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Alcohol and Substance Abuse

Alcohol and Substance Abuse

What is Alcohol and Substance Abuse?

In many cultures, alcohol is used to celebrate, relax and socialize. The effects of alcohol vary between individuals and depends on how much is consumed, how often it is consumed, the individual’s age, health and family history. Substances, such as cocaine, nicotine, heroin and marijuana, are used similarly, although illegal in most of the United States. Many individuals also abuse prescription drugs and use them outside of their intended medical purpose.

There is an ongoing problem of alcohol and substance abuse among individuals although it can cause addiction, health problems, and family issues. If abuse leads to addiction, it may become more difficult for individuals to abandon the use of alcohol or substance. This does not only affect the individual abusing alcohol and/or substances, but also the individual’s family and friends.


How can an Individual know they have a Problem?

checklist with the options yes and no

There are various ways to discover alcohol and/or substance abuse in yourself or a loved one, and one includes analyzing your habits using the following questions. According to Alcohol Rehab Guide, if you answer “yes” to more than one of the questions, it is possible that you may have a problem and may want to contact a therapist or counselor specialized in this area.

  • Have you ever felt that you should reduce the amount of alcohol or substance you intake?
  • Do you feel irritated by the concern loved ones have about your alcohol or substance intake?
  • Have you ever felt guilty about your alcohol or substance consumption?
  • Have you ever consumed prescription drugs for non-medical reasons?
  • Has using drugs or alcohol created obstacles in your workplace, home or school?
  • Have you ever broken the law because you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs?


Common Signs of Alcohol and Substance Abuse

There are a variety of signs that you or a loved one is experiencing alcohol and substance abuse and addiction, but a few that are commonly seen stand out.

bar with drinks and many people standing around the room drinking

  • Experiencing the feeling of needing more and more of the addictive substance
  • Keeping the company of other addicts
  • Deteriorating relationships with family members
  • Using the substance for a majority of the day
    • Including obtaining more alcohol as soon as one wakes up to cure a hangover
  • Spending less time with people who are sober
  • Denying there is a problem to yourself and others, despite the fact that it’s evident
  • Craving substances when they are not currently within body system
  • Failure to fulfill major obligations
    • Ex: missing work or school
  • Becoming irresponsible, or more irresponsible
  • Inability to stop using the substance or reduce its use
  • Consuming large quantities of the substance
  • Consuming alcohol or substance before/during potentially dangerous tasks
    • Ex: driving a vehicle under the influence


The Effects of Alcohol and Substance Abuse

As mentioned previously, alcohol and substance abuse can lead to many short-term and/or long-term physical effects that could potentially affect individuals’ quality of life and pose long-lasting complications.

  • Increased or decreased heart rate
  • Short-term and long-term memory loss/impairment
  • Emotions of sadness, anxiety and/or fear that are more frequent and intense than typically felt
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Permanent damage to internal organs
  • Muscle and bone breakdown
  • Deterioration of coordination skills
  • Poor diet and nutrition and lack of motivation to better it


Getting Support with Alcohol and Substance Abuse

Alcohol and substance abuse can be successfully controlled today through various methods, including therapy and counseling. It’s important to educate yourself on how you can help a loved one struggling with this through strategic methods that will help them recover and control their addictive tendencies.


It is easy to find and schedule an appointment with one of our therapists and counselors specialized in alcohol abuse counseling and treatment or drug abuse/substance abuse.