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For Caregivers & Supporters

Dealing with Substance Use

Drugs and alcohol can become an unhealthy coping habit we use to feel better. Substances have real effects on our brain that can make stopping almost seem impossible. But it is not impossible.

Know that you are not alone, and more people are dealing with this than you think. You are not a bad person if you feel like you can’t stop. Developing a need for certain substances is a side effect from use. There are many ways to find people to help when you have made the decision to look for support.

Sometimes we develop unhealthy relationships with substances because of other things that are impacting our mental wellness. It is important that when we find help and support we are not just putting a band-aid on it. It can take some real work to figure out what is supporting our substance use. Treatment will be most beneficial when we look at our substance use and mental wellness at the same time.

Today, science has told us more than we have ever known about the way substances work on the brain. Science has also allowed us to see that substance misuse is something that can be successfully treated. Asking for help early, when you first feel like there may be a problem, is important.

When it comes to help and support for substance misuse, there are a few common treatments that you can consider. Some of the most common interventions are listed below.

Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT): Medication Assisted Treatment is a form of treatment commonly used for substance use and opioid overdose prevention. MAT uses a number of medicines that can either block the pleasure receptors in the brain, reduce our cravings for the substance, or can make us feel unpleasant if we decide to use a certain substance. It is common for this type of support to be paired with other forms of help like talk and group therapy. MAT is also a viable option to help curb the symptoms of withdrawal.

Residential Treatment: Residential treatment happens at a licensed facility and can offer you 24-hour support and care, which includes safe housing and medical attention. Residential treatment facilities use a variety of support approaches that help you learn other healthy coping habits to replace substance use.

Support Groups: Support groups allow you to be in a group setting with others who are dealing with similar issues. Support groups allow you to grow your peer network in a space that promotes long-term resilience against substance misuse. You can interact and connect with others who share similar experiences and can offer help.

Behavioral Counseling: Behavioral counseling or therapy is a support system that helps you stick to long term changes in your behaviors. Behavioral counseling keeps you engaged in your wellness journey, provide you with ways to change the attitudes and behaviors that promote substance misuse, and increase the life skills that are needed to combat stress in our everyday lives.

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