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Substance Abuse

Substance Abuse

Substance use disorder is the medical term used to describe a pattern of using a substance (drug) that causes significant problems or distress. It refers to the use of illegal substances, such as marijuana, heroin, cocaine, or methamphetamine. Or the misuse of legal substances, such as alcohol, nicotine, or prescription medicines. Alcohol is the most common legal drug associated with substance use disorder. It may lead to substance-related legal problems, or continued substance use that interferes with friendships, family relationships, or both.

What are the symptoms of substance use disorder?

When you first start taking a substance, you may think you can control how much you use. But over time, you may need more of the drug to get the same feeling or effect. For some people, that can lead beyond abuse to addiction. Signals that you may have a problem with substance abuse include if you:

  • Lack interest in things you used to love
  • Change your friends a lot
  • Stop taking care of yourself
  • Spend more time alone than you used to
  • Eat more or less than normal
  • Sleep at odd hours
  • Have problems at work or with family
  • Switch quickly from feeling good and bad
  • Crave or strongly desire to use the substance

How is substance use disorder diagnosed?

A family doctor, psychiatrist, or qualified mental health professional usually diagnoses substance use disorder. Clinical findings often depend on the substance, the frequency of use, and the length of time since last used, and may include:

  • Weight loss
  • Constant fatigue
  • Red eyes
  • Little concern for hygiene
  • Lab abnormalities
  • Unexpected abnormalities in heart rate or blood pressure
  • Depression, anxiety, or sleep problems

Treatment for substance use disorder

Specific treatment for substance use disorder will be determined by our doctors based on:

  • Your age, overall health, and health history
  • Extent of the symptoms
  • Extent of the dependence
  • Type of substance you are using
  • Your tolerance for specific medicines, procedures, or therapies
  • Expectations for the course of the condition
  • Your opinion or preference

A variety of treatment (or recovery) programs for substance use disorder are available on an inpatient or outpatient basis. Programs considered are usually based on the type of substance. Detoxification (if needed, based on the substance) and long-term follow-up management or recovery-oriented systems of care are important features of successful treatment.

Don’t Wait. Get Help Now.

Substance abuse affects every part of your life. It can hurt you and the people around you. It can ruin relationships and your financial health. Abusing drugs can also lead to addiction and cause serious health problems and even death.

If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, Cura Medical Center Care Advisors are standing by to help.