How can I know that my loved one has a problem with substances?
It may be difficult to determine whether or not you need help for substance use disorders. The haze of drugs and alcohol, along with the denial that often accompanies substance use, can make it hard to make that decision.
The following are some signs and symptoms of a substance use disorder that may signal you need help:
- Tolerance: You need to consume more and more of a drug each time to achieve the desired effect.
- Continued use despite negative consequences: You continue to use drugs or alcohol despite negative emotional, physical, financial or social consequences.
- Withdrawal: As the effects of drugs or alcohol wear off, you may experience symptoms of withdrawal including: anxiety, shakiness or trembling, sweating, nausea and vomiting, insomnia, irritability, fatigue, headaches, etc.
- Denial: You become defensive when asked about your substance use.
- Secrecy: You begin to hide your substance use from your family and friends.
- Mood Swings: You begin to experience rapid or uncharacteristic mood swings.
- Cravings: You start to obsessively think about acquiring and using your drug(s) of use.
- Risk Taking: You are more likely to take serious risks in order to obtain your drug(s) of use.
- Loss of Control: You have lost control over the amount and frequency of your substance use.
These are just a few of the signs of substance use disorders. If you have experienced even some of the above-mentioned signs, please seek help. Substance use disorders are chronic, progressive and can be fatal when left untreated. This means that over time, it gets worse, never better. The time to get help is now.