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Taking Control Over Substance Misuse

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA), at least 15 million Americans misuse alcohol.  And we know that this statistic is underreported.  Substance misuse is often associated with mental health symptoms, such as depression, anxiety, trauma, or Bipolar and other psychotic disorders

Substance misuse can have a profound on us—not just exacerbating mental health symptoms—but also feelings of stigma, guilt and shame.  It can contribute and intensify physical health symptoms and conditions, create legal challenges for us, interfere with jobs and schooling, and have profound impacts on our relationships.  It can rock our self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth, and have us question our will.

There is much efficacy for implementing an integrated treatment approach in which mental health and substance misuse are concurrently addressed—and not siloed.   A concurrent treatment helps efficiently mobilize treatment, recognizes the unique complexities that both mental health and substance misuse can create, while reducing the likelihood of relapse, hospitalization, and legal involvement. 

Tips for addressing Substance Misuse:

  1. Acknowledge that help is needed.
  2. Contact a medical and mental health professional for help.
  3. Recognize that many people struggle with substance misuse and mental health symptoms.
  4. Know that there are effective treatments.
  5. Understand that relapse is often part of the path towards maintaining sobriety.
  6. Consider medications to help manage symptoms.
  7. Stay connected—reach out and find social support.
  8. Empower yourself.  Identify an affirmation or mantra that you can remind yourself.
  9. Ensure that you are following a daily routine and schedule.
  10. Calm your thoughts with meditation and mindfulness practices.