Substance use disorder, or drug addiction, is a disease affecting an individual’s behavior and brain and can lead to the incapability of controlling the use of illegal or legal medication or drugs. Substances like nicotine, marihuana, and alcohol are also considered drugs. Once you are addicted, you might continually use the drug despite the problems it causes.

Substance use disorder may begin by experimenting with the use of a recreational drug under social circumstances, and, for some users, the drug abuse becomes more frequent. For other people, especially with opioids, addiction treatment starts with exposure to prescribed medicine or receiving medicine from a relative or friend who was prescribed the medicine.

You might need assistance from your physician, friends, family, support groups, or an organized drug rehab program to beat your addiction and remain drug-free.

Symptoms of Substance Abuse

If you notice any of the following drug addiction behaviors or symptoms, it may be time to consider drug rehab:

  • Suffering withdrawal symptoms once you try to stop using the drug
  • Not being successful at stopping the use of the drug
  • Spending a lot of time recovering from the drug’s effects, obtaining the drug, or using it
  • Driving or performing additional risky behaviors once you are under the drug’s influence
  • Doing things to obtain the drug you usually would not do, like stealing
  • Continuing the use of the drug, even when it’s causing issues in your life or causing you psychological or physical harm
  • Not meeting work responsibilities and work obligations, or reducing recreational activities or social activities due to the drug use
  • Spending your hard-earned income on the drug, even when you cannot afford it
  • Being positive that you keep a steady drug supply
  • Using larger quantities of the drug over a longer period than you intended
  • Over time, needing more and more of it to obtain the same effect
  • Having an intense urge to use the drug that blocks out all other thoughts
  • Feeling that you must regularly use the drug— daily or multiple times per day

When to seek drug rehab for a family member

Occasionally it is difficult to tell the difference between normal teen moodiness or angst from drug use signs. Potential signs that your teen or another member of the family is taking drugs include:

  • Financial problems: Abrupt requests for cash without any reasonable explanation; or you find that funds are missing or were stolen or that items vanished from your house, indicating perhaps they are being sold to support a drug habit
  • Behavioral changes: An exaggerated effort to keep members of the family from entering her or his room or hiding details about where she or he goes with friends; or significant changes in behavior and in family and friend relationships
  • Sloppy appearance is an indication that it’s time for drug rehab: A lack of interest in looks, grooming, or clothing
  • Physical health problems: A lack of motivation and energy, red eyes, or weight gain or loss
  • Issues at work or school might indicate a need for drug rehab: Missing work or school frequently, an abrupt disinterest in work or school activities, or a decline in work performance or grades

If you suspect that you or somebody you know is experiencing a problem, immediately seek help. The sooner the addicted person receives help, the better.