COUNSELLING FOR ALCOHOL & OTHER DRUG USE

People use alcohol and drugs for many reasons including peer pressure; curiosity; to improve performance; to relieve stress; to experience feelings of pleasure (high) and avoid unpleasant thoughts or emotions. Sometimes people can develop an addiction to painkillers that were originally prescribed to manage pain.


Heather Lilley (Counsellor & Clinical Social Worker) at Amherst Psychology has extensive experience supporting clients to change their alcohol and other drug use. In some cases, depending on your use of substance, you may also need to consult with your doctor regarding aspects of your recovery treatment. During your initial assessment with Heather, she will let you know you if you will need to consult your medical practitioner. The following information may help you in deciding if you would benefit from Heather's support in managing your alcohol or other drug use.

Do I have an addiction ?​


An addiction or dependency occurs when a person continues using a substance even though it is resulting in problems in their behaviour, or unwanted consequences in their relationships, work, studies, social life or health. Some signs that you may be addicted to a substance include:

  • Cravings or strong urges to use the substance and unsuccessful attempts to reduce or control your use.

  • Having difficulty completing tasks at work, school or home; spending less time on activities that used to be important;

  • Noticing some unwanted consequences of your alcohol or drug use, yet you continue to use.

  • Needing larger amounts to get the same effect to feel “normal”.

  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms such as sleeplessness, nausea, and anxiety when you don’t use.

  • Changes in your mood, emotions and motivation.

  • Hiding your using behaviour from family and friends.

 

Why is it so difficult to stop using alcohol and drugs even when I try ?


Even when you want to stop using alcohol or drugs you may find that you are unable to stop despite trying very hard. This is because addiction is often a complex condition for a number of reasons including:

  • Alcohol and drugs can result in changes in the brain that increase cravings as well as affect motivation, memory, judgement and decision making. 

  • People often feel ashamed or embarrassed that they have developed a dependency on alcohol or drugs and do not want to seek extra help.

  • People fear they may not cope with life’s challenges without the substance.

How can we assist you in your journey of recovery from addiction ?​


Counselling can help you develop ways to cope with your drug cravings as well as explore strategies to avoid a relapse.

If you’ve been using alcohol or drugs as a way of coping, counselling can help you explore some of the underlying reasons for your ongoing substance misuse as well as develop healthier ways of coping with unpleasant thoughts and emotions that you believe are too difficult to manage.


If you are experiencing any other mental health issue alongside your alcohol and other drug use, such as anxiety, depression or history of trauma, counselling can help you safely explore ways of managing your mental health.  Contact us on 9456 0411 to arrange an appointment or you can email us here.

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