What Is Substance Abuse?

Substance abuse refers to the harmful or unsafe use of alcohol, drugs, and/or other mind-altering substances such as opioids that typically results in recurring negative consequences. These consequences can range from damaged relationships and poor job/academic performance to serious bodily injury as a result of drug withdrawal or legal issues.

There is no single direct cause of substance abuse. Many researchers and mental health professionals agree that substance abuse likely stems from a combination of hereditary, environmental, psychological, and social factors. For instance, the risk of substance abuse is generally higher in people who have family members with substance abuse or addiction issues, but not everyone may be affected by genetics.

Many people are triggered by circumstances or stressors stemming from work, school, relationships, culture, or their surroundings. Sometimes, other mental health conditions like depression or anxiety can contribute to substance abuse when an individual attempts to cope with difficult feelings and experiences through using drugs and/or alcohol.

Signs and Symptoms of Substance Abuse

Drug or alcohol abuse can be hard to identify, even for the individual experiencing it first-hand. Sometimes close family and friends are also unaware that their loved one is struggling with substance abuse. If you’re concerned that you or someone you love may have a problem with addiction to drugs, alcohol, and other illicit substances, several common warning signs to look for include:

  • Strained or damaged relationships
  • Diminishing performance at school or work
  • Loss of interest in other activities
  • Drinking or using drugs on a regular basis, perhaps with increasing frequency and amounts used
  • Drinking alone
  • Spending less time with others in order to drink or get high
  • Increased risk-taking or impulsivity
  • Depression
  • Blackouts or short-term memory loss after drinking/using drugs

How Can a Substance Abuse Counselor Treat Addiction?

Counseling for substance abuse is helpful for those who are dealing with an addiction to drugs or alcohol. Identifying the stressors in life that cause the need for the dependence on drugs is an important step towards working to a cleaner life. While simply treating the addiction through a detox program is enough to stop the effects for some time, this can ultimately lead to relapse if these life events are not addressed.

A substance abuse counselor works alongside you to identify these specific moments that could have triggered the need to use drugs. These can include sudden life stresses such as losing a job, losing a loved one, or entering a social network which encourages the use of illicit substances. Counselors that provide treatment for drug and alcohol abuse are able to work alongside you once they have been identified to find the path and goals you wish to achieve.

Counseling for Substance Abuse in Austin

Louis Laves-Webb, LCSW, LPC-S and Associates provide counseling and treatment for those who are dealing with addiction and substance abuse. We are qualified to conduct full drug and alcohol assessments while offering addiction counseling for those interested.

Our approach is collaborative and supportive, creating a safe, non-judgemental setting for you to reflect on your experiences while offering our insights. Our goal is to help you make the changes you desire in life and ultimately reach a better understanding of yourself. Together, we can examine any underlying issues and work to cope with them in a healthy, constructive way.

Through counseling for substance abuse and addiction, you can equip yourself with new tools for managing your challenges and caring for yourself.

Get on the path to recovery