Are you or someone you know struggling to get or stay sober from drugs?

Have you been drinking more than normal lately?

Have loved ones commented on your alcohol consumption?

Have you been behaving in other addictive ways that you need help with such as sex or internet addiction?

What is substance abuse?

Substance abuse, also known as drug abuse, drug addiction and substance use disorder, is a patterned use of a drug in which the user consumes the substance in amounts or with methods which are harmful to themselves or others. 

Drug addiction is a complex illness characterized by intense and, at times, uncontrollable drug craving, along with compulsive drug seeking and use that persist even in the face of devastating consequences. While the path to addiction begins with the voluntary act of taking drugs, over time a person's ability to choose not to do so becomes compromised, and seeking and consuming the drug becomes compulsive. This behavior results largely from the effects of prolonged drug exposure on brain functioning. Addiction is a brain disease that affects multiple brain circuits, including those involved in reward and motivation, learning and memory, and inhibitory control over behavior.

At DCTC, we have therapists at our Uptown Dallas, Rockwall and Allen locations that are well versed in dealing with addictions of any kind. Many of our therapists have experience working at inpatient substance abuse treatment facilities and outpatient recovery centers.

Substance Abuse Treatment

People abuse substances such as drugs, alcohol, and tobacco for varied and complicated reasons. Because drug abuse and addiction have so many dimensions and disrupt so many aspects of an individual's life, treatment is not simple. Effective treatment programs typically incorporate many components, each directed to a particular aspect of the illness and its consequences. Addiction treatment must help the individual stop using drugs, maintain a drug-free lifestyle, and achieve productive functioning in the family, at work, and in society. Because addiction is typically a chronic disease, people cannot simply stop using drugs for a few days and be cured. Most patients require long-term or repeated episodes of care to achieve the ultimate goal of sustained abstinence and recovery of their lives.

Substance Withdrawal

Many substances can bring on withdrawal, an effect caused by cessation or reduction in the amount of the substance used. Withdrawal can range from mild anxiety to seizures and hallucinations. Drug overdose may also cause death. Many substances, such as alcohol, tranquilizers, opiates, and stimulants, over time also can produce a phenomenon known as tolerance, where you must use a larger amount of the drug to produce the same level of intoxication.

Withdrawal from alcohol can cause anxiety, irregular heartbeat, tremor, seizures, and hallucinations. In its severest form, withdrawal combined with malnutrition can lead to a life-threatening condition called delirium tremens (DTs). Alcohol is the most common cause of liver failure in the US. The drug can cause heart enlargement and cancer.

Drugs and Alcohol

Alcohol: Although many people have a drink as a "pick me up," alcohol actually depresses the brain. Alcohol lessens your inhibitions, slurs speech, and decreases muscle control and coordination, and may lead to alcoholism.

Marijuana : The plant produces delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient associated with intoxication. Often, the first illegal drug people use, marijuana is associated with increased risk of progressing to more powerful and dangerous drugs such as cocaine and heroin. The risk for progressing to cocaine is 104 times higher if you have smoked marijuana at least once than if you never smoked marijuana.

Cocaine: The intensity and duration of the drug’s effects depend on how you take it. Desired effects include pleasure and increased alertness. Short-term effects also include paranoia, constriction of blood vessels leading to heart damage or stroke, irregular heartbeat, and death. severe depression and reduced energy often accompany withdrawal. Both short- and long-term use of cocaine has been associated with damage to the heart, the brain, the lung, and the kidneys.

Heroin: Effects of heroin intoxication include drowsiness, pleasure, and slowed breathing. Withdrawal can be intense and can include vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, confusion, aches, and sweating. Overdose may result in death from respiratory arrest (stopping breathing). Because heroin is usually injected, often with dirty needles, use of the drug can trigger other health complications including destruction of your heart valves, HIV/AIDS, infections,tetanus, and botulism.

Methamphetamines: a powerful stimulant that increases alertness, decreases appetite, and gives a sensation of pleasure. It shares many of the same toxic effects as cocaine-heart attacks, dangerously high blood pressure, and stroke. Withdrawal often causes depression, abdominal cramps, and increased appetite. Other long-term effects include paranoia, hallucinations, weight loss, destruction of teeth, and heart damage.

Factors That Increase The Likelihood of Addiction

Use and abuse of substances such as cigarettes, alcohol, and illegal drugs may begin in childhood or the teen years. Certain risk factors may increase someone's likelihood to abuse substances.

  • Factors within a family that influence a child's early development have been shown to be related to increased risk of drug abuse
  • Chaotic home environment
  • Genetic risks (drug or alcohol abuse sometimes can run in families)
  • Lack of nurturing and parental attachment
  • Factors related to a child’s socialization outside the family may also increase risk of drug abuse
  • Inappropriately aggressive or shy behavior in the classroom
  • Poor social coping skills
  • Poor school performance
  • Association with a deviant peer group
  • Perception of approval of drug use behavior

Substance Abuse Symptoms

Friends and family may be among the first to recognize the signs of substance abuse. Early recognition increases chances for successful treatment. Signs to watch for include the following:

  • Giving up past activities such as sports, homework, or hanging out with new friends
  • Declining grades
  • Aggressiveness and irritability
  • Forgetfulness
  • Disappearing money or valuables
  • Feeling rundown, hopeless, depressed, or even suicidal
  • Sounding selfish and not caring about others
  • Use of room deodorizers and incense
  • Paraphernalia such as baggies, small boxes, pipes, and rolling paper
  • Getting drunk or high on drugs on a regular basis
  • Lying, particularly about how much alcohol or other drugs he or she is using
  • Avoiding friends or family in order to get drunk or high
  • Planning drinking in advance, hiding alcohol, drinking or using other drugs alone
  • Having to drink more to get the same high
  • Believing that in order to have fun you need to drink or use other drugs
  • Frequent hangovers
  • Pressuring others to drink or use other drugs
  • Taking risks, including sexual risks
  • Having "blackouts"-forgetting what he or she did the night before
  • Constantly talking about drinking or using other drugs
  • Getting in trouble with the law
  • Drinking and driving
  • Suspension from school or work for an alcohol or drug-related incident

Principles of Effective Treatment

Behavioral approaches help engage people in drug abuse treatment, provide incentives for them to remain abstinent, modify their attitudes and behaviors related to drug abuse and increase their life skills to handle stressful circumstances and environmental cues that may trigger intense craving for drugs and prompt another cycle of compulsive abuse. 

Scientific research since the mid–1970s shows that treatment can help patients addicted to drugs stop using, avoid relapse, and successfully recover their lives. Some of the most important factors in effective substance abuse treatment are:

  • Being aware that addiction is a complex but treatable disease that affects brain function and behavior
  • No single treatment is appropriate for everyone
  • Effective treatment attends to multiple needs of the individual, not just his or her drug abuse
  • Remaining in treatment for an adequate period of time is critical
  • Counseling—individual and/or group—and other behavioral therapies are the most commonly used forms of drug abuse treatment
  • Medications are an important element of treatment for many patients, especially when combined with counseling and other behavioral therapies
  • An individual's treatment and services plan must be assessed continually and modified as necessary to ensure that it meets his or her changing needs
  • Many drug–addicted individuals also have other mental disorders
  • Medically assisted detoxification is only the first stage of addiction treatment and by itself does little to change long–term drug abuse
  • Treatment does not need to be voluntary to be effective
  • Drug use during treatment must be monitored continuously, as lapses during treatment do occur

Maybe part of you is ready for treatment, but you still have questions or concerns.

WILL I HAVE TO TAKE MEDICATION?

Medication for anxiety, depression and other disorders are considered and recommended on a case by case basis. Medication is not for everyone but it can be helpful for those who need some immediate relief while we work on a long term solution in therapy. If you aren't comfortable taking medication, therapy can still be incredibly effective.

WILL I HAVE TO GO FAR FOR TREATMENT?

No, you don't have to do anything you don't want to.  A great deal of progress can be accomplished with outpatient treatment near your home and not everyone requires long term, inpatient treatment to attain sobriety. We may make suggestions or explore options with you but our goal is to help you get sober and maintain sobriety without missing work or leaving your family.

READY TO SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT FOR EVALUATION?

If you are ready to schedule an appointment, please click the "schedule your appointment" button below and fill out the requested information. If you would like a quote on the cost of therapy for you if using your insurance or paying privately, please fill out that form or email us at Appointment@DallasCTC.com. You may also call (682) 999-8201.