People use drugs and alcohol for many reasons. They may experiment or use just for fun, to relax, or to cope with emotions such as stress, depression, or anxiety.
When drug or alcohol use turns from an occasional recreational activity into a habit that causes problems in a person’s day-to-day life, it may become a substance abuse or an addiction.
What kinds of problems?
At home, in school, at work, or in relationships with the people we love, addiction may lead to:
If you or somebody you know have concerns about the use of any substance illegal or prescribed it is recommended that you speak to your Doctor.
Other places in Southport that can provide useful information are:
The HALT Team
The Life Rooms
Some people think addiction is about a lack of willpower — that someone with a drinking or drug problem simply doesn’t want to get better and could easily quit if they really tried. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Addiction is far more complex and less forgiving than many people realize. Addiction creates a stronghold on our brains in several ways:
FACT 1: Our pesky brains make it harder to quit. Anyone who says ending an addiction is easy is very mistaken. Long-term use of drugs or alcohol changes how the brain communicates with the body. Eventually the brain begins to convince the body that it needs the substance to continue or produce pleasure or happiness — making it extremely difficult to quit through willpower alone.
FACT 2: Addiction is an illness, not a life sentence. Addiction can be treated and — if it’s addressed early enough — reversed through various forms of therapy including counselling, medication, mindfulness, and exercise.
FACT 3: You don’t have to wait until you hit rock bottom to get help. There is no magic formula for treating addiction, but the earlier someone can begin the recovery process the better. Addictions only grow stronger with time.
FACT 4: The risk of developing an addiction to alcohol or drugs varies from person to person. Factors such as genetics, mental and physical health, and your environment as a child and in adulthood can increase your risk for addiction and your ability to overcome it.
FACT 5: Recovery is a journey, not a destination. Recovery is a lifelong process that has its challenges. Relapsing doesn’t mean you should give up. It means you may need to adjust your approach to treatment, the people you surround yourself with, or even your physical environment. If a relapse occurs, the best thing you can do is stay positive and move forward, taking steps to get back to a sober, healthy place.
FACT 6: The terms “addict,” “alcoholic,” and “alcoholism” are falling out of favour. It has taken centuries of study to understand the complexities of addiction. As a result, the conversations and classifications around addiction continue to evolve. People who have issues with addiction are now widely referred to as having a substance use disorder, as opposed to being considered an “addict” or “alcoholic” or having issues with “alcoholism” — terms that have been discredited by many researchers and clinicians alike.
Some people are at greater risk of addiction than others because of the following factors: