How Do I Know That I Need Help?

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There Are Two Important Signs That A Person’s Substance Use Reached A Risky Level, Or Is Already A Problem:

Harmful consequences

The consequences of substance use can range from mild (e.g., feeling hungover, being late for work) to severe (e.g., homelessness, serious diseases). While each time a person uses a substance may seem to have little impact, the harmful consequences can build up quickly over time. If a person continues to use despite these consequences, he or she may have a substance use problem. That is why it is advisable to seek help the earlier the better.

The substance use can affect every aspect of a person’s life and life of others. They include:

  • Injuries while under the influence and/or diseases due to use (HIV, Hepatitis, malnutrition, among many others…)
  • Ongoing anxiety, irritability or depression
  • Trouble thinking clearly
  • Blackouts
  • Problems with relationships
  • Spending money on substances rather than on food, bills or other essentials
  • Legal problems related to substance use
  • Loss of hope, feelings of emptiness, suicidal thoughts…

Loss of control

Some people may be aware that their substance use causes problems but continue to use, even when they want to stop. They may use more than they intend, or in situations where they didn’t want to use. Withdrawal symptoms, or fear of withdrawals, might keep them from stopping the use. Some people may not see that their substance use is out of control and is causing problems. This is often referred to as being in denial. This so-called denial, however, may simply be a lack of awareness or insight into the situation. Whether people realize it or not, loss of control is another sign that substance use is a problem.

Do I need Detox?

Yes! if you do experience a characteristic withdrawal syndrome when the use of the drug of choice is stopped.

Yes! if the withdrawal syndrome is life-threatening. Regular smokers of more than 5 cigarettes daily will virtually all have nicotine withdrawal, but none will need medical assistance in a hospital, because nicotine withdrawal, while unpleasant, is not life-threatening. Regular heavy drinkers and individuals dependent on sedative medications, however, may experience life-threatening withdrawal and do require detoxification.

Yes! if the withdrawal syndrome is so uncomfortable that it is virtually impossible for someone to stop using the drug without help. This is very frequently the case for opioids (heroin and prescription pain medications), for which the withdrawal syndrome is not life-threatening but extraordinarily uncomfortable.

Call us if you think you are abusing any of the above or other chemicals…

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