Trying to figure out how to honor your choice for sobriety AND enjoy life? Juggling celebrations, loneliness, and the day to day that used to be clouded by alcohol or drugs?
Or are you are noticing yourself reach for those pills more often rather than every now and then? Are you drinking more and more and suddenly find yourself wondering if it is still fun or starting to get out of control?
RAFT Counseling Partners with You for Support with Addictions
The use of alcohol and drugs can sometimes turn in to dependence and addiction. These are known as substance use disorders and can be complex problems. People with these disorders were once thought to have a character defect or moral weakness. Although hard to believe, some people mistakenly even still believe that. However, most scientists and medical researchers now consider dependence on alcohol or drugs to be a long-term illness, like asthma, hypertension (high blood pressure), or diabetes. Most people who drink alcohol drink very little, and many people can stop taking drugs without a struggle. However, some people develop a substance use disorder—use of alcohol or drugs that is compulsive or dangerous (or both).
Why Do Some People Develop a Problem but Others Don’t?
Substance use disorder is an illness that can affect anyone: rich or poor, male or female, employed or unemployed, young or old, and any race or ethnicity. Nobody knows for sure exactly what causes it, but the chance of developing a substance use disorder depends partly on genetics— biological traits passed down through families. A person’s environment, psychological traits, and stress level also play major roles by contributing to the use of alcohol or drugs. Researchers have found that using drugs for a long time changes the brain in important, long-lasting ways. It is as if a switch in the brain turned on at some point. This point is different for every person, but when this switch turns 3 on, the person crosses an invisible line and becomes dependent on the substance. People who start using drugs or alcohol early in life run a greater risk of crossing this line and becoming dependent. These changes in the brain remain long after a person stops using drugs or drinking alcohol.
What Are the Symptoms of Substance Use Disorders?
One of the most important signs of substance addiction or dependence is continued use of drugs or alcohol despite experiencing the serious negative consequences of heavy drug or alcohol use. Sometimes, a person will blame other people or circumstances for his or her problems. RAFT therapists are here to help you in taking an honest look at the difficulties that have resulted from your use of drugs or alcohol.
Does your partner blame their boss for being incompetent and lazy after being fired? They might be angry when asked to consider the multiple pills they take to get through the day and the water bottle filled with alcohol that they keep hidden under the desk.
Or maybe your daughter wants to point to rainy streets and fog after getting a ticket for driving under the influence? She might be scared to consider the several drinks she has routinely before getting behind the wheel.
Perhaps your loved one has even blamed you. People with this illness really may believe that they drink normally or that “everyone” takes drugs. These false beliefs are called denial, and denial is part of the process of recovery.
Physical dependence or withdrawal symptoms
In some cases when alcohol or drug use is stopped, a person may experience withdrawal symptoms from a physical need for the substance. Withdrawal symptoms differ depending on the drug, but they may include nausea, sweating, shakiness, and extreme anxiety. The person may try to relieve these symptoms by taking either more of the same or a similar substance.
Other important symptoms of substance use disorders include:
RAFT offers a Safe Space for You and Your Family
Therapists at RAFT understand the struggles that come along with substance abuse and addiction and offer a judgment free environment for you or your loved ones to address issues surrounding substance abuse and/or addiction. We know that substance abuse and/or addiction is a family disease and often co-occurring with mental health struggles for both the individual and their family members.
We can partner with you to take an honest look at the impact of alcohol and drugs on your life. Together we can reduce substance use or the use of alcohol, and to consider if things really are in your control. As part of your goals, our compassionate counselors can support you in achieving a substance free lifestyle.
In our Parker office, and via video therapy sessions, RAFT counselors can support you in reaching your goals and maximizing your potential, without the use of drugs and alcohol. If you are in recovery, we can offer support in preventing or reducing the frequency and severity of relapse.
Addictions can look many different ways and we are here to help. Contact us today if you are concerned about your use, or concerned about your loved one and need a safe space to start. We would be honored to collaborate with you in taking the next steps towards improving your life. You can access our services in person or virtually by utilizing online therapy in Colorado. Reach out today to get started!