Substance Abuse Prevention

Signs of Substance Abuse

Millions of people abuse substances each year. Oftentimes they are not the stereotypical shady individual in a dark alley — they are neighbors, friends, and family members. Because the problem of substance abuse strikes so close to home, it is mostly left up to loved ones to observe the key indicators. Keep an eye open for the following moods, behavior, and actions:

  • Changes to personality, often negatively so
  • No perceived motivation for even the simplest tasks
  • Lack of desire for prior passions
  • Fits of uncontrollable shaking or convulsions (which some individuals will play off as them being cold)
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Garbled speech patterns
  • Absenteeism
  • Deterioration of personal hygiene
  • Inexplicable money problems
  • Isolation from friends or family
  • Excuse-ridden language

Suspected issues with substances can be confirmed by having the individual undergo an evaluation process. During the first stage, a screening, the prospective rehabilitation center patient will answer a series of questions from one of three commonly ascribed toolkits: the CAGE questionnaire, Alcohol Use Inventory (AUI), or the Substance Abuse Subtle Screening Inventory (SASSI). Such screenings are intended to determine likelihood rather than definitive evidence of substance use behavior.

If a physician sees a reason for concern, an assessment will be scheduled following a screening. One of two interviews can occur, the Addiction Severity Index (ASI) or the Diagnostic Interview Schedule-IV (DIS-IV). This face-to-face process is far more thorough and will result in a definitive answer to the question, “does the individual have a substance abuse problem that needs treatment?” If yes, the patient will begin the journey on their very own road to recovery.

Signs of Substance Abuse | Substance Abuse Prevention
Misuse of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco can be avoided — but it is best to begin in the teenage years in order to see the best results. The reasoning for this is simple: teenagers have malleable minds, so whichever way they are shaped, good or bad, will reverberate throughout the course of their lives. There is the intention behind the legal age for alcohol consumption being 21-years old. By then, the human brain has completed the majority of its growth and is less susceptible to permanent chemical manipulation on behalf of substances. Using illicit drugs, or just about anything else in mass amounts, renders this conclusion moot. But, with moderation, legal substances can have negligible effects on healthy adults.

Prevention must start as early as possible. Each subsequent year that substance use is prolonged as a teen has a profound effect on abuse likelihood as an adult. Any drug or alcohol use before turning 14 predisposes someone to years of potential substance abuse problems later in life. Beyond close-knit family or friends, the next-best preventative effort is education. Campaigns can teach individuals young and old about the dangers of drugs holistically, or refine their audience to the most prone population for greater impact.

If prevention was not enough and the telltale signs of substance abuse are present, treatment can address the principal causes of dependence or addiction. You see, not everyone’s problems with substances are the same. Some instances are subtle, some are more severe. No matter what the case may be, there is a path for everyone battling this internal strife.


Signs of Substance Abuse | Substance Abuse Prevention
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