Substance Use

Substance use is not always unhealthy. Some use of alcohol in adulthood is certainly understandable. But when that use becomes uncontrolled or involves illegal or dangerous drugs, you face development of a substance use disorder. This substance abuse often occurs as self-medication of undiagnosed mental health symptoms. For your overall well-being and to stop the substance abuse, you need to see an integrative psychiatrist.

Use of drugs or alcohol turns into abuse when you use the substances in a manner in which they are not intended, use more than prescribed or knowingly take illicit drugs. According to leading health experts, substance abuse occurs when repeated use causes any of the following problems:

  • Disabilities
  • Unmet responsibilities
  • Health problems
  • Lost or impaired control
  • Risky behaviors
  • Social problems

If you frequently suffer hangovers, miss work, skip school, lose friends or use more of your substances than intended, you possibly suffer a substance use disorder.

Is Recreational Substance Use Actually Abuse?

Casual, recreational use of any drug can cause problems. Even marijuana can have harmful physical, mental and psychomotor effects, particularly when frequently used. The National Institute on Drug Abuse also reports that users of this drug risk psychological addiction. In fact, they cite one in seven users being dependent on the drug.

In America, the most frequently abused illegal substances are:

  • Marijuana
  • Methamphetamine
  • Cocaine
  • Hallucinogens
  • Ecstasy or “Molly”
  • Heroin

Although most people use alcohol, prescription medication or over-the-counter drugs, some substance use involves those that are not really even drugs. Examples include inhalants, solvents, cigarettes and caffeine. Properly used, these substances prove predictable. When abused or overused, they can cause significant harm and even death. Even more dangerous are synthetic drugs like bath salts, synthetic marijuana or anabolic steroids.

Is My Substance Use Bad Enough To Necessitate Getting Help?

It is hard to be actively engaged in substance use on a regular basis and be objective about your problem, at the same time. Anytime you experience negative effects of your behaviors, whether because of using substances or a mental health problem, you need treatment. After accepting this truth, you already have yourself on the right path. Hence you only have to take steps forward to put your problems behind you.

Unfortunately, only one in ten people needing help for substance use or dependency actually get this help, according to SAMHSA’s 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

Many people put off treatment because they have yet to hit “rock bottom.” But the reality is that anytime you question your own behavior, it is a good time to seek help. This is particularly true, when it comes to use of opioids, heroin or other deadly substances.

The eleven criteria used in evaluating your substance abuse as mild, moderate or severe include:

  • Lack of control
  • Desire to quit but unable
  • Spending a lot of time trying to get the substance
  • Cravings
  • Lack of responsibility
  • Problems with relationships
  • Loss of interest
  • Dangerous use
  • Worsening situations
  • Tolerance
  • Withdrawal from dependency

The more of these criteria you meet, the more serious your substance use disorder. But even if only one or two of these issues exist in your use and you feel concerned about your future, you still need to talk to your mental health provider.

Using Substances For Self-Medication

A significant number of people who overuse or abuse substances actually do so to self-medicate an undiagnosed or untreated mental health disorder. In fact, reasons for using drugs or alcohol include:

When these co-occurring conditions exist with substance abuse, the two pair as part of a dual diagnosis disorder. For a dual diagnosis, you need treatment for both of your conditions at the same time. Only by treating both can you enjoy lasting, healthy recovery.

Outpatient Substance Use Treatment In Raleigh, NC

MedPsych Integrated in Raleigh, NC provides outpatient treatment for people struggling with substance abuse. If you suffer a dual diagnosis disorder, we also treat your mental health condition at the same time.

We provide integrative psychiatric care, meaning our primary objective is to help you achieve whole-person wellness. To meet this goal, we start treatment with a comprehensive evaluation including consideration of both your physical and mental health. After a full understanding of your brain chemistry, underlying health conditions, and other aspects of your being, do we make a diagnosis. We also use that information to develop a fully individualized integrative psychiatry-based treatment plan.

Your diagnosis and treatment at MedPsych Integrated include:

Call MedPsych Integrated to schedule your first visit. Call us at 919-582-7272 today