Colorado substance abuse advisors

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Substance abuse is more than just using illicit substances, drugs or alcohol. Substance abuse is the behavioral pattern of alcohol or drug consumption. The consistent use of drugs or alcohol can alter one’s mood and cause drastic changes to the way they act towards others. There are differences between addiction and substance abuse.

When people think of substance abuse, they will usually relate it to addiction without understanding that substance abuse and addiction are two separate conditions. There are normally four main factors for substance abuse:

  • Biological
  • Genetic
  • Environmental
  • Emotional

It is difficult to find the point when people shift from abusing drugs or alcohol to an addiction. Substance abuse will lead into a dependence on the substance in which the person begins to lose control of their life. Each day will become longer and the person will find it impossible to function without the substance.

With the environmental and emotional factors of a person’s life leading to substance abuse, it is not always easy to see the differences between abuse and addiction. When someone experiences a traumatic event or a drastic change in life style, he or she may increase consumption to deal with the added stress. Larger consumption of a substance should not be considered an addiction right away, yet abuse can lead to addiction. The signs of substance abuse vary with each substance and should be dealt with before it can grow into an addiction.

Signs of alcohol abuse

The more alcohol consumed the higher the tolerance becomes. The longer a person abuses alcohol, the more he or she will crave. When alcohol is not consumed the cravings will begin to turn into withdrawal symptoms.

Some signs of alcohol abuse are:

  • Lack of interest in appearance, work or relationship
  • Hiding or denying the amount of alcohol consumed
  • Planning the next drink or recovering from the previous one
  • Needing a drink before a social gathering
  • Having to take alcohol before or at work
  • Loss of appetite and preferring a drink to a meal

Signs of drug abuse

Substance abuse can start as early as childhood and depending on the substance or amount abused, quickly lead into addiction. Prescription opioids and medication is another form of substance that is easily abused. Some forms of prescription drugs commonly abused are opioid painkillers, depressants or anti-anxiety medication and stimulants. Although each prescription medication can have different effects on the body and brain some similar signs of prescription drug abuse include:

  • Feeling drowsy and dizzy
  • Excessive mood swings or hostility
  • Stealing the drug or doctor shopping
  • Losing medication and needing more of their medication more often than normal
  • Poor judgment
  • Seeming to be abnormally energetic, revved up, high or sedated

Abuse of prescription opioids and other medications can happen to anyone at any age. People who abuse a substance may not even be aware until it is too late.

Around 25,000 people died of prescription drug overdose in 2013 according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse –NIDA—and near 16,000 people died from pain reliever overdose. The process of admitting of prescription abuse or possible addiction to a doctor can be embarrassing for some, but a doctor will not judge; a doctor will help to treat the problem.

Other substances that can be abused include different illicit drugs. This can refer to drugs like cocaine, methamphetamine or heroin along with club drugs such as ketamine, Ecstasy and others.

Other potential signs of drug and substance abuse can include:

  • Loss of interest in favorite activities
  • Locking people out of the users bedroom
  • Feelings of depression
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Decline in work or school
  • Drastic change in behavior

Recognition and finding help

The key is to recognize the signs of substance abuse early on and seek treatment through a properly trained facility. Support groups can also help in dealing with abuse and the withdrawal symptoms. Support from family and friends can help to fight substance abuse. By recognizing and addressing the signs early on, you can prevent someone from falling into an addiction.

If you or a loved one shows the signs or symptoms of substance abuse and has questions, please do not hesitate to call the Colorado Substance Abuse Advisors and seek help. Our helpline is dedicated to supplying information on substance abuse and will help you to get in touch with the proper treatment facility. Do not continue to fuel your addiction or watch a loved one head down that road. Reach out for help and begin the path towards treatment.

Request help today

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