Substance use refers to the use of legal or illegal substances (like alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, opioids, sedatives) in a way that impacts the brain and results in negative consequences to an individual. Such negative consequences include neglect of important areas of one’s life (like work and school), breakdown of interpersonal and family relationships, cravings, and risky use.
A Substance Use Disorder or SUD is a mental disorder that changes an individual’s brain and behavior, resulting in that person’s inability to control their use of substances. They may try repeatedly (yet unsuccessfully) to cut down or stop using a substance. They may continue using the substance even when it puts them in grave physical danger or poses serious health risks. SUDs have symptoms ranging from mild to severe, with addiction being the most severe. SUDs include Alcohol Use Disorder, Cannabis Use Disorder, Opioid Use Disorder, etc.
Twelve step programs like Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) are great ways for people to receive support to recover from substance use and addiction, instead of trying to battle it out on their own. Non judgmental support within a community of people with a shared lived experience of substance use is a powerful way to develop positive coping skills and build resilience, stay focused and accountable. It also helps decrease feelings of shame, isolation and hopelessness that people with substance use challenges often experience.
Therapies like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Assertive Community Treatment (ACT), and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) are evidence-based clinical treatment options for substance use disorders.
Karuna therapists practice compassion and non judgment in working with people towards healing and wholeness, wherever they are in their substance use journey. Talk to one of our Karuna therapists to explore what options work best for you