Substance abuse, how you can spot it

Substance abuse is a serious problem. It’s when you excessively or incorrectly use alcohol, prescription medicine, and other substances that may be legal or illegal. Though the terms are often interchanged, substance abuse and addiction are different. A person with substance abuse problems can quit or alter their unhealthy behavior. In comparison, addiction is a disease that a person can’t stop, even if it’s causing them harm. 

Causes of substance abuse

It can be due to several reasons, including genetic vulnerability, environmental stressors, social pressures, individual personality characteristics, and psychiatric problems. The substances in question include:

  • Alcohol
  • Marijuana
  • Prescription medicines, such as pain pills, stimulants, or anxiety pills
  • Methamphetamine
  • Cocaine
  • Opiates
  • Hallucinogens
  • Inhalants

All of the above substances aren’t illegal. There are communities, cities, and states where some of them are exceptional and illegal. For example, marijuana is a cultural and religious substance in some communities. Furthermore, states are beginning to legalize marijuana for medical and recreational use. At the same time, there are needed communities that abhor marijuana and states that consider it illegal.

How to spot a substance use problem

Initially, you may think you are in control whenever you consume the substance. You may even be adhering to the dosage requirement. But over time, you will find yourself taking more of the substance for the same feeling or effect. Recognizing substance abuse is important because it can easily lead to addiction. Some signs that you have a problem include;

  • Lack of interest in things that you found interesting 
  • Constantly changing friends
  • Lack of self-care 
  • Finding yourself more alone than you used to be
  • Change in how much (less or more) you eat
  • Odd sleeping hours
  • Friction with family or at work
  • Switch quickly from feeling good and bad
  • Strong cravings and desire for the substance
  • Withdrawal symptoms when you try to reduce or stop the use of the substance
  • Putting significant effort and time into getting, using, and recovering from the substance. 

Substance abuse can affect your social and work life. It can devolve into financial problems and addiction. If you or a person you know needs help with substance abuse, contact Lighthouse Health now.

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