Some clients may wonder if they have a problem with drugs and/or alcohol. According to the DSM-IV-TR the criteria for Substance Abuse is as follows:
- A maladaptive pattern of substance use leading to clinically significant impairment or distress, as manifested by one (or more) of the following, occurring within a 12 month period:
- recurrent substance use resulting in a failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, school, or home (e.g., repeated absences or poor work performance related to substance use; substance-related absences or poor work performance related to substance use; substance related absences, suspensions, or expulsions from school, neglect of children or household)
- recurrent substance use in situations in which it is physically hazardous (e.g., driving an automobile or operating machinery when impaired by substance use)
- recurrent substance-related legal problems (e.g., arrests for substance-related disorderly conduct)
- continued substance use despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused or exacerbated by the effects of the substance (e.g., arguments with spouse about consequences of intoxication, physical fights)
- The symptoms have never met the criteria for Substance Dependence for this class of substance
The essential feature of Substance Dependence is a cluster of cognitive (thoughts), behavioral (actions), and physiological (physical) symptoms indicating that the individual continues use of the substance despite significant substance- related problems. There is a pattern of repeated self- administration that can result in tolerance, withdrawal, and compulsive drug-taking behavior.
If a client has issues with drug or alcohol abuse evidence-based treatments have been found to achieve the best outcome.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in combination with insight, and systems theories, work well together to help the client to understand the steps to take and how best to achieve recovery.
Some clients embrace an abstinence based approach (AA) while other may find that Harm Reduction is a better fit for them. Each client is unique and we will work together to find the best fit for long term results. The ultimate goal is to understand the underlying reasons for the behaviors that have begun to interfere with their quality of life.