Drug abuse is a serious problem that can lead to legal problems, financial problems and health problems. Long-term drug abuse destroys your relationships and your body. Sadly, many people don’t realize they are abusing drugs because they only use them occasionally or begin using them under the supervision of a doctor.
It’s important to monitor your symptoms to determine whether you may be abusing drugs. If you think you have a drug abuse problem, help is available. Please call us at to learn more about treatment options for drug abuse.
Symptoms of Drug Abuse
The symptoms of drug abuse differ from drug to drug, but generally, you or a loved one may have a drug abuse problem if you have any of the following symptoms:
- You feel that you need to use the drug frequently in order to feel “normal” or to function. If you feel like you can’t do what you need to do without resorting to using the drug, you may be abusing it. This is especially true of illegal drugs and alcohol, although it can also be true of prescription drugs.
- You keep trying to stop without success. Difficulty stopping your drug use often indicates that you are abusing it. If you feel strongly compelled to use the drug, you may require help to stop.
- You keep spending money on the drug that you can’t afford to spend. Drug abuse can wreak havoc with your finances because obtaining the drug is a greater priority to you than paying your bills or taking care of yourself and your family.
- You engage in risky behavior while on the drug or in order to get the drug. Many drug abusers drive while under the influence of the drug, which can put you and other people at risk of injury or death. Some drug abusers also go into dangerous neighborhoods or have unprotected sex in order to obtain more of the drug.
- Your work performance or school performance declines due to drug use. Drug abuse may interfere with your ability to do your job or study. In addition, work performance or grades in school often suffer because drug abusers may be too ill to come in when they come down from an intoxicated state.
According to the Mayo Clinic, drug abuse causes the user to center his or her life around using the drug at the expense of other important obligations. Thus, if your health, happiness or relationships are declining because of drug use, you likely have a drug abuse problem. You can get help by calling .
How to Assess Whether You Have a Drug Abuse Problem
If you’re concerned that you may have a drug abuse problem, you can take a self-assessment online.
Self-assessments are not a substitute for a diagnosis by a professional, but they are a good starting point to help you see whether you might have a problem.
If you think you are abusing drugs, the best thing to do is to talk to your doctor. Don’t be embarrassed to ask your doctor for help with drug addiction. Doctors are trained to be nonjudgmental and to help patients with all sorts of problems. Doctors also know about the physical effects of many drugs and can help you safely stop using a drug you are struggling with.
If you aren’t comfortable talking to your doctor, other help is available. Talk to a counselor or other person you trust. You can also call for help.
If your doctor isn’t familiar with drug addiction or doesn’t know how to help people who are struggling with your particular addiction, ask him or her to refer you to a specialist. Your doctor may suggest that you go to drug rehab or talk to counselor familiar with drug addiction. Either way, you will be able to find the help you need to get off drugs.
Drug rehab is usually an inpatient program, which means that you live at the treatment center. Rehab can last anywhere from 30 days to one year. Commonly, drug abusers go through 30- to 90-day programs. During drug rehab, you will live with other recovering addicts and attend individual and group therapy sessions.
You may also have the opportunity to go to a 12-step group meeting or other support group for people recovering from drug addiction. While you are in rehab, you may see visitors only during certain hours or certain days. Your friends and family often have the opportunity to go through counseling to help them deal with the effects that drug abuse has had on your relationship with them.
Outpatient care for drug abuse usually consists of weekly therapy sessions at the treatment center. Patients visit the center for treatment while living at home. Most people who go through rehab attend outpatient sessions afterwards. Some people go through an outpatient program without going through rehab. Drug abuse affects everyone differently, so it’s hard to tell what treatment will work best for you. You and your doctor or counselor will create a treatment plan that works for you.
If you or someone you love has a drug abuse problem, don’t give in to despair. Help is available. Call to find a rehab center or other treatment center that will work with you to help resolve your drug abuse problem.