Substance abuse and addiction

Very often, these problems start out because certain substances, for example, alcohol, make us feel good and better able to participate socially. For most people, that is the extent of it. Unfortunately, for some, there are contributory factors and circumstances that draw them into a spiral of increasing use that grows into abuse and addiction. These contributory factors may have to do with growing up in circumstances where substance abuse was the norm, very often as an antidote to some unresolved pain or adversity. In any event, the highs produced by stimulants, or the calming effects of depressants and opioids, are experienced as preferable to the psychological pain that the person perceives as being the reality, the lived experience, of their world, leading them to use more and more of the substance. The consequences can devastate the person’s psychological wellbeing, their relationships and physical health. Psychotherapy is usually part of the person’s journey towards recovery, although, often, it is part of a more intensive, in-patient, programme. In private therapy, substance abuse and addiction usually present in the context of other problems and the person’s growing relationship with, and need for, the substance.