Recognizing the Signs You May Have a Substance Abuse Problem

By  //  March 4, 2020

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As humans, it’s quite difficult for us to admit having made a mistake. It becomes even more difficult to admit that we’re suffering from an issue, especially when it’s something as big as substance abuse.

There’s nothing we’d rather do than deny this fact and keep ourselves in a state of oblivion. Nevertheless, the more we stay in denial, the worse our lives will get. It is undoubtedly better to realize the signs and identify the problem as soon as possible, while we’re still able to consciously do something about it. 

While admitting to having a substance abuse problem is an overwhelming fear to realize, there are, luckily, numerous treatment and recovery programs that provide the right treatment, support, and care for those seeking help.

Rehabilitation experts at explain that the first step toward recovery is recognizing that you have a problem and deciding to make a change.

Additionally, they point out that there are countless methods to deal with a substance abuse problem, combining both scientific methods of detoxification, and holistic approaches of acupuncture, aromatherapy, creative therapy, and other wellness programs. 

In case you’re still not sure about whether or not you need professional help, here are the signs you need to watch out for.

1. Intense Cravings

It’s okay to indulge in a drink every now and then. However, if you find yourself constantly thinking of the next drink you’ll have, you should pay attention to this craving, as it may be a sign that you’re on the edge of addiction. It’s even more dangerous when these cravings include drugs, whether illegal drugs or certain prescription medications.

The problem with substance abuse is that it gets you addicted to a certain substance before you even build any real physical addiction. It starts with these intense cravings that keep your mind thinking about them. If you give in to these cravings, the problem progresses. 

2. Tolerance

Craving after craving, you’ll start to realize that something is different. The same dose you get isn’t enough to give you the high you’re seeking any more.

This forces you to take more doses, more frequently, in order to reach the high you’ve become addicted to. The more doses you get over a shorter period of time, the higher the tolerance you build, and it, unfortunately, goes on in a vicious circle. 

3. Physical Dependence

At this point, your body has become dependent on the substance to function normally. It may seem that you can’t even accomplish a task or even go through your day without your daily intake of nicotine, for instance.

You’ve become too dependent on the substance you’re abusing that any kind of deficiency throws you off-balance; your body needs it in order to function.

4. Withdrawal Symptoms

At one point, you might have tried quitting cold turkey. In fact, this can be possible for certain drugs that cause minimal withdrawal symptoms, but not so much for others with much more pronounced symptoms.

Substances that don’t lead to physical dependence mainly result in psychological withdrawal symptoms: agitation, anger, depression, or anxiety. Substances that cause physical dependence, however, result in more serious withdrawal symptoms like sweating, irregular heartbeats, and confusion; and they may also lead to alerting symptoms of respiratory failure and coma. 

5. Neglecting Responsibilities

When substance abuse starts becoming serious, it’s very common to find the affected individuals running away from their responsibilities. After all, substance abuse gives a very tempting escape road to run away from real life. The more the addict abuses a substance, the more the responsibilities build up, which makes them want to run away even further. 

6. Changing Behavior

It’s also very common to notice a change in behavior following substance dependence. It’s not uncommon to find a substance user giving up most of their possessions to acquire more drugs.

They start to engage in risky behavior, which only keeps on getting worse the more they abuse the substance.

They realize that their behavior has become frowned upon in society, so they start withdrawing from their loved ones and those around them. The only new relationships they make seem to be with those who support their behavior – usually other substance users or their dealers. 

7. Deteriorating Life Aspects

As a result of the behavior and isolation habits of addicts, their whole life starts falling apart; they become financially drained, or unstable at least, their work becomes compromised, their relationships suffer, their hobbies are lost, and their connection with reality is destroyed. In a nutshell, the substance takes control over their lives.

Having a substance abuse problem is never easy to admit, but it’s always the first and toughest step to take. While it can be tempting to live in denial, realizing the symptoms early on can give you a great head start in minimizing the damage.