Substance addiction is a relapsing and progressive condition that is distinguished by the compulsive use of alcohol or drugs despite the negative impacts on the health of the user. An individual who has developed tolerance to any substance will need increasing doses of a substance to feel the feelings he or she craves, and this pattern of abusive substance is what speeds up the state of addiction.
When a user becomes dependent on a substance, he or she needs to continuously take a dose of the drug or alcohol to function normally on a daily basis. When the use of the substance is cut back or stopped, the user will experience symptoms of withdrawal which then triggers them to have a dose.
The following are the most common substances many people get addicted to:
- Heroin and other opioids
- Sleeping pills
- Methamphetamines, popular known as meth, and other amphetamines
- Marijuan (Cannabis)
- Nicotine (in tobacco)
- PCP or Angel Dust
- Other unspecified substances
When Someone You Know Has a Substance Addiction Problem
If you think that a loved one or a friend of yours has a drug or alcohol problem, there are many things you can do to help him or her.
Reach out. Find time to speak with the person alone to express your concerns and offer support and help without sounding judgemental. Do not wait for the person to hit rock bottom! The earlier you seek treatment, the better.
Self-blame must be avoided. You can offer help and support to a person with substance use problems, but you can never force them to change overnight or even in a month. You can never control anyone’s decisions in life, but the best way you can help is to let the person accept responsibility for his or her actions and just make them feel that you are always there.
Stay safe. Avoid putting yourself in harmful situations. Do not get so engaged in a person’s drug problems that you forget about your own needs. In this process, you have to make sure you also get support from other people and that you have someone you can talk to.
- threaten or punish.
- become a martyr. Don’t go all emotional because this might only increase their feelings of guilt that will lead to the urge to use drugs.
- make excuses for the drug user or cover them from the negative effects of their addiction.
- feel responsible for their actions.
- throw out or hide drugs.
- start heated conversations with the person when they are high; and
- take drugs with them.