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Substance Use, Misuse, and Abuse

Substance use, misuse, and abuse is a well researched topic and a common concern for many people inside and outside of therapy.

In this context a substance is something that in ingested into the body that then has an effect on the body. In this broad sense a substance can caffeine and nicotine at one end of the spectrum and at the other end of the spectrum substance can be "hard" drugs like heroine, cocaine, and methamphetamines as well as alcohol.   

We are surrounded and inundated with substance use. Substance use can also be an important part of a culture and sometimes within a culture there can be a lot of motivation to use a substance such as with advertising. 

It is with this view that it can be seen that we have a complicated relationship with substances. There can be many reasons an individual, couple, family, or group can look to therapy to help them have better and more healthy relationships with substances at both ends of the spectrum.

Therapy can be one way that individuals and their support group are able to have a better relationship with a substance. Therapy can offer the opportunity for a person to understand substance misuse and abuse and move toward more healthy substance use. Or, move toward eliminating a substance all together such as with smoking cessation.

In other ways therapy is a part of a strategy for an individual with their support to have a better relationship with a substance or substances.

This can be especially important when there is more chemical dependency that is more present in "hard" substance use. 

This can mean that an individual needs medical support to overcome their chemical dependency, often referred to as a detox, to be then to be best able to enter therapy to make meaningful and long lasting changes. 

If at all possible it is important to work with and involve a person's support, most often family and friends, to have significant change in a negative relationship with a substance.

It is also important to understand that a person is much more than a substance and there are many other aspects that are important to focus on. Sometimes, for a person to fully have a healthy relationship with substance use they need to move communities, develop a new circle of friends, seek education or employment, and meet other basic needs. 

There are also times when a person is able to work toward having a better relationship with a substance or eliminate it completely, life circumstances change or a person faces new challenges, and they reinstatute substance use, misuse, and/or abuse that is unhealthy.

It is then that a person needs to seek additional support to reinstate healthy living patterns. A person may need to undergo this process many times to get the long lasting change that they need that can sometimes burn out support for the person and complicate relationships. 

It is with these considerations that it can be seen that substance use, misuse, and abuse is a complicated issue. 

Therapy can be useful for the person struggling with substances use, misuse, or abuse and their support group to best understand the way to move forward and toward overall positive health. 

This goal can take time to achieve, significant resources, and many sources of support for a person to be successful. 

If you or someone you know would like to have a different relationship with a substance please call or email and see how we can help. 

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