Two people battling drug addiction are trapped in pills and surrounded by different drugs.

Artwork by Sankalpa Raychaudhary

Two people battling drug addiction are trapped in pills and surrounded by different drugs.

Drug Addiction Counselling : Empowering Recovery

Medically reviewed by

Written by Parth Sharma

On a summer evening, you were riding your bike on a busy road and, in the heat of the moment, paddled faster than ever. Before you knew it, you fell and scraped your knee; it was swollen for a while.

In such a case, you would usually get back up, walk it off without any guilt, and be a bit more careful the next time. If you were to fall again, you would inspect the bike, check if the wheels are in order, and slowly ask for help until both you and your bike are well again. Substance abuse and addiction are strikingly similar to falling off a bike. With a physical injury, people immediately seek help when they can no longer control the pain; people with addiction, however, are somewhat hesitant to accept that they require assistance. 

What is substance abuse?

Substance abuse happens when a person develops a dependence or addiction to a substance to function in daily life; they cannot control their impulses and usually increase their use with time.

Substance use is a common phenomenon in the young adult population. Many people experience it firsthand due to peer pressure, social events, and injury medication. 

“Substance abuse, however, happens when one employs a maladaptive coping mechanism using the substance. It can be seen as a spectrum where there is excessive use of products such as coffee and tea to substances like morphine and marijuana,” says Dr. Arun, Consultant Psychiatrist, Cadabams Group

How can you identify addiction?

Suppose you or a loved one has recently experimented with drugs. In that case, the following signs can help you identify if you may be developing a substance use disorder.

Let's say you drink caffeine regularly. You may be developing a caffeine addiction if you follow the following;  

  1. Drink coffee, energy drinks, and carbonated drinks in more significant amounts or for longer than you're meant to. 
  2. Want to cut down or stop drinking coffee but cannot.
  3. Have cravings and urges to buy/make coffee, caffeinated drinks.
  4. Not managing to do what you should at work, home, or school because you did not drink coffee or an energy drink that day.
  5. Giving up important social, occupational, or recreational activities because of your use of caffeinated products.
  6. Continuing to use, even when you know you have a physical or psychological problem that could have been caused or made worse by coffee.
  7. You Need more cups of coffee and/or cans of Redbull to get the active vigilance you want.
  8. Development of withdrawal symptoms, where you feel anxious without drinking coffee.

Suppose you enjoy drinking coffee every day and say yes to most of the eight points mentioned here. In that case, this could be a sign of your chemical dependency on caffeinated products. Similarly, people who have alcoholism become chemically dependent on alcohol. Those who are battling addiction may then become ill if they suddenly stop drinking. People may also feel psychologically reliant on alcohol and continue to use it, particularly under stressful circumstances or to alleviate other psychological problems.

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How to Access Addiction and Substance Abuse Treatment?

For many people struggling with addiction, the most challenging step toward recovery is the very first one: recognizing that you have a problem and deciding to make a change. It's normal to feel uncertain about whether you're ready to start recovery or if you have what it takes to quit. Suppose you're addicted to a prescription drug. In that case, you may be concerned about how you're going to find an alternate way to treat a medical condition.

Recovery requires time, motivation, and support. Still, by committing to change, you can defeat your addiction and reacquire control of your life. In a situation where you identify yourself or a loved one battling addiction, you can find yourself having an overwhelming experience as you try to understand it. While the process is challenging and isolating, there is always help available to assist you through it. Substance abuse can be treated in many ways. Drug Addiction Help includes Detox, medication, and counseling are a few popular methods to do so.


The first step is to cleanse your body of drugs and manage withdrawal symptoms. Detoxification is a process by which you are helped to slowly wean off the substance. 


Therapists who practice addiction recovery often help people who are addicted set attainable short-term goals as they work to overcome their addiction. Once the person attains sobriety, adaptive skills are developed to regain their physical and emotional health. With the therapist's help, one can set long-term goals that may include repairing broken relationships, admitting responsibility for actions, and clearing guilt due to addiction.

With Therapy and counseling for substance abuse, a person who has a substance use disorder is often more likely to overcome an addiction. Several types of treatment are helpful in this process. Behavioral Therapy is usually provided by a therapist to help people overcome their addiction. 

  1. CBT- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is an Addiction therapy that concentrates on helping people recognize how their thoughts and feelings affect their behaviors. It works by assisting people in changing the thought and behavior patterns that contribute to addiction.
  2. Supported Therapy- The group-supported Therapy is aimed at helping achieve and maintain sobriety and takes a variety of approaches. Some promote total avoidance, while others focus on moderation in the use of the substance being abused. Many of these may offer in-person meetings, but online assistance groups are also available.


Rehabilitation Centres, or inpatient treatment at hospitals, are recommended to those who may experience difficulty achieving sobriety as an outpatient. Substance abuse and addiction take a toll on both the body and the mind.

Detoxification and Therapy prepare you to show resilience and alter your behavior. In contrast, inpatient hospital treatment is administered to get your affected organs and channels within your body back on track.

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What can you expect in Rehab? 

Suppose you or your loved one have chosen to enter a treatment program for addiction. In that case, you can expect to first check-in and complete an intake interview, which will allow the program to design a plan tailored to your particular needs. The next step involves detoxification and can last from a few days to two weeks; removing any substances from the body is required. After detox, the next step involves Therapy to help you adjust and form new thoughts and behavior models to support long-term recovery. Drug and Alcohol Rehab centers help you immensely in sustaining the recovery you achieve.

During recovery and rehabilitation, intense emotions of guilt, judgment, and trauma come out. While the process may seem to isolate you from your social world, you must reach out for support. Whatever treatment approach you choose, having positive influences and a solid support system is imperative to prevent a relapse. Having the help of friends and family members is valuable in recovery. 

In the same way that you may be reluctant to ride it again after falling off the bike once, addiction and substance abuse can feel like an impairment that hinders your life. With the necessary help and treatment, drug abuse and addiction can be treated, reintroducing and rehabilitating people in remission to society without any baggage of their previous actions.  

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