A drug is a broad label given to any substance that changes the way your brain works. Taking drugs may seem like fun and a way to take your mind of things or spend time with your friends, but sooner or later drug use has a negative effect on your mind as well as your body (1).
Drugs can be classified into three groups:
Managing Drug Use
Recognising that you might have a problem is the first step in getting help for your drug issue. No one can force another person to seek treatment for a problem if the person doesn’t believe they have one (2).
Deciding to manage your drug use is a big step and a big decision. If you do reduce your drug use you still might crave them for some time after. It is important not to be too hard on yourself if you don’t reach your immediate goal or if you have a few setbacks along the way. Many people think they can go cold turkey and give up drugs on their own, but that’s a really difficult way of going about it and often not the most successful (2). Having to try several times may be a part of reducing your use and it is important you keep trying. It can be helpful to have someone to talk to along the way, either a friend, family members or a counsellor. Seeking support from others can be a really great way of figuring out next steps (2).
As the term ‘drug’ covers a large range of substances it means that there are many ways in which people choose to manage their use. There is no one way that is better than another and it is important for people to work out what works best for them and their situation. The ways in which people manage their use may depend on:
Sometimes you might try out a range of options before you find the right one.
Managing your drug use may include speaking to a professional or it may be possible to reduce your use on your own (2). It is important to speak with a doctor or drug and alcohol worker about the best way to manage your drug use as reduction of some drugs may cause medical complications.
What Might Help?
Suggestions that may help you manage your drug use include:
A good counsellor can help you to work out how best to manage your drug use. It can be done either individually or in a group setting. Discuss the available options with your counsellor to work out what might be best for you. To find a counsellor near you can visit the Beyond Blue directory of Medical and Allied Health Practitioners. Your doctor, local hospital or local community health centre will also be able to help you find information.
Self Help is another form of treatment for people who have drug dependencies. Self-help groups are made up of people who experience a particular drug problem. Instead of a group being run by a professional, self-help groups are run by members of the group. Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are examples of self-help groups. You might find it useful to read some fact sheets on support groups. Speaking with your doctor, health care worker or counsellor is another place you could get information about self-help and support groups in your local area.
Reducing your drug intake may be done with the assistance of other drugs. The function of these drugs depends on what they are replacing and medical treatment is often done alongside counselling.
It is important to note that laws around medical treatment for substance use vary from state to state. For more information about suitable options for you it is important to speak with your doctor, local drug and alcohol worker or counsellor. The Australian Drug Foundation website also has some general information.
If you live in the Albury Wodonga Health catchment you can access information on local support services here.
Where to get help?
Useful phone numbers within Australia