Substance Abuse


What are Depressants?

Depressants slow down or 'depress' the activity of the brain. Because of this they are referred to as 'downers'. Prescription drugs that are used to treat mental illnesses, depression & anxiety such as Xanax, Klonopin, Amytal, Valium, Nembutal are all examples of Depressants (Foundation for Drug Free World, 2014, para. 1). The most well known and abused depressant is Alcohol.
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What is Substance Abuse & Addiction

Drug Abuse is compulsive drug use. Abuse and addiction occurs when the need for the drug is most important to you and effects your life socially, at work and school. You no longer have the ability to stop and it is now a physical and psychological need. Repeated use alters the way the brain looks & functions (HelpGuide, n.d., para. 4) therefore creating an addiction to the drug or alcohol needing more and more often.

What Causes Abuse & Addiction

  • Genes - Family History of Addiction
  • Mental Health - Mental Disorders
  • Family & Social Environment - History of Abuse & Neglect

(HelpGuide, n.d., para. 4)

Treatments Available

Treatment should be tailored to the needs of the individual and a thorough assessment should be done prior to treatment.

  • Detox
  • Counseling
  • Behavioral Therapies
  • Group Programs - 12 Step Programs


What to look for in a Therapist

  • Master's Degree
  • Certified per States Licensure Laws
  • National Counselor's Exam
  • Examination of Master Addiction Counselors
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Trust
  • Communication
  • Flexibility

(Counselor - License, 2014, paras 8-10)

Myths and Misconceptions

  • You can't force someone into treatment - not true, they do not have to hit rock bottom first. Offer them help and guidance. Let them know there is help and they are not alone.
  • Why bother, treatment didn't work before it won't work this time - not true, maybe you didn't find the right fit in a therapist and it doesn't matter how many times you seek treatment, keep trying!
  • There's nothing you can do about your illness - not true, it is not a weakness, it is a legitimate illness and there is help.
  • You can stop anytime you want - not true, not for everyone, and if you have progressed to the point of addiction and abuse you can't stop without help.



The Alcohol & Drug Addiction Resource Center: 800-390-4056

Alcohol Abuse and Crisis Intervention: 800-234-0246

Alcohol and Drug Abuse Helpline and Treatment: 800-234-0420

Alcohol Hotline Support & Information: 800-331-2900


Counselor - License. (2014). What are Addiction Counselors? Retrieved from:

Foundation for Drug Free World. (2014). Depressants. Retrieved from:

Help Guide. (n.d.). Drug Abuse and Addiction. Retrieved from: