Learning the answer to “What is substance abuse?” is often the first step toward getting clean. Often, addicted individuals believe that they are just recreational drug users. At some point, loved ones point out the extent of their use. When drug use has taken over every aspect of the individual’s life, he or she is no longer a casual drug user. At this point, individuals like this have crossed the line from recreational use to addiction.
What Is Substance Abuse?
Substance abuse is the harmful use of drugs or alcohol. Over time, abusing a drug rewires the mind so that individuals have to use drugs just to feel normal. While some people can use drugs without any problems, substance abusers have a strong desire to use that’s difficult to control. Even if the addiction carries harmful consequences, substance abusers will continue to seek out drugs. Over time, their tolerance level increases so that more drugs are needed to achieve the same feeling.
What Is Substance Abuse? Is It Different From Recreational Drug Use?
A recreational user doesn’t need the drug to feel normal or happy. They rarely think about drugs when they aren’t around them. Recreational drug users are able to maintain their jobs, personal relationships and social life without their drug use affecting them. If certain people are recreational users, they can say no to drugs and not care about it.
It’s never a good idea to use drugs recreationally because most addicted individuals begin as recreational users. At some point, individuals will start to seek out drugs to feel happy or normal. Their relationships quickly become secondary to finding and using drugs. Substance abusers often have problems maintaining relationships. Financially, they may get into debt or miss payments as their paychecks go toward buying drugs. Throughout each day, they may spend some or most of their time thinking about getting high again.
Medical Professionals Speak Up: What Is Substance Abuse?
According to medical professionals, you may have a substance abuse disorder if you have two or more of the following problems in a single year:
- You continue to use despite social problems due to drugs
- You crave drugs or alcohol
- You’re unable to meet your family, work or school obligations
- You have a tolerance for the drug and need more to get the same high
- You’ve used drugs in dangerous situations like driving a car
- You experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop using
- You know the toll substance abuse takes on you, but you still use
- You’ve been unsuccessful at decreasing your drug use
- You spend a significant amount of time seeking out drugs
- You’ve used longer or in larger amounts than you meant to
- Social, recreational and work activities are placed secondary to substance abuse
If you have experienced two or more of the preceding criteria, you may have a substance abuse problem. No one deserves to live with substance abuse, and you can get help. If you or a loved one wants to end an addiction, take the first step toward sobriety by contacting the Hills Treatment Center today at 866-323-4665.