Substance Use Disorder

Every year, illicit and prescription drugs and alcohol contribute to the death of more than 90,000 Americans.  Substance use disorder includes using substances for longer periods than intended, or using more significant amounts than intended; wanting to reduce use, yet being unsuccessful in doing so; spending excessive time getting, using, and recovering; and cravings that are so intense it is difficult to think about anything else.
Early Symptoms of Substance Abuse/Dependency:
  • An increase in the frequency and amount of the substance used with repetitive intoxication
  • The user recognizes his/her ability to consume more than his/her peers (development of tolerance).
  • An attraction to suppliers and places where substances are readily available (i.e., parties, bars, nightclubs)
  • Avoidance of activities that do not involve substances
  • Use of substances at times or on occasions that are socially unacceptable
  • Anticipation of the next opportunity to get “high.”
  • Occasional absences from work
  • The use of substances becomes a way of coping with emotional upsets and other problems.
  • The user shifts from one substance to another to avoid some of the problems associated with abusive consumption
  • The spouse may complain that family problems are related to substance abuse.
  • The individual seeks to blame others for problems related to substance abuse.
  • The user may experience temporary amnesia (i.e., blackouts).
  • The user hides the substances and abuses them alone.
  • The individual may evade or be annoyed by attempts to discuss substance use.
  • Excessive rationalization to justify substance use (i.e., finding many reasons, situations, or excuses to indulge)
Source:  Alcohol and Drug Administration

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