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Substance Use

Adult and Child Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner located in Tuscaloosa, AL

Substance use disorder is a tough problem to manage on your own, but with the proper support, you can recover. Contact Ella Williamson, MSN, CRNP, FNP-BC, PMHNP-BC, at Druid City Wellness Center in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, if you’re ready to quit but worried about withdrawal. Ella combines counseling with medications that closely resemble the actions of opioids or alcohol without causing the same high, making withdrawal less challenging. Call Druid City Wellness Center to request a substance use disorder evaluation or schedule an in-person or telemedicine appointment online today.

What is substance use?

Substance use disorder is a condition where you can’t stop taking harmful drugs despite their adverse effects on your life. Substances that are often the subject of misuse include:

  • Alcohol
  • Opioids (heroin and prescription painkillers)
  • Cocaine and crack
  • Cannabis (marijuana)
  • Hallucinogens like LSD
  • Stimulants like amphetamines (speed)
  • MDMA (Molly or ecstasy)
  • Inhalants like glue

Substance use starts with experimentation, resulting in pleasurable physical and psychological sensations. As you take the substance more frequently, the effects lessen, so you increase the dose. The longer this cycle persists, the more difficult it is to stop because you develop withdrawal symptoms that can be unbearable.

Getting your next drug fix becomes the overriding priority, costing money, time, and focus. Addiction can be so powerful that you might get into debt trying to fund your habit. People with severe addictions lose their jobs, homes, and families and suffer poor health.

You also expose yourself to infections like HIV and hepatitis if you share needles to inject drugs. Your risk of engaging in criminal activities or being the subject of an assault is far higher.

How do I know if my substance use is out of control?

If you regularly take a specific substance, you’re likely to be developing substance use disorder — very few people can stop and start with addictive substances whenever they choose. Drugs cause changes in your brain that make stopping extremely unpleasant. These withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Shaking
  • Sweating excessively
  • Headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Body aches
  • Cramping
  • Abdominal pain
  • Hallucinations
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Lightheadedness

If you develop these symptoms when you don’t take your chosen substance frequently enough, you should seek help from Druid City Wellness Center’s experienced substance use disorder therapists.

How do I recover from substance use disorder?

The most effective method for quitting addictive substances is medication-assisted treatment (MAT). This FDA-approved program combines medication with talk therapy.

Medications used in MAT include buprenorphine for opioid misuse and naltrexone for alcohol misuse. Stopping your chosen substance and replacing it with one of these medications reduces withdrawal symptoms to far more tolerable levels.

At the same time, you undergo counseling. Your Druid City Wellness Center therapist sees you regularly to discuss your progress and help you learn coping mechanisms to avoid relapses.

Call Druid City Wellness Center to learn how you could benefit from substance use disorder treatment or schedule a consultation by completing the online booking form today.