What is Substance Use Disorder?
Lots of us relax and the end of the day with a glass of wine or celebrate a special occasion with a champagne toast. But sometimes people go too far, drinking more or more often than they intended, or hoping that drinking will solve problems that it really just makes worse. Similarly, the use of illegal drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamine can be problematic not just because their use is against the law. Even using prescription drugs, especially addictive ones like Xanax, Vicodin, OxyContin and Adderall, can get out of hand.
When does use cross over into abuse? According to the DSM-5, Substance Use Disorders (formerly called substance abuse) are a “problematic pattern of substance use leading to clinically significant impairment or distress." What does this mean? Not going to work because you were hung over. Losing your job. Forgetting to show up at grandma's birthday party because you were high. Never being able to stay in a relationship. Legal problems. DUIs. Choosing drugs or alcohol over food, your home, your family.
Substance use disorders exist on a scale of mild to severe, with mild being only 2-3 symptoms such as cravings to use or continuing to use despite social problems. When people begin to experience tolerance, withdrawal, or unpleasant mental and physical side effects when they don't use, they have usually crossed over into a Severe Substance Use Disorder. People who meet criteria for substance use disorders may express a desire to cut down or regulate their use, but end up using more and for longer than they intended. It can feel like drugs or alcohol has taken over their life, as so much time is spent getting, using, or recovering from use. They may even cut down on other activities, like having a social life, in favor of using the substance. In some people the dependence is so strong that they keep on using even though they know that the drug is causing mental or physical problems, such as exacerbating existing medical conditions or causing depression.
Honesty is the first step to healing. Acceptance is the first step to being able to make lasting, meaningful changes.
In individual therapy and Finding Om Yoga & Therapy, Debby works to help people become aware of their negative patterns and give them mental and physical skills to use instead of substances. Clients report that skills help them deal with cravings, enhance their mental and physical health, improve their relationships and make them feel better in numerous ways.