10 Signs You May Have A Substance Abuse Problem

Every person is different, and so are their experiences with substance use or addiction.

Despite this fact, several signs are still common in all of them that indicate drug or alcohol abuse.

Here’s the list:

  • Seeking drugs more than often
  • Neglecting responsibilities
  • Isolating behaviors
  • Change in physical appearance
  • Rapid and constant mood swings
  • Sleep habits
  • Withdrawal symptoms
  • Erratic behaviors
  • Intense cravings
  • Financial troubles

If anyone is experiencing one or more signs from the list mentioned above, finding the right treatment is your priority.

Most of such treatments begin with a clinical setting called detoxification or detox followed by inpatient or outpatient programs. It ends with comprehensive aftercare.

What Is Substance Abuse?

On the surface, the concept of substance abuse is simple – it is the dependence on an addictive substance that is usually drugs or alcohol.

If we dig a bit deeper, this idea of overindulgence in certain substances is terrifying. If someone’s drug or alcohol use has reached the point of abuse, it must be stopped. The abuser first has to acknowledge the problem and then figure out how he or she can deal with it.

Technically, substance abuse can be defined as the psychological or physical desire to keep using certain substances even if they are harmful and dangerous.

Remember, not all cases of substance use can be viewed as substance abuse. While abuse is a compilation of several factors, not every case of drug use needs treatment.

Identifying The Early Signs Of Substance Abuse

It is quite challenging to catch the telltale signs of fully-grown addiction in the early stages. But, you can count on a few of the following ones:

  • Finding places where the substance is available
  • Family history of addiction
  • Being drawn to substance
  • Experimenting

Drinking and smoking are always treated as social behaviors that make it difficult to know if it’s normal or a substance abuse issue. Experimentation is when someone has started using a substance to manage stress.

Signs can be mild at first; however, if this problem is left unaddressed, it can grow into debilitating medical issues that can be extremely dangerous.

The good news is – substance abuse can be treated. The most common treatment plans for this issue are drug rehab and support groups. However, such treatments are always customized as per the needs of an individual.

You can get in touch with our Southern California Recovery Center to know more if you or someone you love are showing signs of alcoholism or drug abuse.

In such cases, quick action is recommended as the chances are, you could be leading the way to dependence.

Top 10 Signs Of Substance Abuse Disorder


People facing drug or alcohol abuse problems may exhibit one or more signs mentioned below:

  1. Drug-Seeking Behavior: The user spends most of the time and energy of his or her day finding, using, and enjoying drugs.
  2. Neglecting Responsibilities: If the person chooses drugs or alcohol over his work, class, or other personal obligations, he or she’s probably an abuser.
  3. Isolating Behaviors: Drug users isolate themselves over time so that they can hide their addiction from family and friends. This can be because of depression, perceived stigma, paranoia, or anxiety that arise due to their substance abuse.
  4. Change in Physical Appearance: A continuous abuse of alcohol or drugs can lead to severe alterations in the physical appearance of the user. It affects the appetite, and the abuser can undergo rapid weight gain or loss.
  5. Rapid and Constant Mood Swings: Abusers may exhibit ultra-hyper or out-of-control behaviors at times. Or, some can get extremely depressed within no time.
  6. Sleep Habits: Drug or alcohol abuse can take a toll on your sleeping habits. The possible indicators are – oversleeping, staying up late, and keeping irregular hours.
  7. Withdrawal Symptoms: When the user abruptly reduces the drug use or stops it completely, withdrawal symptoms occur. This happens as the body gets accustomed to the drugs or alcohol till the time you decide to stop it.
  8. Erratic Behaviors: This is caused due to withdrawal symptoms and can be extremely dangerous. If the user takes substances during such times, it can magnify the behavior and can lead to some severe mental disorders. Experts treat this as the most common sign of substance abuse.
  9. Intense Cravings: Substance abusers often crave their type of drug. This is one of the central features of addiction and is medically defined as a conscious and unconscious desire to want the drug or alcohol.
  10. Financial Troubles: Abusers spend a significant chunk of their money on drugs. Ultimately, they drain their bank accounts and run out of money to buy more drugs. This can be a major red flag for substance abuse and can result in harsh consequences.

Final Thoughts On Have A Substance Abuse Problem

No matter how severe the substance abuse problem is, there are treatments for it. Sadly, many see rehab as a shameful thing. In reality, it is not. It is just medical treatment.

Although these 10 signs reflect addiction or substance abuse, they are not the measurement of the scale of abuse. But one thing is crystal clear; if the case of substance abuse is severe, rehab is the only way to full recovery.

So, if you are bold enough and ready to face the truth of your substance abuse problem – contact us. We are happy to help and get you back from that dark tunnel.

About The Author:

Jack was a victim of addiction when he was just 12. Today, he is dedicated to healing people facing the same issues that he once faced. Apart from being the Chief Executive Officer at Renaissance Recovery. Jack handles and manages several other roles at the company. He is known for his work with clients that helped them build a solid foundation for recovery. 

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