What Are the Signs of Substance Abuse?Family members may not initially notice when someone they love is under the influence, but as time goes on, the mood changes, and harmful behavior is prevalent. It may be very difficult to understand why someone in your family would turn to mind-altering substances, but it often happens when least expected.
How Does Substance Abuse Occur?Addiction is a serious disease. Although the decision may be voluntary, the effects that occur as a result of the addiction are not. If your loved one already has medical or mental issues, there may be more serious complications that you may not have imagined.
How Can I Understand Substance Abuse?Working with a mental health professional who can give you the information and resources you need to identify the issues surrounding substance abuse is a step in the right direction. Knowing the signs and patterns as the person abuses the substance will allow you to put a place in place for intervention that can help identify the triggers and symptoms. Signs of substance abuse includes:
- Changes in physical appearance
- Changes in pupils
- Bad odors emanating from the body, mouth or clothing
- Altered appetite
- Depending on the drug, a propensity for nosebleeds
- Altered performance at school or work
- Stealing or consistent need for money
- Withdrawn behavior
- Mood changes
- Inability to focus
Other Impacts of Substance AbuseA substance abuser goes through a number of changes besides the obvious. They tend to lose their tolerance for the drug of choice, which increases the need for more drugs. This has an impact on the loved one who wants to do the right thing and get them the help they need.When there is a loss of control, it affects the abuser and the family, which has hindering circumstances attached to it.
What to Do?It’s important to work with mental health care professionals to help get things back on track. Finding a facility that can properly assess the situation and provide approaches in a non-threatening way can help the loved one come to terms with the substance abuser, and will provide options to move forward. This can be a very difficult time; the abuser may become resentful and may still be in denial.
Finding Professional TreatmentThe right professional can work with the family and in individual sessions to make sure everyone is on the same page and has the tools they need to help overcome substance abuse. Depending on the level of the addiction, there may be a need for long-term treatment that includes staying at a facility to get to the root of the problem in helping the abuser understand their triggers and ways to cope. There’s nothing like having a support system in place – it can make all the difference in the world for the abuser and the family. Get the assistance of a mental health professional to recommend treatment programs that will be most effective for you, your loved one and their future.
- http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/understanding-drug-abuse-addiction; https://ncadd.org/learn-about-drugs/signs-and-symptoms
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