Substance abuse issues are not always easy to spot. Even those who hold jobs, have families and can attend regular functions can still have issues with substance abuse. It can be especially difficult to see the signs of a substance abuse problem during the beginning stages. This is a critical period for change.
What Is “Early Stage” Abuse?
Substance abuse and addiction issues can occur in any family. Regardless of income, race, sex, religion and background, any individual can suffer from addiction. As addiction progresses, it may become increasingly difficult to seek help. The early stages of addiction are a crucial time when people can quickly get the help they need.
Early stages of substance abuse can be deceiving. If treated early, addiction may not be as severe. Because the signs of substance abuse can be subtle during this phase, many people justify, ignore or are simply unaware of the warning signs.
Early Warning Signs
Substance abuse can occur with illegal or legal drugs. Even patients that are prescribed certain drugs by a doctor can still struggle with substance abuse. This can be especially confusing when a potentially addictive substance is or was originally intended for treatment.
If you find yourself wondering how long does a Xanax high last, this can be a warning sign for potential substance abuse issues. Xanax as well as prescribed opioids can cause physical and emotional dependency in many individuals. What becomes an initial treatment for anxiety or pain can easily progress into an addiction.
Recurring thoughts about the substance of choice can also indicate a potential problem. This can be true of alcohol and drugs. If you find yourself thinking about how you will feel with or without the substance upon waking up, this means the substance is an important part of your life. If you find yourself thinking about how to get more of the substance while you are already using it, this can indicate a more advanced substance abuse issue.
Other warning signs that you may have a substance abuse issue can include:
- Early morning depression
- Anxiety for no particular reason
- Vague aches and pains
- Sweating or restlessness
Early warning signs can often be found in relationships. This can include friendships and family as well as romantic relationships. Many individuals who have beginning signs of substance abuse may start to behave differently around others.
If others are frequently complaining about missed activities, being late or not being present, this can be a sign that you are preoccupied with substances. On days that substances are not used, you may feel too anxious or depressed to make time for friends or family. You may take days off from work or skip personal appointments.
Personality changes are common during early-stage addiction. If others are increasingly hurt by your irritability or frustration, this may be an early warning sign. Outbursts of anger or sadness are also common. Extreme mood swings can vary from euphoria to depression within a single day.
Hiding From Others
Privacy is a natural human need for most people. Hiding from others and keeping secrets are not usually part of every-day privacy. If you find yourself hiding medication bottles or pills, this is a clear warning sign.
In addition to physical hiding, you may find yourself omitting the truth or lying on a regular basis. These lies do not have to be big lies, but misleading others about where you’ve been, how you’ve spent your time or what you’re going to do in the future is a way of hiding. Once these behaviors become habituated, they can become automatic over time.
The Good News
By discovering early warning signs of substance abuse, getting help is often much easier. Early stage addiction or warning signs of addiction can be extremely scary. While it may be easier to look the other way, taking charge of the issue before it becomes a major problem can save you time, money and relationships.
There are many forms of treatment currently available for substance abuse. Depending on the stage and extent of the problem, these treatment options can greatly range in intensity. Substance abuse is a common problem that occurs across all segments of the population. There are many different approaches to breaking free from the cycle of abuse.