Alcohol And Substance Abuse

Sometimes it is difficult to tell if a friend, coworker, or loved one has a problem with alcohol or substance abuse. Fear of being wrong or being perceived as accusatory can cause many people to remain silent and hope for the best. However, silence can have disastrous, if not deadly, consequences. Knowing the signs of substance abuse can help save lives the lives of the addict, their family, and those who might be physically harmed through the addict’s negligence. The following are important warning signals that should not be ignored.

Alcohol and Substance Abuse

Alcoholism Abuse Signs

Daily Drinking – It has become socially acceptable for many people to drink alcohol after work. However, this is a very common and often overlooked symptom of a problem drinker. If the individual becomes hostile or irate at the suggestion of cutting back daily drinking, they might have an alcohol abuse problem.

Drinking to Excess – Some people drink infrequently but consume alarming amounts of alcohol when they do. Regular blackouts, vomiting, or alcohol poisoning are all unhealthy signs that a person has lost control of their ability to responsibly consume alcohol.

If a person becomes angry when a limit is placed on their drinking, this could be a sign that a person has lost control.

Alcohol And Substance Abuse

Drinking at Inappropriate Times – A person who has an alcohol abuse problem might begin drinking before work or family functions. Or they might try to introduce alcohol at inappropriate times, such as a work lunch with a boss or important clients. They might try to add alcohol to a situation where no one else is drinking.

Secret Drinking – A person with a problem might hide liquor around the house, in the car, or at their workstation. Acting defensive and defiant when asked about it is an indicator that the individual might have a problem that they cannot control. If the person smells like liquor but denies it when asked, this also could signal addiction. Also, receipts from liquor stores or for alcohol that the person later denies or tries to hide is warning signs that the person’s drinking is beyond their control.

Loss of Caution – Activities like drinking while driving, or drinking before or during work show that a person has lost their sense of personal values and basic safety. This can place the individual and those around them in dangerous situations. Additionally, inability to abstain while using prescribed medication puts the individual at a personal health risk.

Signs of Substance Use and Abuse

Change in Mood and Behavior – A loss of interest in hobbies or a sudden change in regular patterns might indicate that a person has shifted the focus of their life toward drugs or other controlled substances. This might be accompanied by a drastic change in friends, including spending excessive amounts of time with an entirely new crowd or cutting off relationships with old friends. Acting erratic, coming and going at strange hours, or unexplainable hostility can also signal a substance abuse problem. Additionally, not showing up for appointments or important family or work functions might be a warning.

Secrecy and Lying – A person who has a drug problem is often unwilling to talk about their activities or new friendships. They can display open hostility when confronted by simple inquiries and might act threatened or defensive. Sometimes they make excuses that contradict previous statements or they lie about important things. This is especially startling if this type of behavior signals a radical shift in the individual. Traits like honesty and openness are usually reflections of an individual’s core personality, and sudden changes could signal a serious problem.

Rapid or Drastic Changes in Weight or Appearance – Amphetamines cause loss of appetite that can lead to rapid or noticeable weight loss. Chemical changes in the body might lead to unexplainable bloating or weight gain. Red eyes, dilated pupils, or uncontrollable sweating are also common signs of someone who is under the influence. Substance abuse can also cause long-term outward physical deterioration, such as uncontrollable cystic acne or rotting teeth.

Changes in Finances – Unexplained cash withdrawals from a checking account should raise alarm bells at home. A sudden willingness or impatience to sell prized personal possessions or household items could signal that a person is becoming increasingly desperate to keep a habit going.

Stealing – When a person’s substance abuse has spiraled out of control, it is often difficult to continue to finance it. An addict might take increasingly reckless measures to obtain cash to buy drugs. This includes stealing from stores, friends, family, or their workplace.

Alcohol And Substance Abuse

Getting Addiction Help

It is never easy to tell someone that they have a drinking problem. Start by doing research.

There are many services available to help during all phases of the process. Find a counselor who specializes in alcohol and substance abuse treatment.

To help the person decide which course of action is right for them. For some, daily or weekly meetings in a group or private therapy session will help get the problem under control.

For others, inpatient treatment at a rehab facility will provide the best chance at lasting results. Still others will resist all outside attempts at modifying their behaviors and will insist on carrying on without change. There are many helpful support groups for family and friends of an addict, even if the addict refuses to undergo treatment.

The signs of substance abuse go unnoticed every day. However, with some basic understanding of what to look for, these signs often reveal themselves in startlingly obvious ways. The only way for a person with a substance problem to get help is to realize that they cannot control their habit and by seeking ways to change their behavior. By knowing the symptoms, friends and family can help the individual take the first steps on the road to recovery.

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