Addiction and Recovery




When using alcohol or other mood altering substances causes trouble in your life, you have a problem.

When occasional or rare use of these substances causes trouble, you have a problem.

It is common to use substances to sooth or calm oneself. Often it works for a while. It is also common to minimize the impact of alcohol or drugs on your work or personal relationships, your health, or your sleep.

And at some point it always takes its toll.

Take a self-assessment inventory about you and mood altering substances. LINK
Print PDF version. (This is a PDF file. To view it, you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. To take the inventory, print the PDF file and fill in your answers.)

Are you drinking alcohol, smoking marijuana or taking a mood altering substance that is not part of a treatment plan prescribed by your physician?

Some people think alcoholics or users of mood-altering drugs have to be drunk or high to qualify as having a serious illness. Here’s the truth–there is a problem if your use of any mood altering substance:

  • adversely impacts your judgment, work, or physical performance
  • causes a conflict in a relationship
  • affects your health
  • anyone significant in your life tells you that it interferes with your relationship with them
Substance Dependence One of the most common health issues today is the use of mood-altering substances to self medicate. If you have considered that you may have a problem, you do. When your use of alcohol or other substances becomes an issue between you and an important person in your life, you have a problem. How many times have you tried to cut back and then found yourself using at the same rate? Have you noticed it takes more alcohol or drugs to get the same effect? When was the last time you had fun without alcohol or drugs? Do most or all of your social situations involve using mood altering substance? Your answers to these questions can alert you to the possibility that your drug or alcohol use is spinning out of control.

Take the following self-assessment quiz and see how you do.

How many of the following symptoms do you have?

Tolerance (it takes more substance to get the same effect–buzzed, high, relaxed).
Physical symptoms or unpleasant feelings when abstaining from the substance.
Continuing to use the substance even though there are adverse physical symptoms after its use.
Taking larger amounts of the substance than intended.
Unsuccessful attempts to discontinue.
Taking excessive time in obtaining the substance.
Taking excessive time in recovering from taking the substance.
Social problems/conflicts connected with use.
Recreational activities centered around using the substance.
Continuing to use the substance despite recognizing that it adversely affects relationships, work performance.
Continuing to use the substance despite recognizing that it is adversely affects physical health.

Did you recognize three or more of the above symptoms as applying to you? If so, your substance use is a problem and will get worse if not treated.

You may want to solve this problem on your own. Almost everyone who is in recovery from substance abuse agrees that the first step to recovery is to recognize that you cannot do it by yourself. Asking for help is the hardest step and must be re-learned over and over again.

Treatment for substance abuse can be challenging. What you have to do to succeed is to want to get healthy and be willing to follow a treatment plan.

One strategy for recovery is to attend 90 addiction support group meetings in 90 days to begin to assess your situation from a different vantage point. You probably will not think you are much like the other people attending. It is possible, however, that you will begin to recognize some of yourself in what they talk about.

And it might help you get started in recovery.

While attending addiction support group meeting can work, the more comprehensive strategy is to develop a treatment plan with a doctor’s help.

Of course, the challenge is to rely on someone else to help you. That would be taking that first step in recovery. A psychiatrist who has specialized training and experience in substance abuse can help you plan and execute a successful treatment program.

Treatment would be comprehensive, taking into account your individual situation and needs. It would include an evaluation to assess your emotional and physical health, support groups, counseling, and medication. You and your doctor might decide that it is in your best interest to attend an in-patient or out-patient recovery program.

In that case, your doctor will provide you with individualized attention and consult with the staff of that program while you participate in it. If you have a dual diagnosis — a mental health issue as well as a problem with substance abuse, you will be treated for both conditions by your doctor.

The recovery process is two fold: in support groups and with your doctor’s help, you learn to manage a life-style in which you do not self-medicate; and in counseling with your doctor, you begin to develop a self-concept and attitude toward life that will give you resiliency and help you learn to enjoy life and make the most of it.

At Potomac Grove Psychiatry we have staff who specialize in the treatment of recovery from substance abuse. They help you understand more about you and your choice to self medicate with any mood altering substances.

As a patient at PGP, if you and your doctor decide that you will go to an out-patient recovery program, Dr. Kopolow coordinates your recovery treatment with the Kolmac Clinic, Suburban Hospital Outpatient Treatment Program, and other outpatient facilities.

If you are in a committed, long term relationship or marriage, or live with your family, you have an additional element to your treatment plan.

These people have been impacted by your illness and need support as well. If they are willing, it would be best for them to be involved in a treatment regime also. Usually adults and children who care about you are not completely aware of how your illness has affected them, and they may not realize that they need help to recover as well. When they get support, that will support your recovery process as well.

Let us help you address your concerns.  

Call Potomac Grove Psychiatry today for an appointment: 301-963-0060.