Drug abuse and addiction

There are many different reasons why people experiment with drugs, some try drugs out of curiosity, to fit in with friends, to release feelings of anxiety, depression or to simply switch off from the pressures of life. 


Drug abuse and addiction happens over a period of time. If your drug of choice is affecting your life, home, work, school, family and relationships then it is likely you have a drug abuse or an addiction problem


Addiction differs from person to person; your mental health, genes, family and social environment all play a role in addiction.

There are some risk factors that are likely to increase your vulnerability to addiction:

Family history of drug use,  Abuse,  neglect or other traumatic experiences in childhood,  Mental health disorders, depression and anxiety and Early drug use

Drug abuse and the Brain

Drug and alcohol addiction counselling

Addiction is a complex disorder characterized by compulsive drug use. All substances share one thing, Regular and repeated use can alter the way the brain looks and functions.


  • Taking a recreational drug causes a surge in levels of dopamine in your brain, which trigger feelings of pleasure. Your brain remembers these feelings and wants them repeated.

  • If you become addicted, the substance takes on the same significance as other survival behaviour’s, such as eating and drinking.

  • Changes in your brain interfere with your ability to think clearly, exercise good judgment, control your behaviour, and feel normal without drugs.

  • Whether you’re addicted to inhalants, heroin, Xanax, speed, or Vicodin, the uncontrollable craving to use grows more important than anything else, including family, friends, career, and even your own health and happiness.

  • The urge to use is so strong that your mind finds many ways to deny or rationalize the addiction. You may drastically underestimate the quantity of drugs you’re taking, how much it impacts your life, and the level of control you have over your drug use.


With the right treatment and support you can gain control of your life again. Family members and loved ones often have many questions about addictions, counselling can help those in recovery and their support network.

There are many places that you can get help from, you don’t have to do this alone. Support is essential; recovering from drug addiction is much easier if you have people you can rely for comfort and encouragement. 

Online Resources to Help

Places to call

Lifeline Telephone Crisis Support (24 hours) 13 11 14


Kids Helpline (24 hours) 1800 55 1800


SANE Helpline 1800 18 SANE (7236)


Suicide Call Back Service (24 hours) 1300 659 467


Alcohol and Drug Information Service 1800 422 599


Men’s Line Australia (24 hours) 1300 789 978


NSW Poisons Information Centre 131 126


Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault helpline 1800 200 526


NSW Rape Crisis Centre 24/7 Counselling 1800 424 017


Salvation Army Care Line (24 hours) 1300 363 622


Suicide Prevention and Crisis Intervention (24 hours) 

1300 363 622


Salvation Army Hope Line for suicide bereavement support 1300 467 354


Dads in Distress DIDSS operates a 24/7 crisis line to support men around the clock and around the country1300 853 437