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Drug and alcohol abuse

Drug use and alcohol over-use can cause problems in all areas of life. Family and friends may be affected by the person’s changing personality and inability to accept that his or her drug use is a problem. It can affect the person and their family through financial problems. A drug or alcohol addiction can be costly and acquiring the substance is often put ahead of important expenses such as food, healthcare or bills. Drug use can also cause problems at work. The addiction can make it impossible for someone to work productively, or induce them to take excessive sick leave. There are also potentially grave legal implications to using and having possession of certain drugs.

Signs of drug use

People who have drug dependence may change their behaviour in many different ways, including:

  • Unexplained need for money
  • Work or school absenteeism or neglecting family or other responsibilities
  • Withdrawing from social circles, frequent arguments, fights or changing friends suddenly
  • Increase or decrease in appetites or eating habits
  • Impaired concentration, memory or energy
  • Using drugs under dangerous conditions or taking risks such driving under the influence

Types of drug addiction

There are two types of drug dependence, or drug addiction, and they have differing symptoms and treatment options. The first type of drug dependence — physical addiction — occurs when the person’s body is unable to function properly without constant dosage. The second type — psychological addiction — occurs when the person craves the drug in order to gain satisfaction or experience a particular emotion. People can have either or both of these types of addiction to many types of legal and illegal drugs.

When to seek professional assistance

It can be difficult to tell when you or someone close to you has a drug or alcohol problem or addiction. People differ in their opinions of how much use is too much. What should be focused on is the effect of drug use on the user and his or her family, friends and colleagues and whether it is interfering with the ability to function normally.

How Psychology Melbourne can help

If you believe that you or someone close to you has a drug problem and you would like some professional help, please contact our reception or phone (03) 9629 1001 for an appointment with one of our drug and alcohol experts.

Medicare Rebate for Psychologist Counselling


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Information for GPs