Substance misuse is a complex issue, although the overall number of people with a serious problem is quite low, those who do have dependency issues will generally affect many others around them.
Friends and family are most likely to notice signs of substance misuse. The earlier a problem is recognised the more chance there is of successfully treating the problem.
Substance abuse often begins as a way of dealing with different situations and escalates from there. Initially users may begin with making the users relaxed and feel better however within time negative impacts will begin to take over.
Negative effects may influence relationships, work, social lives, study, finances or even cause trouble with the police.
A user may begin to feel depressed, anxious, angry and frustrated as they turn to substances to help them manage these feelings. The cycle continues and worsens, each time a person is faced with the same situation or feeling they revert to this new coping mechanism.
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There are various ways in which a person could display signs of substance misuse. Physical and behavioural changes are key indicators, however, each substance has its own unique effects. There are still some common signs which are apparent with most substance misuse.
Common signs to watch for include:
Treatment is often long-term, as addiction is classed as a chronic illness, especially for those who are addicted to drugs/medications. Treatment generally changes over time and is tailored to the individual. Treatment includes all aspects that are related to the problem such as medical, mental and social problems.
There are many ways in which substance abuse/addiction can be treated, however, some of the most common tactics include:
Detox: Allowing the body rid the system of the substance. This is generally carried out under supervised care to ensure the patient is safe. A gradual reduction in the drug may be required to slowly allow the body to adjust.
Treating withdrawal: Often withdrawal symptoms occur such as fatigue, depression and sleep problems. Doctors may prescribe medications to help minimise the effects and allow the brain to adjust to the absence of the abused substance
Behavioural therapy: This type of therapy can make treatment and medications more effective and help people learn how to change the way they think and cope with cravings that may push them towards a relapse.
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