Should I Be Concerned About My Substance Use?

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Should I Be Concerned About My Substance Use?

You’re concerned that your (or a loved one’s) use of alcohol or drugs is turning the corner from recreational to problematic, and you want to learn more about substance abuse. Based on numbers alone, your concern is valid if you consider that one in seven Americans is expected to develop a substance use disorder (SUD) during their lifetime.

At Live Life Wellness Clinic, our behavioral health experts specialize in substance use disorders, and we’re all too familiar with the dangers of these conditions. They can hijack almost every aspect of your life, including your physical, mental, social, and emotional health.

Here, we explore some of the danger signs that your using or drinking is cause for concern.

The two sides of a substance use disorder

Whether it’s alcohol or drugs, there are two sides to a substance use disorder:

1. Dependence

This describes the physical dependence you have on your substance of choice, which leads to withdrawal symptoms if you try to quit. 

2. Addiction

This is the brain side of the equation. When you develop an addiction, your brain rewires itself to receive more of your drug of choice. 

For example, over time, drinking or drug use can suppress your natural production of certain chemicals, such as dopamine. Instead, your brain relies on the outside source — the drugs or alcohol — to make you feel good. As a result, you're left with uncontrollable cravings.

Signs of a substance use disorder

When both of those criteria are met, you’ve developed a substance use disorder, which, as the name suggests, is a disease and can benefit greatly from treatment. If you’re worried about your or a loved one’s drinking or drug use, here are a few of the more common signs that a SUD has developed:

Inability to quit

You wake each morning saying to yourself that you’re not going to drink or use today, but, within a few hours, your brain has worn down your resolve and you’re back at it thanks to intense cravings that are beyond your ability to resist.

Increased tolerance

You need more of your drug of choice to achieve the same effect, if you’re able to achieve it at all.

Isolation and denial

You hide your using and isolate more so you can use or drink. You also vehemently deny that you’re using to the extent that you are.

Increased using

You used to be able to wait until the evening to pour that drink, but that time has become earlier and earlier.

Getting help for substance abuse

As you can imagine, all of those signs together can mean that you aren’t performing well in your life, whether it’s at school or work or within interpersonal relationships.

If you recognize the signs, it really is important that you seek help. Our compassionate team understands the power that a substance use disorder can have over your life, and we’re here to help you break free. 

From medications that can help you detox and get through early recovery to ongoing counseling, we’re with you every step of the way.

For expert treatment of a substance use disorder, please contact our office in Houston, Texas, to schedule a consultation. You can call our caring staff or book an appointment online through this website.