Binge-drinking on the weekend? Popping a few pills to get by? When does substance use qualify as substance abuse? Substance use becomes substance abuse when you use those substances in place of healthier coping skills and when your urges are compulsive and self-destructive. This spans the range from drinking, using drugs, and gambling to exercising, shopping, gaming, or engaging in self-destructive sexual behavior. 

Substance abuse transforms into addiction when the user develops a physiological and psychological dependence on the drug or behavior. If you find yourself escalating your behavior to repeatedly attain a more intense high, you may be experiencing addiction.

Many individuals who abuse drugs or alcohol or engage in self-destructive behaviors often have a co-occurring psychological condition that encourages substance use as a method of self-medication to cope with the distressing symptoms of the original condition. Effective counseling for addiction can identify underlying conditions — whether anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD, sexual or physical trauma, etc. — and challenge assumptions about the effectiveness of the substance as a valid coping mechanism.

A therapist will help a person evaluate how their substance use affects them (and others around them) and help the person identify effective alternatives for coping.

Signs and Symptoms

  • concealing substances
  • seeking out more intense highs
  • social withdrawal
  • legal involvement
  • missing payments
  • disheveled appearance
  • memory/hallucinatory disturbances

Meet our specialists

How does Lifeologie help?

Discuss your concerns with our client care team.

When you reach out to Lifeologie, you’ll be connected with one of our intake specialists. In a “call center?” No way. Our specialists are based in our local Lifeologie offices and know the counselors well. Their entire job is to learn about you and what you’re looking for and to match you with the counselor who will be the very best fit for your needs and preferences.

Find a counselor who is passionate about helping you reach your mental health goals.

Lifeologists are counselors, life coaches and overall wellness advocates who are experts and specialists in their craft. From EMDR to nutrition coaching, brain spotting to play therapy, we have you covered. Even our offices are carefully curated to feel modern, comfortable and inviting. Counseling at Lifeologie is not your typical counseling experience – in any way.

Receive continuous support and guidance as you go on your mental health journey.

Your counselor at Lifeologie will meet you wherever you are, whether you’re just starting in counseling for the first time ever… or returning to a life-long counseling journey after a break. Your Lifeologist will partner with you to meet your goals. Wherever you are, we come alongside and help you move forward!


about lifeologie

Lifeologie Institute was founded in 2000 with one goal in mind — to bring a fresh, innovative approach to the everyday problems of life. Creative solutions to stuck problems. With our unique multi-specialty, collaborative approach, Lifeologie helps individuals and families heal their wounds and break out of old, unhealthy patterns.