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Substance Abuse and You. Essential Skills to Success. Authors : Jonathan Mong & Marianne Schwarz ; VFMP UBC Medicine 2015 Presenters : . Outline. Who we are Topics: 1. Commonly used drugs + what they do to the body 2. Reasons for use and risk factors for abuse

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Substance abuse and you

Substance Abuse and You

Essential Skills to Success

Authors: Jonathan Mong& Marianne Schwarz; VFMP UBC Medicine 2015



  • Who we are

  • Topics:

    • 1. Commonly used drugs + what they do to the body

    • 2. Reasons for use and risk factors for abuse

    • 3. Consequences of abuse

    • 4. Recovery: mental tapes, coping strategies, stages of recovery, etc.

Addiction physiological and mental
Addiction – physiological and mental

  • Different from “dependence”

  • Physical and psychological need for something

  • Accompanied by self-destructive behaviours


  • Physical and psychological symptoms that appear when off of a substance

  • Can have common symptoms for many substances

Sleeping pills
Sleeping pills

  • Some people use these to stay or fall asleep

  • Common drug:Ativan, Imovane

  • Work by blocking electrical signals from going to your brain

Sleeping pills1
Sleeping Pills

  • The Good

    • Helps to sleep

    • Relaxant

  • The Bad

    • Addiction

    • Nausea, headaches

    • Memory impairment

  • The Ugly

    • Comatose

    • Death


  • The Good

    • Reduce pain (e.g. headache, muscle aches)

  • The Bad

    • Overdose causing vomiting, which can lead to…

  • The ugly

    • Overdose (causing liver failure, kidney failure, death)

Anabolic steroids
Anabolic Steroids

  • Similar actions to testosterone

  • Often taken to try to build muscle mass

  • Can affect cells everywhere and not just in your muscles

Anabolic steroids1
Anabolic Steroids

  • The Good

    • Bulk up

    • Appear “manly”

  • The Bad

    • Acne

    • Bruising

    • Cancer

    • Depression

    • Aggression

    • Testicular shrinking

    • Stunted growth

  • The Ugly

    • ...


  • Taken for a variety of reasons: to relax, reduce pain, etc.

  • Increases amount of substance in your brain that makes you feel good

  • “Opening a door”


  • The ‘Good’

    • Pain control

    • Relaxant

  • The Bad

    • Loss of motivation

    • Decreased awareness

  • The Ugly

    • Increased risk of schizophrenia

    • Legal complications


  • Prevents substance in brain from being broken down normally

  • “Can’t clean up the mess”


  • The Good

    • Gives you energy

    • Gives you a “high”

  • The Bad

    • Heart troubles

      • Infections, enlarged heart, irregular rhythm

    • Seizures

  • The Ugly

    • Sudden heart attack

    • Stroke


  • Jack is 28 year-old

  • Confused wandering Downtown Eastside

  • “Jerky” movements

  • Fever and chills

  • “Muscles hurt all over.”

  • Feels ants crawling under his skin

  • Agitated

Questions ideas

  • What did you notice is happening to Jack?

  • Any ideas to explain this?

Patterns of use
Patterns of Use

  • Non User

    • People who do not use the substance

  • Initial User

    • People who try the substance for the first few times

  • Irregular User

    • People who use the substance in social settings

  • Regular User

    • People who use the substance in many settings

    • This is non-harmful regular or planned use

  • Problem User

    • People who show addictive behaviour towards the substance

  • Dependent User

    • People who are fully addicted to the substance

    • Physical and mental withdrawal symptoms can present

    • People driven to acquire and use substance


  • Mental or physical pain

  • To fit in socially

  • To treat the symptoms of an illness

  • To prevent withdrawal

  • Escape from reality

Risk factors
Risk Factors

  • Genetics

  • Personal characteristics

  • Health or mental illness

  • Gender

  • Early drug use

  • Lack of healthy relationships

Risk factors1
Risk Factors

  • Family

  • Physical abuse

  • Culture

  • Stress

  • Trauma

  • Availability of substances

  • Peer group

Case part 2
Case, part 2

  • Calms down

  • Car accident 1 year ago

  • No major trauma, but had trouble sleeping after

  • Prescribed a sleeping pill by his doctor

  • Jack says he became “dependent on it”

  • After prescription, he ran out and he started drinking heavily

Ideas questions

  • Any new ideas about what is happening with Jack?

  • What substances could he potentially be abusing?

Social consequences
Social Consequences

Can have minimal impact or affect:

  • Family

  • Relationships

  • Job and finances

  • Housing

  • Physical health

  • Mental health


  • Jack remembers his father using alcohol extensively when work was hard

  • Father was abusive towards Jack and his mother

  • Left the house, has not seen his father since

  • Felt more popular when drinking

Ideas questions1

  • What do you think are Jack’s motivations for using alcohol and sleeping pills?

  • What are his risk factors for substance abuse?

Recovery stages of change
Recovery – Stages of Change

  • Precontemplation

  • Contemplation

  • Preparation

  • Action

  • Maintenance

  • Relapse

Recovery assessing your thoughts
Recovery – Assessing your thoughts

  • Mental tapes are old recordings of voices that play in our head from time to time

  • These tapes can be distracting to the process of recovery, e.g.

    • “I’m worthless because I’m not able to kick my drug habit.”

    • “I’ll never be able to live a real life because I drink too much alcohol and there’s nothing I can do about it.”

    • “If I don’t use alcohol then nobody will like me.”

    • “When I got high last time I had the best time of my life. The same thing will happen when I get high again tonight.”

Recovery halt principles
Recovery – HALT Principles

  • Relapse is more likely to happen if you are:

    • Hungry

    • Angry

    • Lonely

    • Tired

  • If you feel like you’re being overwhelmed by any of these, it’s important to “check in with yourself.”


  • 1 year later

  • Sees same doctor

  • Has tried to stop drinking several times but has always started up again

  • Wants to “kick the habit”

  • Staying in a friend’s basement

  • Currently unemployedbut optimistic

Back to jack
Back to Jack…

  • Jack sounds like he wants to stop his substance abuse. Do you think he is prepared to start the process of recovery?


  • Your doctor

  • Community clinics

  • Needle exchange programs

  • Dial 211- Alcohol and Drug Line - Refers to a full range of counselling and treatment services across BC. BC

  • Dial 811 - HealthLink BC

  • Online resources

    • Mood gym

Thank you
Thank you!

  • Questions?