It’s the harmful use of substances (like drugs or alcohol) for non-medical purpose. It includes the use of illegal drugs and inappropriate use of legal substances.
Misusing substances often starts as a way of coping with difficult situations or feelings, and finding that the substance helps you feel better and more relaxed, so anytime a similar situation arises, you know it helps, so you get into the habit. Identifying the problem of substance misuse is the easiest part. The most important part of resolving the problem is being motivated enough to change.
Creating self help plan:
- Identifying your trigger: Is your substance misuse triggered by certain places, people, things, hearing or seeing certain things, feeling stressed, anxious, angry, sad or thinking self-critical thoughts?
- Identifying the factors that helps keep the problem going and try to make changes: Factors such as emotional problems, isolation, stress, low mood, habits, bad company, low self-esteem.
- Avoid triggers and factors that encourage substance misuse by doing things differently like joining and attending support group meetings, setting goals on what you hope to achieve, avoiding social situations where you are more likely to feel tempted and give in to cravings, start a healthy exercise plan, take up a new hobby, practice saying “No – I don’t drink” or “No – I don’t use”
- Coping with cravings by using mindfulness, relaxation techniques, mindful breathing, meditation or prayer, focusing your attention on other activities, engage in a hobby or other interests.
In cases of severe addiction, please seek help from health professionals.