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  • 10 Signs You Might Have Substance Abuse Issues

    As a substance abuse counselor, many times people ask me: “so when do you think my drinking/drug use is defined as a problem?” That is a very difficult question to answer most of the time, because it is very individualized to some respect.
    If I have to go with the DSM (Diagnostic Manual for Mental Health Issues) diagnosis then I would have to say that two main features are TOLERANCE and WITHDRAWAL. You will hear these two words many times when you try to differentiate between substance abuse and substance dependence.

    As someone who had been working in substance abuse treatment facilities in the past 4 years of my life I have to say that it is very individualized, and it really affects every person a different way. However, at the same time, there is a certain natural progression that tends to happen with most substance abusers, and sadly it all leads to how they say in the rooms: “jails, institutions, or death.” A great video about the life of alcoholics you can find if you click here.
    Most people would tell you that the first drug they ever experimented with was either alcohol or weed. There are not many cases of people who went straiht to hard core drugs. Sadly enough many people start their journey with addiction as a result of an injury and being prescribed pain killers without proper guidance to the risk associated with taking them. Then, when you run ur of funds you turn to cheaper street drugs to help you feel normal, and avoid withdrawal.

    To help you think if you or someone you care about is having substance abuse issues I gathered a warning signs list:

    1. In the past 12-month have you drank/used drugs up to the point that you failed to fulfil your obligations at work/school/home? 
    2. Have you risked yourself or others by using while driving or something along those lines?
    3. Have you had any legal issues as a result of your use?
    4. Did you find yourself being occupied with finding ways to get money to buy your drug of choice?
    5. Did you find yourself continuing to use despite having significant, recurring social or interpersonal problems (fight with a loved one, physical fights, etc.)
    6. Did you try cutting back on your own, and haven’t been able to
    7. Has anyone you care about (more than 1 person) told you they think you have a problem?
    8. Do you ever feel like your morals, values, or just the way you are is no longer the person you used to be and you compromise in related to using?
    9. TOLERANCE: Do you find yourself having to use more of the same substance in order to achieve the same feeling you used to feel before?
    10. Withdrawal: Do you find yourself drinking/using only to make sure your body doesn’t experience withdrawal? (i.e., shakes, tremors, muscle cramps, diarrhea, nausea, hot/cold sweats, etc.)
    This is just a short list of possible substance related issues. If you, or someone you care about is having these issues, I would strongly recommend contacting a professional, before the situation gets any worst. Addiction is a disease that needs treatment, like any other disease. It is not an easy thing to do to battle addiction, and reaching out for help is the first step in getting better. Remember that substance abuse issues are normally not the real problem. They are the solution for an underlying issue that you might be facing. It could be depression, anxiety, past trauma, life stressors, and many others. Look for the help you need to get back on track. 
    You can reach me on my website or by phone at 561-571-1557. I would be happy to help you find the best way of treatment, either by outpatient services with me or by finding a good treatment facility center that would best fit your needs.