Substance abuse, also known as drug abuse, is a patterned use of a substance (drug) in which the user consumes the substance in amounts or with methods which are harmful to themselves or others.
The terms have a huge range of definitions related to taking a psychoactive drug or performance enhancing drug for a non-therapeutic or non-medical effect. All of these definitions imply a negative judgment of the drug use in question (compare with the term responsible drug use for alternative views).
Although substance abuse and addiction are only the symptoms of underlying upsets and disorder in a person’s life, the traditional way is to treat the symptom, as if it was the disorder. The treatment of symptoms by various means to eradicate their appearance does nothing to resolve the essential causes.
Experts consider substance abuse and addiction to be inherent and lifelong conditions – often calling drug abuse an incurable disease. Naturally symptoms will persist when no attempt is made to resolve the causes of substance abuse. Choosing a substance abuse counselor who sees himself as being as much a life coach as a drug counselor can have a profound impact on the eventual outcome of drug counseling.
In modern times it has become popular to engage “one on one” with someone who can help you with some aspect of life improvement. We have personal trainers at the gym who can help to fine tune the body, people who provide support for weight loss, assistance with personal grooming, personality development, money making or share trading, or to help us to develop techniques for a new hobby or skill. Many people today help other people with specific life skills, from within a commercial and structured framework.
In our tendency to specialize, we often fail to see the bigger picture. Substance abuse counselors help with substance abuse, weight loss counselors help with weight loss. If a person’s use of and attitude towards drugs, to food, towards money or body shape is essentially abusive, the issue needs to be resolved at the level of attitude, and not simply by trying to modify the particular presenting behavior.
Good substance abuse counselors will incorporate into their practice a total lifestyle approach to the issue of substance abuse.