Drug Addiction Counselling Services in Calgary

Drug Addiction Counselling is available at Sana Psychological for those unsure if they have an issue with drugs of any kind, those who know they have an issue and are starting to explore treatment, and those who have been in long-term recovery. Individual outpatient therapy is offered here for individuals struggling with substance use and for family members and loved ones who are currently impacted by another person’s unhealthy relationship with substance use. 

Treatment can be short-term (3-6 months) or long-term (6+ months), depending on needs and preference. Typically, long-term support is recommended as addiction involving drugs is a chronic condition and impacts many other aspects of health. However, if this is not possible, then we will work to provide you with coping strategies and points of reflection that you can carry forward. The initial session or two involves getting to know your background information, challenges, and strengths. 

Recommendations and strategies will be provided along the way, and collaboratively we will discuss treatment goals and action steps. The hope is to support you in improving your overall mental health, relationships, and quality of life. 

What is Drug Addiction?

Drug Addiction is typically defined by the individual feeling like one has lost control of their drug use, that it has become unmanageable, and/or it is causing harm(s) to the person’s life without willingness or inability to cut down or stop.

While psychiatrists and psychologists have developed many classification criteria, another indicator of drug abuse is when the individual using substances says there is a problem. Formal assessments are not provided at Sana Psychological, but an informal assessment of how things are going will occur during the sessions. 

Types of Drug Addiction

Opioid Addiction

Traditionally, opioids were any substance naturally derived from the poppy plant, referring to synthetic substances. Today, the term opioid is typically used to encompass both classes of substance. Opioids include heroin, oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, and more. Opioids slow the system down, provide a relaxing effect, and can reduce or remove physical pain. The dangers with opioids are an overdose that causes the system to shut down completely.

Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol, though legal and widely available, remains the #1 misused or abused substance. It causes the most damage to people and society through lost productivity, motor vehicle accidents, and health-related deaths from certain cancers and cardiovascular conditions. The detoxification process from alcohol can be fatal (unlike opioid withdrawal, which is uncomfortable but not lethal). Therefore, someone who has been a chronic user of alcohol, consumes in high quantities, or has experienced severe withdrawal symptoms in the past may require medically supervised detoxification.

This service is not offered at Sana Psychological but before and after drug addictions counselling can be provided as well as support in finding a detoxification site.

Cannabis Addiction

Cannabis Addiction is still a hot-button topic in certain environments as people debate whether it is or isn’t a condition. At Sana Psychological, we employ a framework of looking at Addiction as a holistic condition that can affect all aspects of life and behaviour, including marijuana use. Wherever you sit, we will help you explore your goals with use and support you in moving in that direction. Cannabis has been shown to have a number of effects on memory, mood, sleep, appetite, motivation and other systems and can reach a point where it feels like it is impacting quality of life. If this is the case for you, or if you are wondering whether changes to your consumption are needed, Sana Psychological can help. 

Prescription Medication Addiction

Many prescription medications can become problematic for people and lead to abuse or dependence. This may include prescription painkillers, sleep medication, stimulants, and more. Sana Psychological can help you explore your goals around this and support you in advocating for change with your prescribing physician while exploring other ways to support yourself physically, mentally, emotionally, relationally, and spiritually. 

Other Drugs Addiction

This can include stimulant drugs like cocaine or methamphetamine, designer or party drugs like MDMA/Ecstasy, caffeine, nicotine, sugar, or any other substance not mentioned that you are struggling to have a healthy relationship with. Sana Psychological can support you in identifying how to move towards your goals. 

Common Signs of Drug Addiction or Substance Dependence

It can be difficult to determine if drug use is unhealthy or has crossed the line into addiction. This is not something that you have to figure out on your own. 

Let Sana Psychological help you determine where things are, and provide recommendations accordingly. This is an informal checklist to help you get a general idea of the extent of your or your loved one’s challenges with drug use. Read through the following list and answer whether the statement applies to you or not.

Some red flags of problematic alcohol use include:

Causes of Drug Addiction

Drug use problems are a combination of nature and nurture working together with one’s environment, history, genetics, exposure, stress level, and other internal and external factors. They can start in younger years or not manifest until a person is older. They can start when a medication is prescribed that builds tolerance and dependence. They can start during a particularly difficult time in one’s life. They can start during a particularly good time in someone’s life. There is no one pathway to addiction, and most people who find themselves struggling never thought they would get to that point. If you feel you are at the point of a problem, you are certainly not alone, and you do not need to figure out the path forward in isolation.

Our Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction

Treatment for Those Suffering from Drug Addiction

The initial 1-2 sessions will involve getting to know you, your goals, what you have already tried, and what you would like support in trying. We want to know about all parts of you and your life, not just your relationship with drugs, in order to fully support the healthy life you would like to see for yourself. Drug Addiction Counselling is about much more than just the consumption of substances, as what led to drug use can be complex, and the impacts it has had on life can be multifaceted. Sana Psychological promotes a high quality of life, not just a change in substance use, and wants to help you get there. 

Paige Abbott, Registered Psychologist at Sana Psychological, has been trained in and incorporates elements of many therapies, including: Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Solution-Focused Therapy (SFT), Motivational Interviewing (MI), and Twelve Step Facilitation into her sessions as beneficial to you. Follow-up appointments generally involve a check-in to see presenting issues and immediate things that have come up that you may want to process, follow-up on any steps discussed in past appointments, followed by an in-depth exploration of challenges, patterns, and coping. Sessions are active and engaged as Paige likes to ask lots of questions and provide reflections, challenges, and collaboration. Sessions come from a non-judgmental, compassionate, empathetic place.

Support for Loved Ones

Drug Addiction Counselling may involve concerned family members or friends who have been impacted. They may come in individually for their own support and/or join some sessions or parts of sessions with the individual who has challenges with drugs. If you are a family member reading this and hoping your loved one will change, but you are not sure if they are ready, I encourage you to come in for yourself to look at your own mental health and recovery plan. Change in any member of a relational unit creates change for the whole unit, so perhaps change can start with you. Even if you feel that your personal changes are not having an impact on your loved one, it will provide you with the strength, resources, and ability to cope with an extremely difficult, draining, and challenging situation.

Why Choose Sana Psychological?

We hope you will choose Sana Psychological because you feel a fit in the messaging, approach, and goals with your own journey and attitude. The approach is collaborative, solution and change focused, and active. 

Sessions are offered in-person in Calgary, Alberta or by using Technology Assisted Counselling which can consist of phone or video sessions depending on need and preference. Cost is $200/session. Sessions are available to anyone who is in the province of Alberta at the time of appointment, as this is Paige Abbott’s jurisdiction of licensure. Virtual sessions can also be offered to individuals located in New Brunswick at the time of appointment. Payment options include cash, debit, credit card, e-transfer, and direct billing with a number of different insurance carriers. Drug counselling can be short or long-term, depending on your needs. 

Book An Appointment Today

It would be an honor and pleasure to meet with you and discuss your journey of change, regardless of where you are at. Scheduling an appointment can be done through the online scheduling system or by contacting us by email or phone for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions

Addiction will impact the brain differently depending on the substance(s) or behaviour(s) being misused. The National Institute on Drug Abuse has a lot of comprehensive information about how the brain is impacted by drugs. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has information about how alcohol affects the brain. Generally, people will find physiological, cognitive, emotional and social changes with addiction that can impact memory, motivation, mood, behaviour, and overall functioning.

I love this question as I greatly enjoy seeing others being proactive in their health. Most people have at least some genetic risk of addiction as very few families, and populations do not have this in their lineage somewhere. Being moderate or even abstaining from moodaltering substances and being thoughtful about self-care, reducing stress, and a healthy lifestyle can significantly impact whether one manifests addiction or not. 

If people are using drugs and some people around them are not, this creates a great deal of stress and pressure on the relational unit. Drug use can lead to isolation which further increases the harm to the individual using, and to their relationships and functioning. Drug use will be less detrimental to relationships if both people are users, but there are still increased risks for conflict, dysfunction, and harm.

No magic or surprises here; Drug Addiction Counselling involves honest, collaborative conversations where we look at changes you would like to make and steps you identify that will help you get there. The difference in counselling is having an empathetic, neutral party where you can evaluate your process in an unbiased, unpressured way, different than doing it with invested family or friends. 

Counselling does not play a role in change for everybody who is struggling with problem drug use. However, for some, it helps provide accountability, a safe space to explore options, and support in navigating some of the trickier and more uncomfortable parts of life. You are still the main agent of change, and the addiction counsellor is there to support you along the way.

There is no one “best” or “right” type of therapy for substance dependence or addiction. In fact, the type of therapy is only a small part of the equation, in addition to inherent client factors, the environment in which change is occurring, and therapist factors. Fit, established by a feeling of comfort, safety, and trust with the therapist, is a very important component of change. Once this has been created, the types of therapies used can be flexible and applied as needed to your unique situation. 

Some people refer to Addiction Treatment when talking about residential treatment programs or a more structured Intensive Outpatient Program. Often the components of the therapy in these treatments will be similar to what happens in Addiction Counselling, just without the intense time frames, residential stay, and everything that comes with that (housing, food, recreational programming, group therapy, etc.). All of these pathways to recovery are treatment for the same condition but with different levels of intensity. The needs will depend on the person and their situation.