Substance abuse

The World Drug Report found that 35 million people worldwide suffer from drug use disorders while only 1 in 7 people receive treatment. This is alarming. Substance abuse does not only have a tremendous negative impact on the economy but its literally destroys lives. The interpersonal hurt and devastation that substance abuse causes cannot be understated. Substance abuse is a downward spiral that sucks an individual in deeper and deeper with more and more dire consequences.

How do you know if you or a loved one has a substance abuse problem? Well the fact that you are reading this article means that you probably know somebody or struggle with substance abuse yourself. If somebody close to you made you aware of the fact that you may have a substance abuse problem, chances are you do. If you tried to cut down on your substance use in the past and failed you most likely have a substance addiction process going on. If your substance use has caused psychological or physical hurt to someone close to you then your substance abuse has become an interpersonal problem as well.

So how do you get out of the negative cycle of substance abuse.

Step 1: Admit to the problem – This may be the most difficult step of them all. But once you have admitted to a substance abuse problem you have opened the gates to treatment option.

Step 2: Find professional help – Trained Clinical Psychologists who specialize in addiction counselling can assist in addressing the factors that play a role in an individual’s substance abuse cycle. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy coupled with pharmacological treatments are shown to be the most effective approach to address the addiction cycle.

Step 3: Commit to the solution – A personal commitment to the recovery process is essential in contributing to the success of the treatment process. Research shows that motivation to change is the biggest predictor of positive outcomes in therapy.

Step 4: Make a lifestyle change – Recovering from substance abuse is more that just ‘getting clean’. It involves a lifestyle change where the motto ‘Make healthy choices’ ( a holistic outlook on life) should replace the motto of ‘What makes me feel better now is what I will do’ (immediate gratification).

Step 5: Start living a life free from addiction – The reward at the end of successful treatment is freedom from addiction and living a life where one can practice the freedom to choose.

Dr JC Coetzee
Author: Dr JC Coetzee

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