Home > Recovery > Conditions > Substance Abuse

Substance Abuse


Freeing oneself from the tangled web of substance abuse allows the heart and mind to open to new possibilities. Without treatment, the cycle of imprisonment never ends.

substance abuse treatment los angeles pic

The line between substance abuse (using illegal drugs or using legal drugs inappropriately) and addiction (when someone can’t control the urge to use drugs) is thin. Often, abuse leads to addiction, which is characterized by actual changes in one’s brain structure that influence how the brain works. Alcohol, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, cannabis, cocaine, and opiates are just some of the substances that people abuse. Estimates suggest that some 2.6 million people actually have a dependence on both alcohol and drugs.

The signs or symptoms of drug abuse include:

  • Isolating from friends and family who don’t abuse substances.
  • Losing interest in working, which often results in being fired from a job.
  • Never having money and frequently borrowing cash from friends and family.
  • Getting careless about basic hygiene and exhibiting irregular sleep habits.
  • Frequently lying about one’s whereabouts, possessions, and friends.
  • Overuse of breath fresheners and room deodorizers to mask the use of substances.
  • Having blackout periods when you can’t remember where you were or what you were doing for several hours.

As substance abuse worsens, serious problems like poor judgment, forgetfulness, always feeling tired and run down, injuries due to intoxication, and risky behavior arise. Many also feel depressed or suicidal, have legal problems, and experience irreversible health problems like HIV, Hepatitis C, and damage to major organs. But substance abuse treatment can break the destructive cycle, especially at centers like CAST where substance abuse is looked at from an emotional, psychological, physical and mental perspective.

At the bottom of every person’s dependency, there is always pain. Discovering the pain and healing is an essential step in ending dependency.
— Chris Prentiss, The Alcoholism and Addiction Cure
Understanding the difference between healthy striving and perfectionism is critical to laying down the shield and picking up your life. Research shows that perfectionism hampers success. In fact, it’s often the path to depression, anxiety, addiction, and life paralysis.
— Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection

Here’s how one substance abuser changed her life around:

After being a drug addict for nearly 20 years, TK watched as her friends started dying from their substance abuse. While she hoped for an opportunity that would finally allow her to step away from the prison that had become her life, she also wondered if recovery was even possible, especially considering that she had stayed at several residential addiction treatment centers over the course of her addiction. When TK wound up at CAST Centers, she knew it was her last chance.

From the start, she noticed CAST was different. “All the residential treatment facilities I had been to before had me in a bubble where I was micro-managed,” she says, “but when I entered CAST, I was held accountable and empowered to make better choices.” She credits much of her successful substance abuse recovery to her individualized addiction treatment plan, which was customized to meet her specific needs and which taught her valuable life skills that she needed for independence.

Guided and encouraged by a team of support, TK now says, “My life is in balance. Everything is aligned and in proportion. I have a happy life and a great job, but before, I couldn’t even imagine what was possible for my life.”