Substance Use Disorder

Substance Abuse

Are you or someone you know suffering from a Substance Use Disorder?

If you use more substance than you intend too, have failed to cut back from substances, or spend excessive time in obtaining, using, or recovering from substance use– you may be suffering from a substance use disorder.

It doesn’t matter your viewpoint on the legality or reasons for using drugs, alcohol, or other substances. In fact, you may still support the legality or reasons for people using a substance, without personally overindulging in its use. Substance Use issues are discovered based on a misuse or overuse of the substance that causes one, or one’s loved ones to suffer.

Substance Use Disorder symptoms could include having cravings for substances, use of substances affecting daily life such as work, school, or home, and using it in dangerous situations. If you’ve given up work, social, or recreational activities that could all be an indicator of substance abuse. Being persistent despite awareness of the problem, gaining a tolerance, or having withdrawals are also warning signs you’re suffering from substance abuse.

There are multiple levels of a Substance Use Disorder. If you experience 2 to 3 symptoms– the problem is considered is mild, 4 to 5 symptoms is moderate, and 6 or more symptoms is considered severe. It is important to have a medical professional evaluate you, if you believe you are suffering from a Substance Use Disorder.

Another important factor to consider is: Are you have any underlying symptoms that are influencing you to misuse drugs, alcohol, or other substances? Such symptoms can include: Anxiety, Depression, Social Anxiety, Relationship Issues, prolonged grief, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms.

There are many things you can do to help yourself overcome a Substance Use Disorder. The first step is observing how you feel after an episode of using substances, or accept feedback from a close friend or family member. Some ways to begin curbing a substance use disorder are: Admitting to yourself that you have an issue, becoming involved with sober-friends, joining a SMART recovery program, trying out a 12-step program, as well as beginning to recognize your triggers (for using). Adding meditation or yoga to your daily routine can help you begin to have more mind and body awareness of how you feel, both sober and intoxicated. Working on changing your diet to include healthy proteins and vegetables and supplementing with extra omega 3’s can also help.  Light exercise is also recommended to help one curb substance use. Other methods that can provide relief are art therapy, finding a mentor or wise helper, becoming part of an activity group which does not center around using substances, getting an animal companion, finding an active “outdoor” hobby, or planting a garden. Taking apple cider vinegar, ginkgo biloba (herbal medicine), and caffeine can be a healthier alternatives to drugs, alcohol, and other substances.

Since battling a Substance Use Disorder can become quite complicated and difficult, since many people have many social influences that may make it difficult to avoid drugs, alcohol, and other substances–it is important to consider that you may need a combination of help and personal self-help solutions, including professional help, medical interventions, a support group, and personal self-care.

A number of medical interventions can help you overcome a Substance Use Disorder.

Other medical interventions that could help are:

  • Outpatient Counseling 
  • Family Therapy 
  • Naturopathic Medicine 
  • Seeing a Psychiatrist
  • Inpatient Treatment
  • Intensive Outpatient Substance Abuse Groups
  • Supplementing with Magnesium and Vitamin D for possible underlying causes (such as depression)
  • Diet and Exercise (talk to your consultant or nutritionist)

These techniques are not meant to replace medical advice. Speak with your healthcare practitioner if you think you are suffering with depression. The DSM-5 strives to conceptualize an illness as a spectrum, with a domain that should be construed as normal.

If you feel that your substance use is out of control, you can call a hotline to get immediate help, learn more here:

To find local support groups, check out these websites:

Smart Recovery:

Alcoholics Anonymous:

Learn more here about Substance Use Disorders here:

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration 

National Center for Biotechnology Information 



Learn more about the Trauma-Informed Counseling Center of Grand Rapids

Learn more about Counseling and Therapy services at Health for Life Counseling Grand Rapids

Share on Social