Substance Abuse

There is a difference between Addiction and Substance Abuse. While many people may abuse alcohol/drugs or even an activity, this does not necessarily mean they are addicted. Consider the guy who stops into a bar on the way home from work two or three times a month and has a couple of drinks. He decides to drive home knowing full well that he shouldn’t and risks getting pulled over and loosing his license or even worse, causing an accident. He may not be an addict, but he certainly has a substance abuse issue.

Knowing the signs of possible substance abuse early can potentially prevent leading to an addiction or other problems. Spouses and parents can be aware of behavioral changes by recognizing some of the signs of substance abuse.

  • Sudden personality changes  in work or school attendance
  • Unusual flare-ups or outbreaks of temper
  • Withdrawal from responsibility
  • General changes in overall behaviour
  • Loss of interest in what were once favourite hobbies
  • Increased secretiveness
  • Deterioration of physical appearance and grooming
  • Association with known substance abusers
  • Unusual borrowing of money from friends, co-workers or parents
  • Stealing small items from employers, home or school
  • Secretive behaviour regarding actions and possessions



An addiction, as described by Psychology Today, is “a condition that results when a person ingests a substance or engages in an activity that can be pleasurable but the continuation of which becomes compulsive and interferes with ordinary responsibilities and concerns such as work, relationships, or health. People who have developed an addiction may not be aware that their behaviour is out of control and causing problems for themselves and others”.

People become addicted to a substance or an activity in different ways. Some turn to alcohol and drugs as a means of coping with a stressful situation or to forget about a traumatized past. Others log onto the internet to escape the reality of their unfulfilling lifestyles looking for a more attractive alternative. Still, others fund the excitement of gambling irresistible regardless of the consequences. Soon the need to continue these behaviours becomes overwhelming and the ability to resist because almost impossible.

Some types of addictions include:

  • Gambling
  • Alcohol
  • Drugs
  • The Internet
  • Gaming
  • Shopping
  • Eating …. to name a few.

If you are concerned and serious about an addiction or substance related problem, there is help available. My counselling service is not meant to replace other help that is available such as AA, NA etc. but is an additional resource that you can use to help with your situation. You do not have to deal with this alone! If you have reached a point where you are ready to make a decision and want to take some steps to talk about healing your life give me a call or send an email, and lets connect.