When Is Substance Abuse a Problem?
Substance abuse starts from mild stages where the person only uses the drugs for legally accepted purposes and can stop at will. When a person continues with the inappropriate use of drugs despite the harmful physical and emotional impact the substance is causing, they are at risk of increased tolerance and addiction.
An addiction which is a mental illness is the last stage of substance abuse. At this stage, the patient uses life-threatening amounts of drugs compulsively. This results from the long-term effects of the drug on the brain. There isn’t a specific time to start substance abuse treatment. You can easily predict the drinking or substance abuse patterns of a loved one and seek help as early as possible.
Here are a few signs to watch for.
Experience Withdrawal without Drugs
Substance abuse withdrawal is characterized by irritability, stress, restlessness, insomnia, and anxiety. The things that once made you happy like hobbies and family, no longer make sense when you’re not high. Withdrawal symptoms may last up to one month after discontinuing the use of a particular drug.
Covering up Drug Use
Most addicts know how their negative behaviors impact people around them and often want to quit. But living without their addiction can sometimes feel empty, or some might be ashamed to ask for help.
If you notice a loved one might be a substance addict but is lying about it, try to point out the issue positively. Addicts hate confrontation so try to stay positive and less controlling when you point out their behaviors.
Neglecting Other Responsibilities
When addiction kicks in, priorities can quickly shift from being a goal-oriented person to obsessing with being ‘high’. This happens because drugs change the way a person’s brain perceives and reacts to different events.
Suffer Financial Difficulties
People who suffer from addiction tend to be less productive at work or might end up being fired. Families of addicted persons suffer money problems as well since treating addiction may be costly.
If you’re a parent of an addicted or recovering child, you can relate the frequent disagreements between you and your child. Most times, you’re not sure whether to give financial support since you may be helping them get drugs.
There’s an endless list of health conditions caused by substance addiction. Here are a few diseases that result from unresolved substance addiction;
· Liver damage
· Kidney damage
· Respiratory diseases ( pneumonia)
· Cardiovascular diseases( respiratory syncytial virus infection, acute respiratory distress syndrome)
· Gastrointestinal problems (pancreatitis, reflux esophagitis, nutritional deficiencies)
Efforts to Quit are a Failure
Addicts lie to themselves a lot, and among them lies they tell themselves is that they can quit anytime. You can’t ‘just stop’ using drugs because of the hormonal imbalances they cause the body. Quitting addiction at an advanced stage needs professional help. Doing it alone is a high risk of relapse.
If a loved one has a substance abuse problem, encourage them to enroll in one of the rehabs for substance abuse and seek professional help. You should also get help on how to cope with their addiction and healing process for positive outcomes.