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Spotting the Warning Signs of Substance Abuse

Jan 24, 2023
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Addiction affects people from all walks of life. Without individualized treatment, a drug or alcohol problem can have deadly consequences. Knowing the warning signs of a substance use disorder is important for getting help as soon as possible.

Millions of Americans suffer from substance abuse problems, including problems involving illicit drugs and prescription drugs like prescription opioid pain relievers. More than 100,000 people die of a drug overdose every year, including many struggling with abuse and addiction problems.

Early treatment plays a vital role in breaking the deadly cycle of addiction, and that relies on identifying abuse issues as early as possible. Unfortunately, many people don’t know what signs and symptoms to look for, which means they or their loved ones don’t get the prompt, individualized treatment they need to break the cycle and work toward recovery.

At Revival Infusion Madison, certified registered nurse anesthetist Sarah Wilczewski, CRNA, APNP, helps women and men in Fitchburg, Wisconsin, learn to recognize the symptoms of substance abuse disorders, so they can seek treatment as soon as possible. Here are five warning signs you should know about.

1. Multiple failed attempts to quit

People with substance use disorders experience powerful, often irresistible urges to use their substance of choice. These urges are driven by both a psychological need and a physical dependence that develops with addiction. 

As a result, attempts to quit using the substance are frequently met with failure, leading to feelings of guilt and shame that can lead to additional substance abuse problems.

2. Need to use more of a substance to attain the same effect

Substance abuse happens in part because your body develops a tolerance for the levels of the substance you’re using. Consequently, you need to take more of that substance to achieve the same effects, including feelings of euphoria or deep relaxation often associated with alcohol abuse as well as illicit and prescription drug abuse. This increasing need can quickly lead to addiction and overdose.

3. Loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed

Alcohol and drugs alter your brain’s reward-response system, driving your cravings for the desired substance and shifting your focus away from other things that once mattered to you, including socializing and activities you once found relaxing and enjoyable. 

Likewise, many people with substance abuse issues find themselves withdrawing from friends and family and spending more time with people who share their addiction. Others prefer to isolate themselves and spend their time focused on satisfying their addiction.

4. Significant changes in sleep patterns

Because drugs act on your brain’s activity, abuse issues are often associated with sleep problems. This can include sleeping more or less than usual, or having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. Some people use drugs to help them sleep, eventually finding it impossible to sleep without those substances.

5. Spending increasing amounts of money to satisfy cravings

As you become more tolerant of a drug, you need more to achieve the high you’re looking for. That means spending more money to obtain the drug, as well as more time planning out how to get more. Eventually, you find yourself spending most of your resources on obtaining the substance or thinking about your next fix.

Get help for substance abuse

The cycle of substance abuse can be exceptionally difficult to break on your own. While medication and psychotherapy can help many people, others find this combination is ineffective at helping them achieve meaningful, long-term relief.

At Revival Infusion Madison, we offer an alternative: low-dose ketamine infusions that target the underlying mechanisms of addiction. Custom ketamine infusion treatment plans can be very effective in helping people overcome the challenges of substance abuse, so they can finally take back control of their lives.

If you or a loved one is suffering from a substance abuse problem, don’t delay treatment. To learn more about ketamine infusion for substance use disorders, call 608-405-6824 or book an appointment online with the team at Revival Infusion Madison today.

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