In 2017 alone, data suggests that nearly 20 million Americans faced a struggle with some sort of substance abuse. Even though substance abuse is such a widespread issue, you can feel incredibly isolated and alone when you find yourself confronting your own struggles with addiction.
Thankfully, there are an abundance of resources available to those who live with addiction and struggle with substance abuse of all kinds. That being said, the first step to finding and receiving the help that you need is to come to terms with the fact that you do, in fact, have a substance abuse issue. This can be an incredibly difficult thing to admit to oneself, but it is a necessary stop on the road to healing and recovery.
Perhaps you feel like you have your drug or alcohol use “under control” and that it isn’t something that plays too heavy of a role in your life. Maybe you feel like anyone who has suggested to you that you might have a problem is simply being judgmental. If either of these scenarios sounds familiar, you are not alone in feeling this way.
That being said, it is always a good idea to be aware of the key signs of a substance abuse issue in yourself. Some honest self-evaluation and reflection on the matter can be more telling than you realize and might just provide you with the insight that you need about yourself to make some positive changes in your life.
With that in mind, here are some of the ways you can recognize a substance abuse issue to get the help and assistance you need to take control of your own life.
Lack of Control
By its very nature, a substance abuse issue results in a lack of control over your own life. Your thoughts, actions, and feelings have become geared towards the substance you are struggling with. Despite the fact that you might be able to convince yourself that you are the one in the driver’s seat, you still can’t stop thinking about the next time you might be able to access the substance you have been using.
This is part of the nature of addiction. Being unable to see yourself separated from the substance for too long means that it has become a controlling factor in your life. The only way to break free from such a scenario is to seek out help from qualified healthcare professionals, like those at Harris House.
Bear in mind that substance abuse is a medical condition. This means that breaking free from such a condition will require professional help and guidance and specific types of treatment.
Decreased Interest in Other Things
Another key sign that you might be facing a substance abuse issue is that you are experiencing a decreased interest in the other aspects of your life. If you were once the sort of person who loved to socialize and spend time with friends, for instance, and you are now more focused on the substance you have allowed into your life, this could indicate a bigger problem.
Many people first encounter substances when they are socializing with friends. They tell themselves that drugs or alcohol are just part of how they spend time with their friends. However, if you are now more interested in the substance than in spending time with your friends, that is a key sign that your priorities have shifted for the worst.
Moreover, feelings of resentment regarding your friends can arise when you develop a substance abuse issue. The people that you once trusted and enjoyed the company of are no longer important to you and instead inspire negative feelings surrounding your substance abuse.
Aside from socializing, a substance abuse issue can also make you feel less inclined to enjoy the other activities you once did. Things like sports, hobbies, and other interests are no longer important to you because they do not revolve around the substance that has taken control of your life.
Increased Reckless Behavior
When a person becomes solely focused on obtaining and using a certain substance, they are more inclined to act in a more reckless fashion than they would have otherwise done in order to do so. If you find that you no longer care about how, when, and where you are able to get your hands on a certain substance, this can be another key sign that you are indeed facing a substance abuse issue.
In extreme cases, people completely neglect personal safety when attempting to use a substance that has taken control of their lives. Things like sharing needles are obviously dangerous and can be life-threatening. However, the more important that a substance becomes in your life, the less inclined you will find yourself to care about just how you are able to access that substance.
Essentially, if you have been putting yourself in harm’s way in some way, shape, or form so that you can access a substance, then you might very well be struggling with a substance abuse issue.
Any time that a person allows a dangerous substance to enter into their lives in an increasingly harmful capacity, there are bound to be physical symptoms and side effects that accompany that substance abuse. These physical symptoms can range from the uncomfortable to the incapacitating. Moreover, another sign of addiction is that you no longer care about the physical side effects of using a substance. You are just simply fixated on the next time that you will be able to use it again.
Over time, you might also find that you need to increase the amount of the substance you are taking in order to feel its effects. This is a physical symptom that relates to your tolerance level for a substance. If your tolerance has increased to a point where you have to take more and more of a substance every time you use it, you can be doing irreparable harm to your body and should seek the help of a professional right away.