When does alcohol and substance use become a problem?
When consumed in excess, alcohol and substance use can lead to lasting, long-term damage to the body and the brain. Their effects can also pose a danger not only to you, but to others as well if you choose to drive while under the influence. Illegal, unregulated substances such as cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamines, among others, are particularly harmful due to their addictive qualities. Dependence can ensue, leading to addiction.
However, dependence can also occur with legal substances such as alcohol, cannabis, prescription and over-the-counter medications. It is especially important to pay attention to their consumption as they are more easily accessible.
Alcohol and Substance Use in the COVID-19 Pandemic
The pandemic has affected many people’s mental health and well-being. An increase in fear and stress due to COVID-19-related issues such as hygiene, financial issues, and social isolation, can lead to an increase of alcohol and substance use.
How can I regulate my alcohol consumption and substance use?
Excessive alcohol and substance use often stems from stress and other overwhelming emotions such as fear and anxiety. The first thing to do is to take care of your mental health! Practice self-care and consider engaging in healthier coping options such as exercise and reaching out to a loved one.
If you want to quit but are having difficulty doing so by yourself, your doctor can help determine the best treatment options for you. You may also consider reaching out to one of the organizations below for more information:
Alcohol and Substance Use Resources
Connex Ontario provides a variety of health information services related to alcohol and substance use, as well as mental illness and gambling.
They can also be contacted by phone: 1-866-531-2600
Good2Talk provides free, anonymous counselling and referrals for addictions to post-secondary students in Ontario.
Wellness Together Canada is a free service for anyone looking for support for mental health and substance use concerns.
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) gives further insight into the symptoms of addiction, the causes, the proceedings of treatment, and more.