What are the Signs of Substance Abuse?
Substance abuse affects different people in different ways. Often when we think about the signs of addiction, we may think only of the physical symptoms and neglect to consider the mental and emotional symptoms. However, the latter may be even more profound than the physical effects. Do you think a loved one or someone you know may have a substance abuse problem? Below are some of the symptoms of which to be aware.
Emotionally, substance abuse can lead to the user becoming increasingly lonely and withdrawn. Addiction lends itself to increasing levels of isolation. Many addicts in recovery attest to having felt alone or lonely even when surrounded by people who cared about them. Some refer to this feeling as the ‘hole in the soul” – a feeling that becomes progressively worse as the addiction develops.
Anxiety and depression are both common symptoms of substance abuse. It is well understood in the medical profession that addiction can exacerbate underlying or existing mental conditions. In the long-term, this can produce feelings of extreme paranoia, confusion and even hallucinations.
Physically, the symptoms of substance abuse vary according to which drug is being used. However, common symptoms include lethargy, fatigue, general ill-health and insomnia, which ultimately leads to increased levels of agitation and irritability. Certain drugs, such as crack cocaine and heroin for example, can cause advanced tooth decay, while others like cat, can cause respiratory illnesses and heart conditions.
The nature of addiction often strips the user of feelings of self-worth and self-esteem, making them feel like something is inherently wrong with them. The user may even feel abandoned by those around them despite ardent attempts to help them. Many addicts refer to this state in retrospect as being one of “spiritual bankruptcy.” Fortunately, what we have learnt is that it is never too early or too late to arrest the disease of addiction and begin the process of healing on all levels, one day at a time.
If you or a loved one is in search of help for addiction, know that help is readily available. Contact us for a free consultation and we’ll support you in your journey.
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