Drug and alcohol abuse has always been the talk of the town as the increase in the availability of these substances, and their use has made them accessible to all, irrespective of age and gender. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that every year, over 100,000 people die because of alcohol or drug overdose in the USA alone. Around 5.5% of the entire population of the States is involved in consuming alcohol and illicit drugs to a harmful extent. The famous website OurWorldInData stated that over 11.8 million deaths per year happen due to drug overdose worldwide and that excessive usage of drugs has been the major contributor to premature death.
Not only is an addict’s physical health affected, but addiction also takes a toll on one’s mental health. Alcohol and drugs promote feelings of hopelessness by their destructive effects. They handle the neurotransmitters responsible for mood and judgment and disrupt interpersonal relationships and social support. A study by PubMed stated that over 25% of addicts commit suicide.
The first step to overcoming any problem life throws at you is acknowledging its existence. To fight head-on requires one to see the matter as is. And this is step 1: to recognize that your addiction to drugs and alcohol is a problem that needs overcoming. Fortunately, addiction treatment options are refining every day and becoming accessible to all by easier payment plans. So the key to a successful journey to sobriety is picking the right program according to your problem and needs.
In this article, we focus solely on identifying red flags in your life that point towards your addiction. Recognizing and relating to any of these signs shows it’s time you seek professional help ASAP, as ignorance or denial can only fuel the matter more.
Your Mental and Physical Health is deteriorating
Are you feeling constantly under the weather? You’re agitated, stressed, depressed and irritable all the time? That is the drugs’ work!
Smoking, alcohol and illicit drug overuse acts as a termite that hollows out a healthy body. This is because smoking increases the risk of lung and various other cancers, heart diseases, diabetes and stroke. Whereas increased consumption of alcohol results in damaging the liver that causes hepatitis and other liver diseases. Also, as discussed above, addiction harms your mental health greatly. People with a substance use disorder are nearly six times as likely to attempt suicide.
So, before it is too late, stop and seek help. You can save your life and the lives of others around you.
Your Intake has increased over time
Aren’t you tired of saying, “I just do it occasionally”? Be truthful to yourself – has occasionally changed to daily or hourly? You may now consume round the clock, but you also must have noticed your increased tolerance to the drug. If you can tolerate the effects better now than before, this only means that you have de-sensitized your body to it. This is a sure-shot sign of addiction, and the increased tolerance can slowly kill you.
Be kind to your body and seek help. Rehabilitation centers gradually taper off the drugs, so your body gets time to heal and slowly filter out the toxins from your body.
Your best friend has become ‘loneliness’
Addiction roots isolation. As addiction causes agitation, severe mood swings and drowsiness, addicts tend to lose their will to own up to their responsibilities towards people around them. As a result, their families are broken up, marriages fail, and friends desert them. Since addicts’ sole focus becomes their drug, they socially isolate themselves. For example, in 2017, one in three children were sent to foster care because of an addict parent. Similarly, 7.3% of divorces in 2020 happened because of one partner’s excessive drug usage.
Humans are known to thrive on socializing. Isolation and loneliness can damage your mental health a lot. If your addiction is causing harm not only to yourself but the people around you, you must stop consuming now and seek out help for their sake and your own.
You feel abnormal without your drug
Addiction means being overly dependent on something harmful. Over time, you must have noticed that your cravings have increased. Your body becomes tuned to obeying the mind’s signal of overusing the drug because withdrawal of it is hell for you. If you ever abstain, you feel strong physical effects like terrible headaches and nausea. So you desperately try not to feel this way and hence resort to using the drug ever more so frequently. Sounds familiar?
If you’re stuck in this vicious cycle, it means you need professional help. Withdrawal symptoms can last up to weeks, and only with proper medical care and support will you be able to overcome them.
You are slacking at everything else except drugs
Have you been procrastinating over all your responsibilities i.e. your job or homework? Do you prefer getting high rather than performing your duties? Do you wish to stay at home, intoxicated, rather than going out and socializing or playing your favorite sport?
If the answer to all the above is a yes, then your drug use is becoming a grave problem. It is challenging to fight this as addiction is hard to deal with alone. Seeking professional help or interacting with people who have successfully defeated addiction can boost your morale.
You never have any money
Has your drug become your life? Would you much rather have your drug with you at all times rather than spending your money on other important things? You always find yourself without money, when needed?
Some addicts manage to pay for their basics but fail to save up for emergencies. While there are many extreme cases where drug abuse causes eviction and homelessness. Drug abuse is definitely expensive, but you may face financial problems in terms of piling medical bills (poor health due to drugs), neglected responsibilities, and legal matters – problems indirectly caused by your addiction.
The solution is simple: sobriety.
You have failed to quit numerous times
There are enlightening moments where you have accepted your addiction as a problem and have tried so many times to quit on your own. But every time, you would succumb to severe withdrawal symptoms. Can you relate to this?
While you have to fight this battle for yourself, it is hard to do this alone. As discussed above, withdrawal symptoms can be severe, and without any emotional support, people eventually relapse. Rehabilitation centers and treatment facilities offer the necessary support to make sure you become sober and stay that way.
Drug and alcohol addiction is the cause of tremendous problems that can completely destroy a person’s life. While being high can be so comforting, the reality of addiction is frightening. And even more so frightening is quitting. You can turn your life around by just making up your mind and sticking to it. With the right program and facility, sobriety can be achieved, and you can lead a better life for yourself, your loved ones and the society you live in.