Friday, June 6, 2014

Substance Abuse and Addiction: How To Know The Signs

This is a sponsored post, however all opinions are completely my own. 

I don't know about where you live, but it seems like substance abuse is really rampant in my hometown. Everywhere I go, I see drug or alcohol abuse, or I hear a story about an old friend or acquaintance that has somehow fallen into the throes of drug or alcohol addiction. On occasion, it has even (briefly) touched my own family. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 23.5 million persons aged 12 or older needed treatment for an illicit drug or alcohol abuse problem in 2009. That is the last year that data is available for. Isn't that a crazy number? The worst part is, of those 23.5 million persons, only 2.6 million, or 11 percent, received treatment for their addictions. To me, that is by far the saddest part. I hate to think that there are so many drug rehab centers out there, and still, all the people that need help won't be able to get it, or worse, won't WANT to get it.

It's so important to know the signs and symptoms of substance abuse. Whether it be heroin addiction, or a problem with alcohol or another drug, it's really important to know the signs and symptoms that there may be a problem. Here are a few of the most common signs and symptoms of a substance abuse problem:

Physical Signs
Inability to sleep, awake at unusual times, unusual laziness.
Loss of or increased in appetite, changes in eating habits
Cold, sweaty palms; shaking hands.
Red, watery eyes; pupils larger or smaller than usual
Unusual smells on breath, body or clothes.
Extreme hyperactivity; excessive talkativeness.
Slowed or staggering walk; poor physical coordination.
Needle marks on lower arm, leg or bottom of feet.
Nausea, vomiting or excessive sweating.
Tremors or shakes of hands, feet or head.
Irregular heartbeat.
Runny nose; hacking cough
Puffy face, blushing, or paleness
Frequent rubbing of the nose
Frequent twisting of the jaw, back and forth
Deterioration of hygiene or physical health

Behavioral Signs
Change in overall attitude/personality with no other identifiable cause.
Drop in grades at school or performance at work; skips school or is late for school.
Change in activities or hobbies.
Chronic dishonesty.
Sudden oversensitivity, temper tantrums, or resentful behavior.
Difficulty in paying attention; forgetfulness.
General lack of motivation, energy, self-esteem, “I don’t care” attitude.
Change in habits at home; loss of interest in family and family activities.
Silliness or giddiness.
Moodiness, irritability, or nervousness.
Excessive need for privacy; unreachable.
Secretive or suspicious behavior.
Car accidents.
Change in personal grooming habits.
Possession of drug paraphernalia.
Changes in friends; friends are known drug users.
Unexplained need for money, stealing money or items
Possession of a false ID card
Missing prescription pills
Complaints of a sore jaw (from teeth grinding during an ecstasy high)

Mainly, what you want to keep an eye out for are the changes that you might not be able to explain, whether they be physical or behavioral. It can be so hard to watch someone you love or care about go through a substance abuse addiction, but keep in mind that there are wonderful treatment facilities out there. You might have already heard of Advanced Health and Education in New Jersey, Passages, Solutions, or the Betty Ford Center, but there are great programs out there all over the country. Drug rehab centers are not as "taboo" as they used to be, and you can find a great program, no matter if you are looking for heroin addiction treatment or an alcohol treatment center. Just be sure to pay attention to your loved ones if you think that they might have a substance abuse problem. Look for the signs and symptoms listed above, and know that help is out there.

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