Substance Use Disorder


"Each day is a new life. Seize it. Live it." David Guy Powers

Substance use disorder is known to be the use of a substance like depressants that creates an intoxication in which a person withdrawals from, abuses it or becomes dependent on it (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2014).

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Did You Know????

Depressants are not just illegal street drugs!!! Fact: They are prescribed medications as well as alcohol that can be purchased over the counter, and these depressants affect how the central nervous system performs (CDC, n.d.). In most cases depressants are prescribed to help people relax and sleep by temporarily slowing down the normal performance of the brain and central nervous system, but heavy doses can be fatal (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2014).

Types of Depressants

Barbiturates > When prescribed it’s used for sleeping and anxiety.

v Heavy doses causes’ low blood pressure, shallow breathing, fatigue, fever, irritability and seizures, overdose includes drowsiness, slurred speech and loss of function.

Alcohol > Beer wine and liquor

v Acts like a psychoactive drug, weakening awareness and slows down reflexes, alcohol poisoning happens when the body has too much alcohol in the blood stream interfering with “life-support functions”, that begin to shut down affecting breathing, heart rate and temperature (NIAAA, n.d.). Medical attention is needed when a person is unconscious and passes out because their gag reflexes are affected, that person could choke on their own vomit causing “death by asphyxiation”, should a person survive brain damage may occur (NIAAA, n.d.).

Benzodiazepine > When prescribed it’s used to treat anxiety, alcohol detox, muscle spasm and in combination with other medicines for seizure disorders also known as Xanax, Ativan and valium.

v This is a highly addictive drug, a person has lack of coordination, slurred speech, confusion and disorientation, and heavy doses can be fatal (CDC, n.d.).

Possible Causes for Substance Use Disorder

Theories such as biological factors describing “pleasure paths” in the brain and by snorting, smoking or injecting drugs creating a quick “more intense reaction” because all substances prescribed, illegal or over the counter have “powerful effects” on the brain (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2014). Psychological factors begin as young as kindergarten when children learn from modeling the behaviors of others drinking especially, by learning the negative behaviors of drinking maladaptive behaviors are passed down (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2014). Sociocultural factors of chronic stress becomes more common with poverty, abused women and an adolescent experiencing their families negative and violent behavior reinforces substance use (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2014). Gender differences in past years alcohol use seemed to be more acceptable in males because it wasn’t proper for a women to drink like a man, but that has changed over time, women tend to not have the personality traits, risks factors and are less likely to use alcohol to relieve stress (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2014).

Treatment Options

Due to the challenging nature of addiction it’s important to focus on biological treatment by weaning a person from their addiction in a safe way and reducing the addiction, along with psychosocial treatment of behavioral classical conditioning) and cognitive (being aware of their triggers and patterns of behavior) (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2014). Follow up care is very important in preventing relapses and support groups such as AA and NA have been effective over the years.

"Fall seven times, stand up eight."

~ Japanese Proverb

Common Myths about Addiction

v Using a substance one time isn’t harmful but unknown substances as well as experimenting can be deadly.

v Being able to quit whenever you want to is not as easy for a person who has the addiction due to the changes in brain function.

v Drug addiction is a character flaw but everyone has their own way of changing the brain function but it is a disease (Leshner, n.d.).

v Recovery is not effective unless you are willing, but no one is willing, it’s usually other influences that urge a person to seek help (Leshner, n.d.).

Find Help it’s a call or click away!!

v313-831-5550 or

v818-773-9999 ext 771 or

Counseling preparations and advice

Recovery can be lengthy and stressful (All about counseling, n.d.). Even though rehab may be difficult it is achievable with courage, strength and a strong mind.

"When you feel like giving up, remember why you held on for so long in the first place."

~ Unknown


All about counseling, (n.d.). Addiction Rehab Center. Retrieved from http://

CDC, (n.d.). Commonly used drugs. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from http://

Leshner, A. I. (n.d.). “Exploring myths about drug abuse”. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Retrieved from http://

NIAAA, (n.d.). Alcohol overdose: The dangers of drinking too much. National Institute on alcohol abuse and alcoholism. Retrieved from › …

Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (2014). Abnormal psychology (6th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.