People who abuse substances — also known as substance abusers — have a compulsive need to use alcohol or drugs.
In other words, these individuals cannot control their usage and abuse them in ways that are dangerous or harmful to them. There are many types of substances that people can abuse, but the most common include alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, opioids (e.g., heroin and fentanyl), amphetamines (e.g., meth and crystal meth), benzodiazepines (e.g., Xanax and Valium), hallucinogens (e.g., LSD and magic mushrooms), and tobacco products like cigarettes and chewing tobacco.
While substance abuse is not uncommon among teens, teenagers who engage in such behavior are at an increased risk of developing an addiction later in life. This article explores what substance abuse is, its warning signs, related risks as well as treatment options for recovery if you or someone you love is struggling with it.
There are many different types of substance abuse. Some of the most common types include:
There are many risk factors for substance abuse. The most common risk factors include:
There are several signs that someone you know may be struggling with substance abuse. Some of the most common signs include:
If you’ve ever had a friend, family member, or even colleague that has struggled with substance abuse at some point in their life, you know just how important it is to understand the risks and warning signs of drug and alcohol abuse.
In fact, substance abuse is one of the most common causes of failed performance, dismissal and termination from most employers. It can lead to a number of negative consequences for an employee including: increased risk of contracting a disease such as hepatitis or HIV/AIDS; an inability to perform optimally; interpersonal conflict; legal troubles; and cost to the employer due to things like lost work time, medical bills, counseling costs, etc.
However, with the right knowledge about substance abuse and its effects on the body and mind, you can better identify individuals who are at risk so that they can reach out for help before it’s too late.
Some of the more common consequences of drug abuse and alcohol abuse include:
When an individual regularly consumes alcohol or drugs, it causes changes in their brain chemistry and the amount of chemicals in their bloodstream.
These substances alter the way their brain functions and can lead to long-term physical effects. Substance abuse can cause:
There is an increased cost of living associated with drug misuse and the abuse of illicit drugs. A person who abuses alcohol or drugs on a regular basis may need to spend more money on alcohol or drugs than someone who does not abuse substances.
This can lead to financial problems, such as going into debt. Moreover, a person who abuses drugs or alcohol may not be able to pay their bills on time or keep up with other financial responsibilities.
Wheb thge abuse if an illegal drug, prescriptions drugs, or other drugs takes a toll on physical and mental health, the costs of treating these health problems an also become a burdon.
If you suspect that someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, the first step is to approach them regarding the issue.
Many people who struggle with substance abuse don’t realize they have a problem and will appreciate your concern. When approaching the person, try to do so in a non-judgmental way.
Focus on the fact that you care about them and would like to help them. If the person is receptive to your advice, help them find a treatment program. There are many treatment programs available, including in-person treatment programs and online treatment programs.
Be patient with the person as they go through treatment. Recovery is a long and difficult process, but it can be done. And once the person completes treatment, you can help them maintain their sobriety by showing them support, encouraging them, and reminding them that you care.
People who struggle with substance use disorders have an unhealthy relationship with drugs, alcohol or other substances. They can’t stop using these substances even when they want to, and it causes problems in their lives.
A person has a substance use disorder if their habits interfere with school, work, or home life; put them at risk for disease or injury; lead to risky situations; or end up hurting themselves or others.
If you think that you or someone you know might have a substance use disorder, read on to learn more. A qualified treatment specialist can help. So can friends and family members who care about your recovery.
A person who is drug- or alcohol-dependent is unable to control their use of those substances. They experience withdrawal symptoms when they don’t use their drug of choice.
These symptoms are a sign that a person’s body has become dependent on the drug. People who are drug- or alcohol-dependent experience cravings for their drug of choice.
If a person goes too long without their drug of choice, they start experiencing withdrawal symptoms. These can be severe and can make it difficult for them to function.
There are signs that you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse. The signs of a substance use disorder include:
Some people who struggle with substance use disorders also struggle with mental health disorders. This is common.
Sometimes people with mental health disorders use drugs or alcohol to self-medicate. They may not realize they have a mental health disorder that requires treatment. Some of the most common co-occurring disorders include anxiety disorders, mood disorders, and schizophrenia.
People with mental health disorders and substance use disorders may need treatment for both conditions. But they may not be able to access treatment for their mental health disorder if they are using drugs or alcohol. This is why it’s important to get help as soon as possible.
An alcohol use disorder is a substance use disorder related to alcohol. Alcohol is a legal, but addictive drug that many people drink in moderation. But some people drink alcohol to the point of excess.
They drink more than they intended to or more often than they intended to. This is referred to as an “alcohol use disorder.” People with an alcohol use disorder crave and desperately want to drink alcohol.
They think about it, plan their day around it, and make excuses to drink. An alcohol use disorder can cause many issues in a person’s life. It can damage their overall health and even shorten their lifespan. It can also cause relationship issues and problems at work.
A cannabis use disorder is a substance use disorder related to cannabis, or marijuana. Cannabis is a plant that people can use for both medical and recreational purposes.
While many people don’t experience any negative effects from using cannabis, some people become addicted to it. They crave and desperately want to use cannabis.
They may experience cravings when they don’t have access to cannabis. If a person goes too long without cannabis, they may experience withdrawal symptoms.
A cocaine use disorder is a substance use disorder related to cocaine. Cocaine is an addictive stimulant drug that can cause serious health issues.
People with a cocaine use disorder crave and desperately want to use the drug. They think about it and plan their day around it. They may also experience cravings when they don’t have access to cocaine.
If a person goes too long without cocaine, they may experience withdrawal symptoms. A cocaine use disorder can affect many areas of a person’s life. It can damage their overall health and even shorten their lifespan. It can also cause relationship issues and problems at work.
An opioid use disorder is a substance use disorder related to opioid drugs. These include prescription painkillers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and fentanyl; heroin; or other opioids that people can abuse.
The most dangerous prescription opioids are synthetic drugs, many of which are many times more potent than the more famous recreational drug heroin. People with an opioid use disorder crave and desperately want to use opioids.
They become obsessed with the next time they can get their hands on opioids. They may also experience cravings when they don’t have access to opioids. If drug abusers go too long without opioids, they may experience withdrawal symptoms. These can be severe and may cause the person to seek out another dose of opioids as a way to relieve the symptoms.
A methamphetamine use disorder is a substance use disorder related to methamphetamine. Meth, sometimes known as crystal meth, is a highly addictive stimulant drug that affects the central nervous system.
People who use meth may become addicted after just a few uses. They may develop a tolerance for the drug, meaning that they need more of it to get the same high. They may also experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop taking meth. Symptoms of a meth use disorder include intense cravings for the drug, restlessness, anxiety, insomnia, weight loss, and other physical health problems. These symptoms can persist even when a person has stopped using meth.
Substance abuse is a serious problem that can have devastating effects on the lives of people who abuse substances, as well as their loved ones. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, it is important to get help right away. There are many treatment options available and most people who seek treatment experience a positive outcome. By approaching the person with compassion and helping them find treatment, you can play a significant role in their recovery journey.
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