Signs You May Suffer From Substance Abuse and How to Overcome It

 Signs You May Suffer From Substance Abuse and How to Overcome It

Many people use alcohol and other mind-altering substances to deal with stress or to make it easier to socialize. While having an occasional drink isn’t too much cause for concern, you might find yourself wondering if you are dealing with an addiction if you use drugs or alcohol regularly. Watching out for the signs of a substance abuse disorder helps you know when to seek treatment.

Using Substances to Deal With a Mental Health Condition

The connection between substance abuse and co-existing mental health conditions is clear. You may have a higher risk of developing a mental health condition if you use substances regularly, and you might also be more likely to abuse drugs or alcohol if you struggle with depression, anxiety, or PTSD. 

Take a moment to think about how you’re feeling before you engage in substance misuse. For example, choosing to use opioids to block out memories of a traumatic event is a sign that you could be self-medicating your symptoms. 

Using counseling and medication to treat your underlying mental health conditions can help you stop using drugs or alcohol for temporary relief from your symptoms.

Experiencing Extreme Withdrawal Symptoms

You might have already tried to stop using drugs or alcohol but found it impossible to cope with your withdrawal symptoms. Excessive alcohol use, opioids, and other types of drugs can cause your body to develop a physical dependency on the substances. 

If your body is dependent upon the chemicals, then you might find yourself dealing with withdrawal symptoms that can include extreme nausea, tremors, and headaches. You might also have intense cravings that are impossible to overcome or emotional symptoms that include feelings of anxiety. 

Having withdrawal symptoms is a clear sign that you could benefit from using medication to help you stop using substances. MAT uses medication to help your brain cope with no longer receiving stimulation from drugs or alcohol so that you feel better mentally and physically during your recovery.

Having Legal or Financial Problems

As substance abuse increases, you might find that there is no way to avoid getting into trouble with the law or at work. Driving while intoxicated charges are a sure sign that you’ve started engaging in risky behavior. 

If you are buying street drugs, then you also might get charged with the possession or distribution of illegal substances. Once your need to fulfill your cravings overrides the natural desire to stay out of jail, you know that your substance abuse is controlling your decisions. The same also applies to being in financial distress. 

Drugs and alcohol are expensive, and having an addiction can cause you to prioritize buying them over meeting your other needs such as paying a mortgage or buying food. You could also lose your job if you are unable to show up on time and be productive.

Hearing Your Friends and Family Members Express Concern

Most people won’t think too much about someone having a drink or two on the weekend, but your loved ones might start to question your habits if you overindulge on a regular basis. 

Your friends and family members might also express worry about you having an overdose or getting arrested if you use hard drugs such as heroin or cocaine. In some cases, your loved ones might choose to hold a formal intervention where they talk to you about getting help. 

However, you’ll also want to take their casual comments seriously. If someone is worried about you, then there is a good chance that you’re putting your safety at risk with your substance abuse.

Realizing It Is Time to Make a Change

Living with a substance abuse disorder is exhausting. At some point, you may just decide that it isn’t worth worrying about getting in trouble with the law or having an overdose. Your loved ones might also set boundaries that include refusing to help you until you seek treatment. 

However you arrive at this point, you can rest assured that you don’t have to overcome your substance abuse alone. Reaching out to an addiction treatment professional puts you in touch with people who can help you develop an effective treatment plan. 

Combining medication with counseling and opportunities to engage in wholesome sober activities helps you to start laying down the foundation for a lifetime of sobriety.

Closing Thoughts

The realization that you have a substance abuse disorder might leave you struggling with figuring out what to do next. Fortunately, there is a wealth of resources available to help you get sober. As you embark upon the road to recovery, remember that sticking to your treatment plan gives you the strength to overcome cravings and improve your mental and physical health.


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