If you are worried about your drug use we can help you. We provide immediate advice, information and support for anyone experiencing problems with drugs or drug related issues.
For many people, reducing or stopping drug use can be a straight-forward decision based on wanting to become healthier. For others, particularly if there is dependence, more planning and/or support may be required.
Whatever you feel is the right option we are here for you online, on the phone or face to face.
I’m using drugs, what’s the problem?
Think about your answers to the following questions as honestly as you can:
- Is your drug use affecting your health?
- Is your drug use affecting any relationships in your life?
- Is your drug use leading to problems with the police?
- Is your drug use affecting you or someone close to you financially?
If your answer is yes to any of these questions then we can help you.
I want to reduce or stop my drug use. Where do I start?
Think about reducing or stopping your drug use in three stages:
Planning is important as the better you can plan now the more successful you may be when it comes to reducing or stopping your drug use and staying stopped in the long term.
At this stage it is important to consider the type of drug or drugs you have been using and whether or not it is safe to just stop using them. Suddenly stopping using some drugs, such as diazepam or GHB, without reducing first can be dangerous. Some drugs can even require a medical intervention to reduce and stop using safely. If you are unsure about this or have any questions then it is important you seek specialist advice at this stage.
Another factor to consider is whether or not you have had previous experience of reducing or stopping your drug use. If so, think about what has worked well and what hasn't in the past and include this in your new plan.
It may be helpful to set a date to start reducing - or to stop - and try as much as possible to stick to it.
Other factors to consider for your plan are:
How should I reduce my drug use?
Trying to reduce how much you are using in several small steps can often be more achievable than trying to reduce by too much too quickly.
When are you using?
You could try replacing using in the daytime with a more positive activity to begin with - this may be easier than trying to stop using first thing in the morning or last thing at night.
How are you taking the drug?
If you are injecting then moving away from this to using a different method of taking the drug can be a positive first step.
Are you using more than one drug, including alcohol, in the same day?
If so, think about what would be best or what you might find easiest to reduce or stop using first.
Are you using alone or with others?
If you are using with other people then you may need to consider how you move forward with this. Regularly being around others who are still using may make it harder for you to reduce or stop.
Do you have any other issues?
Try to deal with any other issues such as housing, debt, personal and relationship problems if you can. You can then fully focus on your plan to reduce or stop using.
Everyone is different so make sure your plan is based on what you think might work best for you and what you can realistically manage.
Remember, you don't have to do it alone.
Reducing and Stopping
At this stage it is important to look after your physical and mental health. Doing this can help you better manage any withdrawal symptoms you may have as well as helping you to see through your plan to reduce or stop using.
Eat what you can when you can. Large meals are often more difficult to contemplate, or even digest, so try to have regular snacks including fruit and vegetables. Soup can be a practical and healthy option. Keep well hydrated and drink plenty of fluids. You should try to avoid alcohol if possible.
Common issues people can face include sleeping problems, an increase in anxiety and a return of emotions that can be difficult to cope with. Try writing down some of the thoughts and feeling you have at this stage or talk them through with a trusted friend or family member. You can also approach ADA for further support.
Managing Withdrawal Symptoms
Get some advice on the ‘expected’ withdrawal symptoms of whatever drug or drugs you were using. Not everyone will experience the same symptoms or to the same degree but it can be reassuring to know that any symptoms you experience are not unusual and will eventually pass.
Sometimes withdrawal symptoms can become too difficult to manage and the thought of stopping a drug completely may feel too difficult to achieve. Consider speaking to a GP or Pharmacist who may be able to provide you with medication to help with withdrawal symptoms or even a substitute prescription. On-going medical supervision may then be required for some medications but you might find it easier to see your plan through with medical intervention. You can also approach ADA for further support.
When it comes to your long term recovery working out strategies for how to deal with certain situations can often be the key to success.
Important things to remember at this stage are:
- craving drugs can be a normal part of your recovery, particularly immediately after you have completed the reducing and stopping stage. Although the craving to use drugs again can be strong, it will pass if you deal with it effectively.
- Identifying triggers that have led to you using drugs in the past can make it easier to avoid them in the future or, if you can't avoid them, to deal with them differently.
- getting involved with support groups, activity groups or one-to-one support can be useful to help you achieve long term recovery.
Contact us to find out more about what we can offer you.