It takes courage and strength to admit to having substance use challenges, but acknowledging the behaviour and seeking help is the best way to make positive changes to you or your partner’s life. People use alcohol, tobacco and other drugs for many reasons. Some people use these substances to help them to relax, to feel more lively, to feel less inhibited or to feel pleasure. Others find the effects of substances make it easier for them to cope with problems.
When we think about substance use problems, we often think of stereotypical ‘addicts’ or ‘druggies’ as the ones who have the ‘real’ challenges. However, most often they will involve regular people who might use substances to ease the stress and difficult emotions of everyday life. However, often they use these substances in a way that makes their problems worse in the long-run.
Some of the signs of problematic substance use can include:
Some of the more common substances that can be problematic include legal substances (alcohol, benzodiazepines: anti-anxiety drugs, painkillers with codeine in them like Nurofen Plus or Panadeine Extra/Forte and tobacco) and illegal substances including cannabis-marijuana, heroin, amphetamines, and ice. These are all drugs that can bring about high levels of dependence, and can be problematic even when used in low doses.
Substance use can be problematic for people and also for their partners, even when they are not highly dependent or addicted to the substance. It becomes a problem when it starts to impact on important elements of daily life, including work, family, and/or friendships.
If your partner is using a dangerous substance, it is important to seek help in order to manage it before it has a more severe and longer-lasting impact. It is also important to get support for yourself. It can be very difficult to understand and cope with your partner’s substance use, especially when they are unable to stop or are refusing to seek help.
Our psychologists have specialised training to assist you and your partner, together or individually, in a number of ways. This includes: