Substance Abuse Info Guide

Written by Chloe Nicosia

Substance abuse can involve alcohol, street drugs, or prescription medications. Abuse and addiction can affect people from adolescence through old age, and it crosses all lines of race, socio-economic level, and gender. Some people may have a higher risk of developing an addiction if they have family members with an addiction or if they have suffered some type of abuse. However, virtually anyone can have trouble with substance abuse) if they are not careful. It's important to understand the risks and issues involved with using alcohol and drugs so you can avoid potential problems that could disrupt your entire life. Not only can substance abuse make it difficult to manage work and school, but personal relationships often suffer. An addicted person often experiences health issues in connection with the drug or alcohol abuse as well.

Alcohol

Drinking alcoholic beverages is common, and many people consume alcoholic drinks without developing an addiction. However, if someone misuses alcohol, it's possible to develop an alcohol use disorder that involves habitual drinking to the point of intoxication. Someone with an addiction to alcohol may try to cut back on drinking but fail due to strong cravings for drinks. This type of addiction often compels someone to continue drinking even though it causes problems with family and friends. Alcohol addiction symptoms include developing a tolerance for alcohol. This means that you would need to consume more drinks to achieve the desired effect. An alcoholic is unable to control when or how much alcohol is consumed and frequently goes on binges. When not drinking, an alcoholic may exhibit withdrawal symptoms such as shakiness, sweating, and anxiety. Hiding their drinking and drinking early in the day are also common behaviors for alcoholics. Recovering from an alcohol addiction is possible with diligent effort to address the underlying causes of the problem. An addicted person might seek treatment at an inpatient rehab or outpatient facility.

Drugs

Drug abuse is a prevalent problem in the United States. Current trends suggest that drug use in general may be slightly down from earlier decades. However, abuse of illicit and prescription drugs continues to cause serious problems for people in their personal and professional lives. The downward spiral of drug addiction often begins with experimenting with one or more drugs. With continued use, a person will often engage in substance abuse, which is the misuse of these controlled substances. Over time, a user develops a tolerance to the drugs and a strong physical need for them, which often accompanies a full-fledged drug addiction. Symptoms of drug abuse vary depending on the type of substance, but people may lose weight, have bloodshot eyes and/or dilated pupils, and exhibit erratic behavior. An addicted person generally begins to have severe disruptions of normal brain function, and drastic personality changes usually occur. You may see physical signs of administering a drug, such as injection sites with bruising or sores on the arms. Although recovery from drug addiction can be challenging, with the right treatment chosen from a variety of drug rehab options, it is possible to overcome this type of problem. A recovering addict will need to remain vigilant to avoid a relapse.

Organizations

Many organizations function to support those with drug or alcohol dependence and their families. Some foundations are specially created to assist young people and teenagers. These organizations provide education, support, and counseling resources. Some organizations even assist financially with grants to help people afford inpatient or outpatient treatment at rehab centers.

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