“New year, new me” is the self-help phrase of the season this year. And it’s hard not to get swept up in feelings of new beginnings when the calendar turns. Perhaps you have plans to hit the gym a little more often this year. Perhaps you’d like to read a little more and spend less time on Netflix. Both are positive pursuits. Maybe you’d like to quit smoking. Or maybe you’d like to quit something else. Maybe what you once thought of as “partying” is starting to take up a lot more of your life that it used to. The insidious nature of habits can make things confusing. How does one know if they’re veering into dangerous territory? Below are some signs that you or a loved one might be struggling with substance use disorder.
Building a tolerance to something is an early sign of a developing substance problem. In simpler terms, tolerance is when a person needs to take more and more of a substance in order to achieve the desired effects. For example, while Joe used to be satisfied with one beer, he now needs six.
These can sometimes be tough to recognize at first, as I mentioned in an earlier blog about my personal experiences with drinking. However, insomnia, depression, anxiety and irritation, a lack of appetite or upset stomach, and sweating are all very common withdrawal symptoms, regardless of the substance.
Changes in Physical Appearance
These changes can run the gamut from a general lack of hygiene to rapid weight loss. It can also include different clothes or a “new look” to match the new “friends” that one might be spending a lot more time with.
Whether they’re to yourself or to others, you’ll find that your words will carry a lot less weight than they used to. “This is the last bag I buy.” “I’m limiting myself to three drinks tonight.” “I’ll quit after the new year.” If you have a problem with substance use, you can count on making and breaking very similar vows.
A person with a substance use issue will make attempts to hide their use from others. This includes secret stashes of substances, having bottles of mouthwash or eye drops handy, and lying about how much one has had to drink.
This one is huge. It’s also unavoidable. The lies, secrecy, and broken promises will eventually drive the loved ones out of an addict’s life, leaving them only with dealers and using buddies. And those folks will leave as soon as the drugs, booze, or money is gone.
The Definition of Insanity
On the road to addiction, a person is almost certain to display each of the previously listed signs. It’s also my experience that they will have an excuse for each one, at least for a while. Eventually, though, they’ll get to the point where they realize much of their troubles are a result of their use. They will admit that the problems in their life are due to their relationship with their substance of choice. And they’ll continue to use anyway. This is the final bit of incontrovertible evidence that someone has developed a full-blown addiction.
Substance use disorder doesn’t have to be a death sentence. Ocean Recovery has been successfully treating substance abuse and eating disorders since 2002. If you or someone you know is struggling with their substance use, please don’t hesitate to give us a call today. We offer individual and group counseling sessions, CBT, DBT, nutritional education, and much more as components of our holistic approach. Call now and start building your foundation for success.