It can be hard to tell if you or a loved one is experiencing substance abuse. Drug and alcohol addiction often sneak up on people, and by the time they realize there’s a problem, it’s usually too late. That’s why it’s essential to be aware of the signs of substance abuse so that you can get help before it’s too late. Here are five signs to look out for.
1. You Can’t Stop Using
If you find that you can’t stop using alcohol or drugs even when you want to, that’s a sign that you might be experiencing substance abuse. Addiction is a disease, and just like with any other illness, it’s hard to recover without professional help.
Another sign of substance abuse is if you find yourself using more and more of your drug or alcohol of choice. This is because as your body becomes tolerant to the substance, you need more and more of it to get the same effect. This is another tell-tale sign that should urge you to get professional help.
Regardless of how much you’re using, if you find that you can’t control your use, that’s a sign of abuse. If you’ve tried to cut back or stop using but find that you can’t, it’s time to seek help.
2. You’re Neglecting Your Responsibilities
If you’re neglecting your responsibilities at work, school, or home because of your drug or alcohol use, that’s another sign that you might have a problem. Addicts often put their substance of choice above everything else in their lives, and as a result, other important aspects of their lives suffer.
For example, you might miss work or school or neglect your family and friends. This could be as simple as blowing off plans with friends to drink or getting high instead. Sometimes, this can even lead to full-blown legal problems, such as DUI charges.
Either way, if you find that your drug or alcohol use is interfering with your ability to meet your responsibilities, professional help is necessary.
3. Your Relationships Are Suffering
Substance abuse can also take a toll on your personal relationships. If you find that your friends and family constantly complain about your drinking or drug use, or if they’ve stopped spending time with you, that’s a sign that your addiction is out of control.
You might start fights with loved ones when you’re under the influence or neglect your partner in favor of your substance of choice. There are even more severe cases when substance abuse leads to violence and domestic abuse.
If you’re starting to lose people you care about because of your addiction, don’t hesitate to seek help. Even just coming clean with your partner about your addiction can be a massive step in the right direction.
4. You’re Acting Out of Character
People who are struggling with substance abuse often act out of character. If you find yourself doing things that you would never normally do—like stealing or lying—that’s a sign that your addiction is starting to take over your life.
For instance, you might start stealing money to buy drugs or lying to your family about where you are and what you’re doing. This is often a result of the shame and guilt that comes with addiction, as addicts will go to great lengths to hide their problem.
In addition, you might start taking risks that you wouldn’t typically take, such as driving while under the influence or engaging in risky sexual behavior. This is because addiction can lead to impaired judgment and decision-making.
5. You’re Isolating Yourself
Addicts often start to isolate themselves from the people in their lives who care about them the most. They may stop hanging out with friends and family and instead spend all their time using drugs or drinking alone.
Being alone will just aggravate whatever symptoms you’re experiencing and make it harder for you to recover. That being said, reaching out to a reputable addiction treatment center is the best way to get started on the road to recovery. At a treatment center, you’ll be surrounded by people who understand what you’re going through and can offer support and guidance. You’ll also have access to the best evidence-based treatments and therapies to help you overcome your addiction.
If you’re noticing any of these signs in yourself, it’s time to seek help from a mental health expert. Substance abuse is a severe problem, but there is hope for recovery. By accepting that there is a problem to be fixed, you’re already on the right track. From there, professional help can give you the tools you need to get your life back on track.