How Do I Know if I Have a Substance Abuse Problem?

Substance abuse problem

Sometimes, it can be hard to know if your substance use is simply a legitimate tool in your life or an abuse problem.

While drugs can be helpful when used in the right way, substance abuse takes it to the next level. Instead of using drugs for their normal, prescribed means, substance abusers use drugs to get high.

Many people start out taking drugs for health reasons, but as time goes on, they lose control of the line between prescribed use and abuse.

But how can you know if you have a substance abuse problem? Here are some of the top warning signs that indicate a person is abusing drugs.

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Behavioral Warning Signs

One of the first big changes other people will notice when you are abusing drugs is a difference in your behavior. Typically, drugs will cause you to withdraw from the company of others and spend more time alone.

You might also have terrible mood swings or always be in a bad mood. This can lead you to behave a certain way. Many substance abusers:

  • Have problems maintaining relationships
  • Get into legal trouble, fights, or other illegal activities
  • Always beg for money
  • Are highly secretive and sneak around a lot
  • Get into trouble at work, home, or school by neglecting responsibilities
  • Suddenly drop their old friends and hobbies for a new crew
  • Miss scheduled appointments and other social engagements

Physical Warning Signs

Physical signs of drug abuse might be the easiest to spot, as people taking drugs or alcohol are usually lightheaded, clumsy, and have trouble communicating.

However, it’s the long-term effects of drug abuse that can really stand out and let you know that you have a problem. Some of the most common physical warning signs include:

  • A change in the way you sleep and eat
  • Losing or gaining a lot of weight
  • Constantly sniffling or having a runny nose
  • Having bloodshot eyes or larger pupils
  • Failing to maintain normal hygiene, like bathing or brushing teeth
  • Changes in the skin, such as needle tracks
  • Picking or scratching of the hair or skin
  • Uncontrollable drowsiness

Psychological Warning Signs

Drugs can play a huge role in the way that you perceive the world. In fact, that’s one of the main reasons people take them.

Unfortunately, this leads to a number of disconcerting psychological symptoms that can make you feel depressed, tired, and alone. Additional psychological warning signs include:

  • Having a lack of motivation or general apathy towards life
  • Feeling anxious, fearful, or paranoid for no good reason
  • Having a huge change in personality
  • Feeling irritable or angry over small and inconsequential things
  • Quickly switching between feeling good and feeling bad
  • Having trouble concentrating or remembering

If you found yourself reading through these lists of symptoms and matching most of them, chances are that you have a substance abuse problem.

There’s nothing to be ashamed of – even the best of us can fall prey to the dangers of drugs. What matters now is that you do something to change it.