards to drug addiction.

Effective addictions treatment:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based approach to treatment that focuses on how your thoughts, emotions and beliefs influence your behaviour and how you perceive yourself, others and the world. CBT has been shown to be effective in dealing with anxiety because it helps you to change those negative thoughts, feelings, emotions and projections on a subject matter or circumstance and help you to learn more effective ways of dealing with your anxiety. This approach uses sound techniques to slow down, halt and eliminate your own learned reactions. Ultimately, CBT deals with those circumstances and events that you’re aware of, rather than dealing with circumstances and events relating to your unconscious. Through a sound therapeutic process, you’ll learn to respond differently to issues and circumstances, and you’ll learn healthy coping mechanisms.
  • Behaviour Therapy includes the thinking processes, attitudes and values which typically impact an individual. Generally speaking, Behaviour Therapy tends to view human beings and behaviour with the assumption that humans are a product of their sociocultural conditioning and environment. Behaviour Therapy also looks at the current problems and the factors influencing them and emphasizes overt behaviour changes more than the underlying unconscious processes. Typically, treatment goals are more concrete and objective with a strong focus on measuring progress over time. Ultimately, the goal of therapy is to create new learning and/or new conditions for learning that will ultimately impact the problem behaviour.
  • Existential Therapy is focused on providing the client with a greater understanding of self including self-development, and self-awareness. This therapy works on the individual’s unique set of choices and the meaning behind them. Furthermore, the therapy emphasizes an individual’s agency to make those unique choices and the need to be responsible for the consequences. The therapy makes known that the individual can not blame their decisions and the repercussions entirely on past conditioning and/or genetics. The therapy tries to employ a sense of meaning to the individual’s life and to clarify the right way to make sound choices that are constructive and rewarding.
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) focuses on being present in your life and dealing with your challenges rather than trying to eliminate difficult or unpleasant thoughts or feelings. You learn to open up and accept those feelings rather than trying to escape them or avoiding situations in which they may occur. The success of this therapy lies in the client feeling better, which then leads to a better understanding of the issues and the work it takes to get to the outcome they desire.

What will I get out of addictions treatment with Insight Psychological?

If an addiction is affecting your life, you should know that you’re not alone. Our therapists utilize a variety of effective treatment methods that can support you on your journey to finding healthy ways to cope, to stop self-medicating and to reclaim your life.