Drug Abuse is becoming more and more prevalent in today’s highly stressed environment and may involve both illegal as well as legal drugs such as cocaine or alcohol.
You can read about alcohol abuse separately here.
Many people are able to use recreational drugs (Cannabis, Cocaine etc.) without developing major addiction problems or suffering any negative consequences, but for some users, it can become a significant problem that has a truly devastating impact on their life at home, work or socially.
Drug Abuse can lead to increasing isolation and withdrawal from everyday life and for a number of sufferers, can lead to the ultimate penalties of legal problems or even premature death.
In order to effectively deal with the problem of drug abuse, it is important to understand the nature of addiction and how this addiction manifests itself in symptoms and behaviours.
Key Features of Drug Abuse
There are a multitude of reasons why people take drugs, often this can be due to peer pressure in adolescence and the need to feel like one belongs to the right social group.
Sometimes abuse offers a way to escape from some previous traumatic experience, often which occurred in earlier times but which still produce negative feelings in the present for example Anxiety, Depression or Stress.
It does not necessarily follow that all abuse will lead automatically to a state of Addiction as Character and Personality Type can play an important role in determining susceptibility to Addictive Behaviours.
In some cases, drugs may only create a habitual behaviour and not actually be addictive lending weight to the theory that addiction is largely ‘person-centric’.
Abuse and Addiction are not necessarily a problem unless it impacts upon your life, and more importantly, the level of use at which addictive behaviour can said to occur is NOT directly related to the amount of drugs being used!
IF you ARE using drugs AND it IS having a negative effect on your life, then it is likely that you have a drug abuse problem.
Why Do Some People Develop Drug Abuse Problems?
As is true with almost all Psychological problems and conditions, the degree of vulnerability to addictive behaviour is determined by personal factors such as your nurturing environment, genetic factors, personality type, social conditioning and any previous mental health problems.
Susceptibility factors may include:-
- Addictive behaviours in your family
- Childhood Emotional Traumas – Conscious or Unconscious
- Other prevailing psychological problems such as Depression or Anxiety
- Substance Abuse at an early age
- Physical method of ingestion – Injecting may lead to addiction more swiftly
The Effects of Drug Abuse on the Brain
Drug Abuse is complex (due to so many factors being involved) and despite the fact that all drugs produce slightly different effects on the Brain, one effect that all abused drugs have in common is their ability, through repeated use, to actually effect the way the Brain functions.
Recreational drugs produce a pleasurable effect by triggering the release of Dopamine into the bloodstream.
These feelings are so pleasurable that the Brain (at least the person) wants the experience to be repeated.
The importance of these feelings can become so profound that the brain regards them as being as important as other “survival” activities such as eating or drinking.
This behaviour can become “normalised” and impede the ability to rationalise in a clear way, leading to the belief that you cannot “cope” or “survive” without the drug.
Under these conditions, the urge to keep using the drug becomes so dominant that the mind starts to develop arguments to deny the “addiction” and to thus continue to use, often leading to a total inability to gauge the amount of drugs that are being consumed, or “need” to be consumed.
On the positive side is the fact that all of these Brain behaviours can also be “unlearnt” and with the right type of therapy and personal effort drug abuse and addictions CAN be resolved.
Symptoms & Signs of Drug Abuse
The most common indicators of a drug abuse problem are:
- Your substance abuse is starting to become more important than your home life, work or schooling and you are starting to neglect your responsibilities
- You are taking risks whilst using your drugs, for example driving whilst under the influence
- You are having problems with the law, for example being arrested for disorderly behaviour or convictions for theft through trying to obtain funds for buying your drugs
- Your relationships are falling apart due to fights or disagreements which may be frivolous
- You need larger quantities of drugs to get the hit that you used to get with smaller quantities
- You are starting to experience more severe withdrawal symptoms when you are without your drug such as nausea, depression or anxiety
- You feel “powerless” to keep the amount of drugs you’re using to a level you can control
- Your primary focus has shifted to drug abuse and you may have quit doing the things you used to enjoy such as socialising or keeping fit
If you demonstrate any of these behaviours then we strongly recommend that in the first instance you consult your GP before you talk to us about how we could help you.
Once you’re ready to face the truth about your drug abuse problem then you have already taken the first important step towards solving the problem and can move towards seeking a solution.
Whichever recovery option you decide to take, being honest with yourself and obtaining the help and support of friends and family can undoubtedly help you to make the move to a drug free life.
Causes of Drug Abuse
Drug abuse is a form of ‘self-soothing’ to make oneself feel better or to avoid having to feel bad. Some research suggests that people who gravitate towards narcotics frequently have very few meaningful ‘social connections’ and that drug taking somehow fills this ‘gap’.
Drug abuse is also associated with peer pressure, particularly within youth culture, and can often lead to the taking of drugs just to ‘fit in’ with what others are doing.
Just as often people may turn to drugs because of earlier emotional trauma that has not been resolved, but as with most ‘solutions’ that seem like a good idea at the time, drug abuse almost always becomes a much bigger problem than the original ’cause’.
Psychological Therapy for Drug Abuse
Tranceform Psychology can offer a range of different psychological therapy solutions for Drug Abuse problems which you can read about below.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Drug Abuse Problems
If you’re committed to overcoming your Drug Abuse problems then we highly recommend following our Advanced Tranceformental CBT programme with Paul which is available as an Online Therapy as well as a self-directed programme.
The Tranceformental programme is a highly successful & pragmatic mental health counselling course, run over 10 sessions, that will teach you everything you need to know to understand your problem, identify how unhelpful thinking and limiting beliefs might be reinforcing the issue, and then show you how to make any changes to your unhelpful thinking styles or maladaptive safety behaviours that you may have developed as part of your coping strategies.
Our Tranceformental CBT programme is an evidence-based, research supported approach used by mental health practitioners around the World.
Teach Yourself CBT and Overcome Your Problems for only £149!
Our online CBT course has been designed to teach you the fundamental tools and techniques of clinically proven Cognitive Behavioural Therapy without having to see a therapist.
Structured over TEN, in-depth modules, this self-managed course will teach you everything you need to know to change the way you think about and experience your mental health problems without having to visit a therapist.
Click Self-Help CBT to find out more.
Alternative Therapy Options for Drug Abuse
Although our preferred form of mental health counselling for Drug Abuse issues is Tranceformental CBT we also offer alternative psychotherapies for those who might prefer a different approach.
General Counselling which is less structured but still provides a safe and non-judgmental environment to discuss issues which is therapeutic in its own right.
Free Initial Consultations for Drug Abuse
We offer all prospective clients an initial consultation to discuss your Drug Abuse problems prior to commencing any treatment plans.
The consultation is free and lasts around 50 minutes.
During this consultation we will discuss the various options that are available to you and make a considered recommendation based on your individual personal circumstances.
Initial consultations are also available as part of our online therapy service.
At TranceForm Psychology we recognise the importance of the therapeutic relationship in helping people to bring about effective change, so its important to be able to ‘meet’ to discuss our change programmes BEFORE proceeding.
Our policy is to help people make a fully balanced & considered decision about undertaking work with us, including both the financial and personal implications.
Overcome Your Mental Health difficulties with Our Online CBT Programme - From Only £299!
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is clinically proven to be effective for a range of mental health problems and can be carried out in the comfort of your own home.
Structured over TEN, in-depth modules, our advanced CBT course will teach you everything you need to know to change the way you think about and experience your problems without having to spend a fortune.
The course is available with 2, 5 or 10 sessions of clinical support in-clinic or using Zoom.
Click Tranceformental CBT to find out more.
Also available as a self-directed course that you manage yourself without interacting with a therapist for only £149.