Spotting the Warning Signs of Substance Abuse

Jun 14, 2022
Spotting the Warning Signs of Substance Abuse
When it comes to substance abuse, it’s best not to leave anything to chance. Here’s an inside look at some of the most common signs that you or a loved one might have an issue with substance abuse.

Substance abuse is a harmful pattern of using alcohol or drugs to a point that they negatively impact daily life. Nearly 20 million people in the United States live with a substance abuse disorder. 

And if you’re reading this, you’ve made an important first step in getting help for yourself or a loved one. 

We know how debilitating and overwhelming substance abuse can be. That’s why Laura Joseph, CRNP, our expert at Assured Care Group, is here to take the guesswork out of identifying the warning signs, so you can get the help you need as quickly as possible. 

It’s important to know that no two people experience substance abuse the same way, and it can affect more than one aspect of physical health, mental wellness, and daily activities. Here are some of the ways substance abuse manifests itself. 

Physical signs of substance abuse

Because you’re flooding your body with harmful substances, your physical health can deteriorate quickly. Some common ways substance abuse shows up in your physical health include:

  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Unusual pupil size
  • Changes in appetite
  • Sleep disruptions
  • Deterioration of physical appearance
  • Chronic runny nose or sniffing
  • Unusual odors on breath, body, or clothing
  • Sudden weight loss or gain

Substance abuse can also trigger tremors, slurred speech, and/or impaired coordination. 

Behavioral signs of substance abuse

Often, one of the first signs of substance abuse stems from changes in behavior. This can present as one or more of the following:

  • Difficulties in relationships
  • Engaging in secretive or suspicious behavior
  • Getting into legal trouble, including fights and accidents
  • Neglecting responsibilities
  • Sudden change in friend groups and hobbies
  • Financial problems
  • Abandoning once-favored activities

It’s also possible that problems with substance abuse can lead to increased tolerance for and dependency on drugs or alcohol. 

Psychological signs of substance abuse

Physical and behavioral changes are outward indicators of a substance abuse problem, but many also experience inward changes that affect their mental and emotional health, including:

  • Fear
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Lack of motivation
  • Nervousness
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Anger

These psychological changes often contribute to unexplained changes in personality or attitude. 

How we can help

If you notice any of these warning signs in yourself or a loved one, it’s time to get help. Fortunately, we have the expertise and comprehensive services necessary for you to take back control of your health. 

We begin by evaluating your needs and discussing any lifestyle factors or stressors that contribute to substance abuse. Then, we create an action plan tailored to you. Depending on your needs, we may recommend the following:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Oral medication to recover from alcohol abuse
  • Suboxone® therapy

Recovery from substance abuse is never one-size-fits-all, so we personalize your treatment with a combination of therapies that address your unique needs. 

If you’d like more information about recovering from substance abuse, don’t hesitate to request an appointment online or over the phone at our Middle River, Maryland, office today.