ChristianaCare

Substance Abuse

Teenage girl talking to therapist

Substance abuse is a deeply personal process which can be triggered through a variety of factors such as life circumstances, loss or self-medication. For women, it can relate to fertility, hormones, breastfeeding and menopause, where certain medications can be used beyond their intended use. In addition, women can have other unique reasons for overusing drugs, including weight control, exhaustion, pain and mental problems.

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How do you know if you need treatment?

You may have had a choice when you first started using drugs or alcohol. But, after a while, these drugs actually change the structure and functioning of your brain. Once you are addicted, the urge to use the substance you are addicted to becomes so powerful that you may continue using it without thinking about what could happen.

Substance abuse can include behavioural and physical signs such as:

  • Abrupt weight change.
  • Bruises and infections.
  • Bloodshot or glazed eyes.
  • Increased aggression or irritability.
  • Changes in personality.
  • Lethargy and depression.
  • Financial problems.
  • Dramatic changes in habits and priorities.

You need to ask for help if you continue to use drugs or alcohol even after developing problems with your health, your job or education, or your relationships. Another warning sign is your need for more drugs or alcohol to get the same pleasant feeling as when you first started using them.

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The American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry both have tools that can help you find a substance abuse specialist.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health America are support organizations with chapters around the country where counseling and referrals are available.

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence offers support and a 24-hour referral service at 800-NCA-CALL (800-622-2255).

If you need referral information, to retrieve patient records, schedule an appointment or just more information, please call 302-320-2100.

Where to go for help?

The first step is admitting that you have a problem and that you need help. The next is accepting that treatment takes time. Short-term, one-time treatments hardly ever work. The best treatment programs offer many services over a period of time. In many programs, these services include education and support for your family. Studies show that anything less than 90 days is not long enough.

Here are resources that you can use to take the next steps:

  • Your healthcare provider may be able to take care of your immediate needs and help you find a treatment program.
  • Workplaces that sponsor employee assistance programs may offer counseling and referrals for drug and alcohol treatment.
  • The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration can help you find a drug and alcohol treatment center near you by visiting its website or calling 800-662-HELP (800-662-4357). There is a list of more than 11,000 treatment programs.
  • The American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry both have tools that can help you find a substance abuse specialist.
  • The National Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health America are support organizations with chapters around the country where counseling and referrals are available.
  • The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence offers support and a 24-hour referral service at 800-NCA-CALL (800-622-2255).

Project Engage

Project Engage is an early intervention and referral to substance use disorder treatment program designed to help women who may be struggling with alcohol or drug use.The program expanded to Christiana Hospital in 2011 and to the Emergency Departments at Christiana and Wilmington hospitals in 2013.

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, getting into treatment is an important first step. The State of Delaware offers a list of resources for substance abuse counseling and treatment at www.HelpIsHereDE.com. You can also locate help and information at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration at www.samhsa.gov and at the National Institute on Drug Abuse at www.drugabuse.gov.

Project Engage is a collaboration between Connections Community Support Programs, Inc. and ChristianaCare.

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