signs of addiction

What Are the Signs of Drug & Alcohol Addiction?

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Substance abuse disorder is extremely complicated. The stigma that surrounds this condition often attributes it to “lowlifes” or some kind of weakness. But the truth is that someone who needs addiction treatment is someone else’s child, a parent, or spouse. A person who needs the professional help of a treatment center is someone who has already been fighting invisible battles, possibly for years or even decades. They are the opposite of weak. If you or someone in your life is struggling with substance abuse, you may not know what to do or how to tell if there’s really a problem. The important point to remember is that there is no shame in seeking help.

The Difference Between Dependence and Substance Abuse

There are many conditions that call for the continued use of opiates or other medications that are associated with addiction. The major differences between dependence and abuse is recommended dosage and controlled use.

  • A person dependent on substances is in the care of a doctor. They have a recommended dose and a controlled prescription.
  • Dependence requires frequent checkups to assess substance usage and adjustment of dosage if necessary.
  • A person abusing substances is using more than the recommended dose and avoids doctor recommendations
  • People struggling with addiction usually end up going to several new doctors in order to trick them into prescribing more medication.
  • Substance abuse continues with the person seeking drugs outside of a prescription.

What Does Substance Abuse Look Like?

When people think of an addict, the most common image is someone on the street or in some dingy apartment with their drug dealer. The ideas of shady deals and grimy alleyways run rampant when describing addicts. But someone who is in the throes of substance abuse can look exactly like any other person you know. They might be a successful business owner, a straight A student at school, a loving parent, or anyone else. Substance abuse is difficult to pin down in a lot of people and that can be seriously confusing for a person who is dealing with substance abuse or a loved one watching someone spiral out of control.

The Stigma Surrounding Addiction Treatment

Because of these prominent images in the minds of the public as well as all over the media and in society, those who need addiction treatment may fear seeking help. They don’t want to be judged and may be afraid that the people in their lives will never see them the same way. If your loved one is struggling with substance abuse, it may look like they’re resistant to treatment for exactly this reason. The stigma is real and it’s powerful.

How to Help Someone Dealing With Substance Abuse

The difficult truth to this issue is that the person dealing with substance abuse has to decide to seek addiction treatment on their own. You can’t force it and you can’t steer them toward this decision. You can gently suggest the idea of addiction treatment but one of the best ways you can help is simply to be there when the person decides to go into rehab. This has to be their decision. A person seeking addiction treatment must do it for themselves, otherwise they’ll be dependent on the reason or person that sent them to treatment, and not their own health.

You Are Not Alone

Whether you’re a person seeking addiction treatment or you have a loved one you feel needs treatment, you are not alone. Rehab centers can help someone dealing with substance abuse, but there are also resources for the family and loved ones of those who seek treatment. If you’re in the Fresno, California area and willing to take the first step, call 844-489-0836 or contact us through our website to learn more. This is your life. It’s up to you to take control of it. Get help doing so today at First Steps Recovery.

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