Alcohol and substance use disorders involve all the symptoms of alcohol and drug abuse, yet also involve another element: physical dependence.
Tolerance is defined as the need for more alcohol or drugs to feel the same desired effects that the individual felt initially. Do they drink or use more drugs than they used to? Do they drink or use more drugs than other people without showing obvious signs of intoxication?
As the effect of the alcohol or drugs wear off, the person may experience withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms are often uncomfortable, and may include: anxiety or jumpiness; shakiness or trembling; sweating, nausea, and vomiting; insomnia; depression; irritability; fatigue or loss of appetite; and headaches. Do they drink or use drugs to steady their nerves or stop their shaking in the morning?
In severe cases, withdrawal from alcohol and/or drugs can be life-threatening. Withdrawal symptoms can also include: hallucinations, confusion, seizures, fever, and agitation. These symptoms can be dangerous and should be managed by a physician specifically trained and experienced in dealing with alcohol and substance use disorders.
Loss of Control
Drinking or using drugs more than they wanted to, for longer than they intended, or despite telling themselves that they wouldn’t do it this time.
Desire to Stop – Yet Can’t
They have a persistent desire to cut down or stop their alcohol or drug use, however all efforts to stop and stay abstinent have been unsuccessful.
Neglecting Other Activities
They are spending less time on activities that used to be important to them, because of their alcohol or drug use. These activities may include: hanging out with family and friends; exercising, playing sports, or going to the gym; pursuing hobbies or other interests which used to bring them pleasure.
Alcohol and Drugs Take Up Greater Time, Energy, and Focus
They spend a lot of time drinking or using drugs, thinking about it, or recovering from its effects. They have few interests—whether it be social or community involvements—that don’t revolve around the use of alcohol or drugs.
Continued Use Despite Negative Consequences
They drink and use even though they know it’s causing problems. For example, an individual realizes that their alcohol or drug use is interfering with their ability to do their job, is damaging their marriage, making their problems worse, or causing health problems, however they continue to drink or use.
Any of the above behavior or attitude changes can be a signal that your loved one is battling with substance abuse. It’s a battle that should not be fought alone, and we’re always here to help. Whether you’re in the greater Twin Cities area, a surrounding suburb or even hundreds of miles away, odds are we can connect you with chemical dependency services in your area. Our phones are always available, 24 hours a day, so give us a call at (952) 224-2277 if you or a loved one need help.