What is substance misuse?
Alcohol, drugs and cigarettes are all forms of substances that are commonly used to alter our states of mind. Addiction is when our need for these substances rules our lives and influences our behaviour.
What causes substance misuse?
Alcohol is the most common substance misused within our population. Alcohol can be used to reduce inhibitions or bolster confidence in social settings. It can also be used to mask anxiety or “drown sorrows”. Excessive drinking can however be a symptom of depression and cause us to act in ways that are out of character and lead to distress for e.g. unwanted sexual encounters or spending too much money.
Ways to manage substance misuse?
- Acknowledge your problem with the substances you are misusing and realise the effect they are having on your life
- Try to imagine what your life would be like if you had more control and were not so reliant on alcohol, drugs or cigarettes. Asses how much you want your life to change and what practical lifestyle changes you will need to make to facilitate the change
- Keep a diary of your drinking, smoking or drug habit for a couple of weeks. Begin to assess the relationship you have with the substance you are misusing
- Begin recovery by reducing the amount of alcohol drugs or cigarettes you are using. Asses times when it may be more difficult than others to do this or times when you will be tempted to overuse. Work out strategies for overcoming difficulties you may encounter