Substance abuse most often start in social situations where exposure to recreational drug use is prevalent. It can be a one-time experimental use for some yet, for others the abuse becomes more frequent. And then there are those who get hooked on drugs, particularly opioids, through exposure to prescribed medications.
The behavioural patterns of people addicted to drugs can sometimes be difficult to identify. Their manifestations cannot be lumped up into one set or checklist. People with substance abuse problems try their best to hide it from friends and family, making it all the more difficult to identify if someone is struggling.
Substance abuse, just like a communicable disease, does not discriminate. It does not matter what your educational background is, your socioeconomic status, age, race, culture…anyone has the potential to indulge in risky behaviour and develop the inclination to abuse drugs.
Addiction can be very difficult to arrest at an early stage and the following signs might help you recognize unhealthy drug use in family and friends:
Social drinking and smoking can be easily overlooked and dismissed as just a phase or a method to relieve stress. But, if left untreated, this can rapidly spiral out of control and can negatively impact a person’s health and maybe even turn into an irreversible habit.
The community of substance abuse experts are still in the midst of a debate as to what the clear-cut definitions of these words are—“addict”, “addiction”, “dependence”, “abuse”. While there is no definite formula to determine whether a loved one is addicted to drugs or alcohol, the following is a comprehensive description of addiction. Essentially, substance abuse hijacks the brain. This can manifest in three distinct ways: irrationally craving for the substance, uncontrollable use of the drug, and habitually using the drug despite its adverse consequences. These three processes aggregate to cause the addict to be in an altered state of consciousness, wherein their judgment and perception of reality are compromised. These neurological changes are now measurable through more advanced imaging techniques.
It has long been established that there is not a singular approach towards the management of addiction, so these newer imaging techniques and other diagnostic procedures are highly advantageous for the medical community to devise a more tailored approach to treat addiction.
For most people, addiction is not viewed as a disease. Turning to illicit substances is seen as a form of weakness or failure in moral judgment. This is the reason that many medical professionals, especially nurses, even get caught in its snare. And they remain silent because of feelings of shame and guilt. Although it is difficult to wrap our minds around it, these nurses would not purposefully place their patients’ well-being at risk. On the contrary, they cover up the signs of substance abuse quite well, that when they become apparent in the workplace, the addiction has progressed to a dangerous level. Substance abuse is a chronic and often fatal health dilemma that afflicts everyone, not just the medical community.
The Arden Centre understands the physiological mechanism of addiction thereby offering its substance abuse rehabilitation programs robust resources and different approaches in understanding this issue knowing fully well that it can sometimes be overwhelming, especially for first-timers. The Arden Centre specialists and staff provide in-depth understanding treating the issue with more compassion.
I am an energetic and committed Senior Health Care Manager with a passion for developing staff through education and mentoring.