Psychologist - Addictions Counseling, Therapy for Substance Abuse

Therapy for Substance Abuse

Substance abuse often starts out as experimentation. Friends may suggest it be tried or they state that the substance has relieved their own discomfort and may help. Drugs are most often used to escape from mental or physical discomforts providing a short-term fix with long-term consequences. Take the drug away and the problem is still there, whether it be low self-esteem, anxiety, loneliness, or an unhappy family life. Prolonged exposure to drugs alters the brain in ways that result in powerful cravings and a compulsion to use. These brain changes make it extremely difficult to quit by sheer force of will. The longer drug abuse continues, the stronger the addiction becomes and the harder it is to treat.

The Warning Signs Of Substance Addiction

Physical warning signs of drug abuse

  • Bloodshot eyes or pupils that are larger or smaller than usual.
  • Changes in appetite or sleep patterns. Sudden weight loss or weight gain.
  • Deterioration of physical appearance and personal grooming habits.
  • Unusual smells on breath, body, or clothing.
  • Tremors, slurred speech, or impaired coordination.

Behavioral signs of drug abuse

  • Drop in attendance and performance at work or school.
  • Unexplained need for money or financial problems. May borrow or steal to get it.
  • Engaging in secretive or suspicious behaviors.
  • Sudden change in friends, favorite hangouts, and hobbies.
  • Frequently getting into trouble (fights, accidents, illegal activities).

Psychological warning signs of drug abuse

  • Unexplained change in personality or attitude.
  • Sudden mood swings, irritability, or angry outbursts.
  • Periods of unusual hyperactivity, agitation, or giddiness.
  • Lack of motivation; appears lethargic or “spaced out.”
  • Appears fearful, anxious, or paranoid, with no reason.

Substance Abuse Effects

No matter the type of drug or alcohol that is taken, substance abuse is the dysfunctional way in which the drug takes over the user’s life, disrupting his or her relationships and daily functioning at school, home, or work, leading to repeated drug-related legal difficulties, and negatively affecting his or her peace of mind.

Each substance abused causes a specific reaction physically and mentally. Drugs can speed up the heart causing a feeling of high energy such as cocaine or create a calming effect such as Marijuana. Any drug when abused can damage the tissues, organs and systems of the body causing long-term damage even death. It is through substance abuse treatment that an abuser can begin to break free from their addiction for improved physical and mental health.

Substance Abuse Treatment

The brain changes associated with addiction can be treated and reversed through therapy, medication, exercise, and other treatments. Substance abuse and substance dependence can both be treated effectively. Substance abusers may not yet feel the compelling need to use the drug but with prolonged use may find that the drug is required to prevent withdraw symptoms such as shaking and nausea.

Dr. Lisa Saponaro is a licensed clinical psychologist who has developed and implemented programs. These experiences have allowed Dr. Saponaro to develop programs that help substance abusers through individual therapy. When drug abuse treatment is necessary Dr. Lisa Saponaro can provide useful information on in hospital treatment programs, community mental health centers and in office therapy sessions. Through a combination of treatment substance abusers can begin to detox the drugs from their systems in a safe environment and continue through a treatment process in order to live life drug free.

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