The warning signs and how to take steps to seek help.

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Support: If you are struggling with alcohol or drug misuse, you are not alone. The Hunter Primary Care team are here when you are ready. Call on 4925 2259.

Support: If you are struggling with alcohol or drug misuse, you are not alone. The Hunter Primary Care team are here when you are ready. Call on 4925 2259.

Alcohol is everywhere you look: it’s in advertisements, movies, restaurants and even work meetings. No celebration seems to be complete without cracking open a bottle or two.

Alcohol, in fact, can have negative consequences and increases the risk of depression and anxiety.

There’s a difference between social drinking and misusing drink, if you are crossing the line it may be time to understand the underlying cause. 

According to SANE Australia, studies have also found that people who have a mental illness may be more likely to get into the cycle of using drugs because it helps them deal with some of the symptoms of their illness. 

Feeling anxious, depressed and stressed are temporarily relieved by using some types of drugs.

Unfortunately, this can make symptoms worse in the long term, so it becomes tempting to take more just to keep getting the short-term benefits, however, eventually, even these short-term benefits wear off.

“Over time your body adapts and you need more to cope, that’s how addiction builds,’ says Dr Kylie Bailey, manager of the Drug and Alcohol programme at Hunter Primary Care. 

“By understanding the connection between mental illness and drug or alcohol misuse can expedite recovery,” says Dr Bailey.

If alcohol or drug use is creeping up on you, help is at hand.

Funded by the Primary Health Network, Hunter Primary Care provides assistance for mild-to-moderate users of alcohol and drugs. If the symptoms are more severe they are able to refer you for more support.

The first step is simply picking up the phone and making a call. 

Once the referral has been accepted, you can expect up to 12 sessions, either face-to-face psychology or on the phone with the Mind Reach programme. The programme includes cognitive-based workbooks that are matched with specific symptoms. If your symptoms return, you can always refer back to the workbook.

“We had someone who lives alone who was drinking too much, but anxiety prevented her from leaving the house. Through Mind Reach she was able to manage her anxiety so she could leave the house to seek further help,” said Dr Bailey.

Treatment is very effective particularly for people needing a brief intervention"

Dr Kylie Bailey, Hunter Primary Care

“Often clients are fully functioning and have families, we can help to identify issues before they head down a slippery slope.”

The eight signs to watch out for

Signs that someone you care about is struggling can be hard to spot if you don't know what to look out for, particularly if they are in denial. 

Drinking and drug misuse can sneak up on you, so it’s important to be aware of the warning signs and take steps to seek help if you recognise them. They could include:

  1. You take more than you intend.
  2. Over time, you need to take more to have the same effect.
  3. Cravings for the drug.
  4. Experience withdrawal.
  5. Can’t stop using.
  6. Spend more time using.
  7. Spending less time on other pastimes.
  8. Family and friends start commenting on your using.

If you or a loved-one match any of these, you can find out if services are available in your area at hunterprimarycare.com.au.