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addiction substance abusePeople often use the terms "substance abuse" and "addiction" interchangeably. This is an incorrect use of these terms. Substance abuse and addiction are markedly different things. However, there is confusion over when to use them because they can be used to describe one condition. They can share some of the same facets but are not identical to one another. The obvious difference is that one refers to the misuse of substances that one ingests while the other refers to the misuse of anything that gives the person pleasure. Substance abuse involves overusing a substance more heavily than it is intended to be used and addiction involves overusing anything pleasurable to the point that it is a problem.

Substance abuse may overlap with addiction, but it is its own condition. A person can be a substance abuser without being an addict because a substance abuser does not need to have a dependency on the substance they are abusing. They are simply being irresponsible with the substance. The condition known as substance abuse is much more complex than simply "bad behavior," however. Substance abuse has deep roots in psychological, environmental and biological problems.

Addiction can be for a substance or a process, such as sex or gambling. An addict is a substance abuser when their addiction is to a substance because they fit the definition of a substance abuser. However, if they are genuinely addicted to the substance, that is to say they have a physical and / or emotional dependency to it, they will be referred to as an addict. Psychologically speaking, addiction precedes substance abuse.

This is not to say that addiction is more serious than substance abuse. Dangerous substance abuse, such as binge drinking, frequently results in the loss of life, making it a serious and deadly condition that should be treated urgently once it is discovered. Both addiction and substance abuse should receive intensive treatment to prevent them from ruining the person's life that they are affecting. Addiction and substance abuse require work and dedication in order to leave behind, but with the help of mental and medical professionals, it can be accomplished.

substance abuse underlying causeSubstance abuse problems never flourish simply because a person enjoys a particular substance. Substance abuse flourishes when a person is not mentally healthy enough to take care of themselves. Everyone enjoys certain substances that are meant to be moderated. The trouble is there are those of us who are unable to moderate their intake of these substances and begin to self destruct by constantly pursuing them. This problem has roots in a person's psyche and a number of factors may contribute to them, such as environmental and psychological factors.

Possible environmental factors that contribute to a person's substance abuse problem may include other family members who abuse substances, romantic involvement with a substance abuser or life stress that is pressing the person to find an escape. Environmental factors are ones that present elements that are out of the substance abuser's control. If a person does not know how to properly cope with negative environmental influences, they may respond with poor decision making or mentally unhealthy behavior. This can include escape into substance abuse.

Another common cause of a substance abuse problem is biological or genetic factors. These are the kind that have to do with a person's physical chemical make up, which is out of their control. For example, the condition called poly-cystic ovary is a hormone condition that affects many women. Some of its by-products are depression and chronic overeating, which can put a woman at a much higher risk of a co-occurring disorder between mental problems and food addiction. Many people do not realize how many biological conditions affect a person's mental health and substance habits.

Substance abuse problems are hard on everyone, particularly the person abusing the substance and those who care about them, but compassion is essential to understanding a substance abuse problem. There is more than recklessness taking place inside the substance abuser. They may be much less in control of their behavior than other people realize. If someone in your life is abusing a substance, do not turn a blind eye to them or judge them. Seek professional substance abuse counseling for them and intervene into their potentially dangerous behavior.

quality addiction treatment centerAddiction and substance abuse are very serious conditions that can have profound negative effects on a person's life. As soon as a person is able, they should seek addiction and substance abuse treatment through a reputable treatment center, such as a Vancouver rehab or a Calgary detox center. There are many treatment facilities available to choose from, and narrowing the choices down can be difficult. When making a final selection in treatment facilities, one should consider the following aspects:

  • Does the treatment facility offer an initial consultation? Every treatment facility should offer representatives to meet with you, discuss your potential treatment plans and answer any questions that you have. A treatment center should be transparent about its operations and communicate clearly with potential clients about what they can expect and what will be expected from them.
  • Are you allowed to tour the treatment facility? A quality addiction treatment center will provide potential clients with tours so that they can see for themselves what kind of environment they will be living in. This can help you immensely in your decision to stay there or not. You will be able to see the cleanliness, professionalism and environment for yourself to assess whether or not it is suitable to you.
  • Does the treatment facility make an operating license or a record of success available to you? A highly professional addiction treatment center will be licensed, or if they are not, they will keep record of their success stories to present to potential clients to give them objective statistics on how successful their program is.
  • Are the treatment programs tailored to the client's needs? The most important thing an addiction treatment facility can offer its clients is a program that is customized to their needs. Every case of addiction or substance abuse is unique and clients require their exercises, counseling and recreation to be suited to them. A treatment program that is customized around each client can make a huge difference in the client's success.


substance abuse counselorWhen a person cannot find their way out of substance abuse, they require the services of a professional substance abuse counselor. This may be the only treatment a person receives if their substance abuse is manageable, or it may be part of a substance abuse rehabilitation plan in more extreme cases of substance abuse. A counselor who specializes in substance abuse is highly proficient in their counseling emphasis. They are trained to respectfully probe their clients to discover the underlying causes of their substance abuse and then help them create a plan for recovery by practicing mentally healthy lifestyle choices.

The first thing a counselor does when they are assessing a new client is ask them questions and get them to talk about themselves. A substance abuse counselor cannot assess why their client is abusing substances unless they have a clear picture of their lifestyle, their circumstances and their past. They do not ask invasive questions or guide their client's responses, but simply point them in the direction of what to discuss and reveal. Substance abuse counselors are trained to interpret their client's behaviors, thought processes, actions and statements to gain an understanding of why they abuse substances.

The substance abuse counselor then applies their understanding of their client to a recovery plan for them. Every person's recovery plan is individualized to meet their unique needs. This is where the counselor's training and expertise is most valuable. The counselor identifies the harmful patterns that their client has been perpetuating and uses their knowledge to advise how they can reverse them. A path of recovery is laid out through mental exercises, positive self talk and goal setting, which the client will embark on with the support of their counselor. Mental health solutions are not common sense, and the advice of an expert can mean the difference between substance abuse recovery and substance abuse relapse. If you are struggling with a substance abuse problem and you do not know where to start in your recovery, seek the help of a professional substance abuse counselor to begin formulating your treatment plan.

quality substance abuse treatmentRealizing that you need substance abuse treatment is always a difficult awakening. Admitting that you need help to yourself and to others makes a person feel vulnerable. However, there is nothing to fear, as excellent quality substance abuse treatment is available to you. Throughout North America, there are a number of substance abuse treatment facilities that are highly experienced in treating cases of substance abuse. Inpatient rehab is the most effective method for severe substance abuse cases, and there are many other treatment options available for individuals who have less severe cases of substance abuse.

Good quality substance abuse treatment is accessible, but it is important to know how to be selective about which facility to choose. There are well run treatment centers and less reputable treatment centers. The well run centers will have more staff people than clients. This ensures that clients get the individual attention that they need. Treatment material should be organized around your personal mental health needs. The treatment program should offer both individual counseling and group therapy to address personal issues as well as common issues. Clients should have limited access to the outside world, but should also be able gain permission to participate in outside events and see members of their support system. The meal plans should be nutritious and balanced, and an exercise regimen should be implemented. The center should offer the clients ongoing access to recovery resources, such as counseling, support groups, sponsors and meetings.

Substance abuse treatment is an investment in your future, so choose your treatment plan wisely. Do not settle for a program that does not offer you the individualized care that you require for a successful recovery. Some substance abuse treatment facilities have inadequate operating budgets and most of the attention to detail slips through the crack due to under-staffing and over booking of clients. Make sure that the rehab you select is concerned for you as a person and is willing to suit your treatment plan to your personal needs.