How Do I Know I Have a Substance Use Problem?

Another day, another regret. Another night, another justification for drinking or using drugs. If the people in your life haven’t outright voiced concerns or asked you questions about your substance use, perhaps you have seen them raising eyebrows because of your words, behaviors or not showing up for them. These are common situations surrounding someone who uses substances, and there are obviously many, many more. Some situations are serious, impacting not only your health and safety but also perhaps the health and safety of others. Maybe doubts have crossed your mind, and you’ve realized that maybe you don’t have everything under control. How do you know you have a substance use problem?

What Exactly Is a Substance Use Problem?

A substance use problem is usually based on considerations such as your ability to function, your quality of life, your health and how your drinking or drug use affects others. Terms such as chronic alcoholism or functioning alcoholism are used to describe what happens when you drink every day. While that can become your “norm” and what everyone expects, it can also regularly put your health and safety at risk as well as the lives of others.

Substance abuse can also apply to illicit drugs, prescription drugs or other substances that are legal yet alter your state of mind so as to change your thinking, functioning or reaction times. Just like alcohol, a substance being legal does not make it harmless. For some, any substance use is a problem. While many can drink or use certain drugs socially, addiction is rarely a black-and-white line that you choose to cross. Rather, it is a subtle change in the function of your brain that gradually takes away your control over your drinking or drug use until it is a problem.

How Substance Abuse Directly Impacts Your Life

Some of the most obvious signs that your substance use has become a problem are the ways that your daily life is impacted, including:

  • Interfering with home, work or school responsibilities
  • Causing problems within your relationships
  • Missing important events or activities in order to use substances

These signs are obvious to others in your life, so feel free to ask those who love you most for an honest assessment of your substance use and how it affects both you and others. They are also the ones you can turn to for support with your substance problem.

Symptoms of Addiction to Substances

You can also ask yourself some questions about whether you have chronic alcoholism, a prescription drug addiction or other substance problem. These questions include:

  • Do you drink or use drugs more frequently or in larger amounts to get the same result?
  • Have you tried to cut back, but can’t?
  • Do frequent cravings or urges to drink or use drugs occupy your mind?
  • Have you gotten very sick or had other withdrawal symptoms when you don’t drink or use drugs?
  • Do you spend a lot of time accessing, using and recovering from drug or alcohol use?
  • Will you keep using substances even when you endanger yourself or others?
  • Have you continued to drink or use drugs even after a DUI or a doctor’s warning?

When You Cannot Quit Substances on Your Own

If you know what happens when you drink alcohol every day, but you don’t know how to stop, or if you have tried to stop using drugs and cannot stop on your own, then you have answered your own question. Having chronic alcoholism or a substance problem does not make you weak or a bad person; it simply means that there has been a physical and chemical change in your brain that gives your mind and body very powerful cravings for drugs or alcohol. As with all medical diagnoses, there is a reason that treatments for substance abuse have been developed.

What Can You Do To Get Help for a Substance Problem?

The very first step in drug or alcohol addiction recovery is to admit that you have a problem and that you need help. If you are asking yourself this question, you are on the right track to find your answers. Once you have made the decision to get help, you can ask for help in finding the right treatment for you. Your treatment for drug or alcohol addiction is not something you have to do alone. You will find that treatment facilities often have staff who are also in recovery and want to help put you back in the driver’s seat of your life.

When your substance use threatens your health or endangers your life or the lives of others, getting help should be a priority. Drug and alcohol addiction recovery has been developed because substance abuse is a physiological issue. You can trust the experts at DiscoveryMD to help you through your treatment. Our compassionate staff know what it takes to gain drug and alcohol addiction recovery, and we want to help you break your habits. We offer outpatient care with all of the resources you need under one roof. Contact us today to find out more about our rehab treatment centers. Substance abuse does not need to be a problem anymore. Let us help you take control of your life again.

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