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Ten Signs You May Have a Substance Abuse Problem

Updated: Jul 13, 2022

On its surface, the definition of substance abuse seems relatively straightforward: “Overindulgence in or dependence on an addictive substance, especially alcohol or drugs.”

However, there are a lot of falsehoods when it comes to self-diagnosis. The idea of dependence on a drug, to the point of abuse, is terrifying — because acknowledging the problem means we have to figure out what to do about it. And for many of us with a substance abuse problem, the idea of life without a chemical to augment the good times or help us forget about the bad is a future we can’t begin to fathom.

But can we afford not to examine at least whether we have a problem? Consider: More than 100,000 people died of drug overdoses in 2021, a substantial increase from the Year before, and it’s rising. Addiction has fangs in all races, sexual orientations, and socio-economic demographics, meaning no one is immune.

Are you one of those individuals? Here are ten signs you may have a substance abuse problem:

  1. You feel you must use a particular drug regularly, up to several times a day.

  2. You obsess about getting high to the point that all other thoughts about work, school, relationships, or responsibilities seem to diminish in priority.

  3. You have to use more of the drug than you once did to achieve the same effects that smaller amounts used to give you.

  4. You feel the need to cover up, hide or lie about what or how much you’re using, even to those closest to you.

  5. You’re suffering financial or vocational consequences because of your drug use: money problems, reprimands by your employers, failed urine drug screens, or other consequences.

  6. Your efforts to cut back or stop your use result in failure. No matter how many times you construct a strict schedule to dictate what and how much you use, you often find yourself “moving the goalposts,” so to speak — rationalizing and justifying why you should indulge until those boundaries are meaningless.

  7. You lose control of your ability to self-regulate after the first one, meaning that you cannot do “just one” or add additional drugs and alcohol to the mix. What began as a noble intention to get a slight buzz ends with you getting wholly wasted.

  8. You experience withdrawal symptoms when you go for long periods without using, ranging from mild (mood swings and irritability) to severe (gastrointestinal distress, leg cramps, insomnia, restlessness).

  9. Your life seems to hold little meaning outside of getting high: The things that once brought you enjoyment and the interests you pursued passionately fall by the wayside or seem utterly pointless if you can’t use drugs while participating in them.

  10. You’ve suffered legal or health problems because of your drug use: an arrest, an overdose, the contraction of a drug-related disease, or other consequences, and yet they weren’t enough to lead you to decide to stop.

If you answered yes to some or all of these questions, it’s time to have a serious conversation with yourself. There’s no shame in having a substance abuse problem — according to multiple national resources, 23.5 million Americans need treatment for a problem related to drugs or alcohol. However, less than 1 percent of that number received addiction treatment at a specialty facility.

Another Solution’s goal is to accurately assess each candidate and develop a treatment plan specific to that individual's needs for substance use and mental health issues. After evaluation, we guide each candidate toward a customized treatment plan designed to match their requirements.

We are a 25 year-old non-profit organization, and our services are free to those seeking long-term recovery.

If you’re ready to face the truth about your substance abuse problem, then take that extra step — get help for it.


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