“We are constantly giving out signals that other people can pick up. Your family can usually tell when you are stressed out, relaxed, happy, or sad.” — Erika Krull, MSEd, LMHP
People often look for an outlet to relieve themselves from their worries or stress. It may be some hobby or spending time with some friends. Unfortunately for others, this outlet refers to alcohol, drugs, tobacco, and other harmful substances. Those who claim that they have no friends nor hobbies often look to depend on psychoactive substances. For psychologists, this is a severe case that may lead to a dependence disorder.
Substance abuse is different from addiction since many people with substance problems can quit. They still have the power to change their unhealthy behavior, yet this can even develop into a habit. Addictions are considered diseases that cause you more harm as you continue to use such substances.
Commonly Abused Substances
There are certain types of substances that an individual can abuse. These substances range from those usually found to relieve stress to those not accessible to the public.
Alcohol is available as long as you are of legal age. This substance has a different effect on each person. Also, we all have different tolerance levels. However, if you drink too much, you become more prone to accidents.
- Cigarettes And Other Tobacco Products
Tobacco is not considered to be a drug but instead a chemical that gives you a rush of pleasure and energy. Nicotine causes the rush you feel. Having too much of this substance can cause addiction.
Cocaine is a powerfully, addictive stimulant. This drug speeds up your whole body. You also feel happy and gain a boost in energy. However, it is likely to have your mood suddenly shift into anger and may bring hallucinations.
- Marijuana (Cannabis)
Marijuana is a drug made from the hemp plant Cannabis sativa. Some states legalized the medical use of marijuana. However, it remains illegal in other countries. Marijuana causes you to feel silly and to laugh for no reason. Heavy users of marijuana are often left “burned out” without a care about anything else anymore.
- Prescription And Over-The-Counter (OTC) Medicine
The most common OTC drugs abused include opioid pain relievers and anxiety medicine. These drugs can be just as dangerous as illegal drugs. In determining whether you are abusing this drug or not, you need to consider if you are taking the medication for a non-medical reason. Also, taking more than what your prescription orders is another sign of abuse.
Heroin, an illegal drug made from morphine, gives you a rush of good feelings. Once the drug wears off, everything becomes slow. This drug causes you to move and think slowly, giving you nausea, nervousness, and chills.
“Addiction manifests in a variety of ways, from the most severe heroin junkie to the compulsive spender. It can include drug or alcohol dependence, compulsive pornography use, gambling, obsessive eating, lying, toxic relationships, or even Netflix.” — Jason Whiting Ph.D.
Substance abuse is an alarming case that is affecting both teenagers and adults. Once an individual becomes substance-dependent, they become incapable of control and unable to stop from continued use. Several psychologists warn us of its dangers. These include the following:
- You develop a weak immune system, causing you to become more vulnerable to illnesses and infections.
- You start to feel nausea and some abdominal pain, thus causing weight loss and low appetite.
- You decrease your memory, attention, and decision-making skills, making it harder to carry out daily tasks.
- You become less responsible and start to neglect essential responsibilities or people around you.
- You become more prone to legal trouble caused by the influence of alcohol or drugs, and you may end up in accidents or situations that may lead to arrest.
- Your life will start to revolve around the substance you are abusing.
- You will begin to have relationship problems with your partner, work, school, or any environment.
- You develop sudden mood swings or irritable outbursts.
These are some of the common signs that show you’re struggling with substance abuse and need immediate care and attention.
“When it comes to codependency, denial has been called the hallmark of addiction. It’s true not only for drug (including alcohol) addicts, but also for their partners and family members.” — Darlene Lancer, JD, MFT
If professional help is unavailable, some of the things, you can do to help yourself recover include the following:
- Always look back at the root of your problems. Ask yourself why you’ve been taking these substances in the first place. Question yourself whether these substances are still helping you or just making you suffer even more.
- Look for someone you’re close with. Share your problems and worries with them rather than taking these substances. Sometimes, all you need is an outlet, and ranting is one of the most effective ways.
- Be open to the possibility of seeking professional help. Let people know of your condition so that there can be someone to help guide you to recovery.
- Develop other forms of outlets such as getting a new hobby, start exercising, or create a healthy diet.
These are some things you can consider before seeking professional help.