How To Recognize Drug Abuse & Detect Substance Use Disorder

confronting a drug abuser

Teenage drug abuse is an incredibly prevalent issue in the U.S. Whether it’s to feel good or escape from reality, doing drugs comes with serious consequences. Since October is the national substance abuse prevention month, here’s everything you need to know about how to recognize drug abuse as a problem and ways to overcome it.

Signs of Substance Use Disorder

Drug abuse is one of those things that when you know it, you know it. Still, it can be hard to spot the difference between recreational use and a full-blown disorder. Here are some common signs that’ll set it in stone.

  • Restlessness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sleeplessness
  • Loss of memory
  • Negligence
  • Cravings
  • Bizarre dreams/nightmares
  • Inability to focus
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Extreme sweating
  • Shivering caused due to stifling
  • Nausea and diarrhea
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Delusions
  • High blood pressure

Questions to Ask Yourself to Recognize Drug Abuse

Sometimes, the answer isn’t as simple as yes or no. You may require counseling and mentoring to reach to the conclusion. Meanwhile and before you meet with a professional, below are some questions related to drug abuse that you should try finding answers to.

  • Can I go a day without substance?

Most people struggling with drug abuse would choose to lie on this one, so be honest with yourself before answering. And more often than not, the honest answer to this is no. Because if you could go a day without using substance, you would’ve done it long ago.

People battling substance use disorder have a high desire for substance and low motivation for making the change that’s needed. And if you’re like that, it’s okay.

Simply accept it because that’s the first step. Once you do that, you can overcome addiction and get clean in no time with the right people and guidance.

On the other hand, if you say yes, you’ve already won half the battle and can move on to seeking help.

  • Can I limit my use?

This also depends on the number of times you use substance in a day. Are you doing drugs once or multiple times a day? If you’re doing it once, what’s stopping you from doing it more?

If it’s your conscience that’s asking you to refrain from drugs, then you’re already on the right track because you’ve learned not to let substances control you.

  • Do I have a history of drug abuse in the family?

Because drug abuse is categorized as a mental disease, it can be genetic. This is why so many people with chronic substance use problems are those who have either seen their parents doing it or have a history of drug use in their immediate family.

Professionals approach genetic drug abuse differently, so you must make sure to disclose all the facts to them and yourself when seeking help.

  • Is something triggering my addiction?

Stress and depression are two of the most common triggers of addiction. But they aren’t the only ones. Do you use more substance after large family gatherings? Do classwork or assignment deadlines induce an itch inside of you? Does your sibling make you want to drink more?

Believe it or not, the reasons are endless. But you must identify what’s causing the urge to find suitable solutions.

  • Do I have any other mental health issues?

As mentioned before, stress and depression can increase instances of drug abuse. Along with them, having other mental conditions such as anxiety, PTSD, and hallucination can also aggravate the urge. If you suffer from mental disorders, your substance use disorder may be related to it and you may be suffering from yet another disorder.

  • Has substance use affected your relationships?

A good time to internalize your substance use episodes is when they start interfering in your relationships. Ask yourself if you’re prioritizing drugs over your loved ones. If yes, you’re suffering from drug abuse.

  • Have you ever overdosed?

Overdosing is one of the most telltale signs of drug abuse. Many people take it as a wake-up call. So, the moment you overdo drugs, don’t hesitate to seek help.

  • Why do I use substance?

Many people who use drugs do it for recreational purposes. But they don’t realize when it turns into a thing that they use to escape or for coping with stress. So, if you’re using substance as a coping mechanism, you may be struggling with drug abuse.

When to Seek Help

It’s best to get help immediately after you begin to show signs of substance use disorder. But if you haven’t yet, there’s still time. Here are 3 definite times when you ought to let people who know more and better guide you through your way out of addiction.

  • When you can’t deal with it on your own

Most people struggling with drug abuse usually try to deal with it by themselves first. But not many people find luck with it as it’s generally not possible to overcome substance use alone. That’s why good recovery centers have such a vast team of professionals to help them.

  • When you don’t have support from peers and family

It’s not uncommon for people to resort to drugs due to stress induced by family or social circles. In such cases, it isn’t possible for you to fall back on those who trigger your drug abuse more. So, it’s best to reach out to experts who can offer you that mental relief and help you curb your itch for substance.

  • When your drug abuse has become fatal for you

It’s a proven fact that drugs can be life-threatening. If you’ve done something to harm yourself or put your life in danger in any way to acquire drugs to satiate your urge, you need to start looking at your options. Because that’s the end of the road. Consider drawing the line and commit yourself to getting clean as soon as possible.

Who to Reach Out to?

Addiction can be cured. Unlike the common myth that surrounds addicts, addiction is one of those mental diseases that can permanently be overcome with top-notch professional help. While you can try recovering on your own, the stats are in favor of the experts. Addicts who work with specialists have a higher recovery rate and a lower relapse rate.

At AARC, we’re more than just adept at our work. We’re hopeful and optimistic about offering a community of care to adolescents and their loved ones to support them in their fight against drug abuse and substance use disorder.