Recognizing the Signs of Substance Use Disorder (SUD)

Watch almost any movie and you will be able to spot drug abuse in an instant. In reality, though, substance use disorder is sneaky and can be difficult to identify even by medical professionals.

Having one too many drinks at a party or experimenting with recreational drugs in a social context doesn’t necessarily lead to abuse. For some people, recreational drug use becomes more frequent until they become addicted to it while for others addiction starts with prescribed medications, such as opioid painkillers.

So, how can you recognize the signs and what you should do if you suspect that a loved one is abusing substances?

The Signs of Substance Use Disorder

Here are some of the most common signs of substance use disorder (SUD:)

  • Difficulty controlling substance use, whether it’s alcohol, opioids, or other types of drugs. The person is consuming higher quantities, more often, and for longer periods.
  • Although they may want to quit or cut back, they are not able to do it.
  • They start frequently missing school or work or lost interest in activities that they were passionate about before.
  • Noticeable physical health issues, such as sudden weight loss or gain, bloodshot or glazed eyes, apathy, and lack of energy or motivation.
  • They started neglecting the personal hygiene and don’t seem to be caring about grooming or their appearance.
  • Drastic behavioral changes, like aggression, being secretive, mood swings, irritability, and so on.

How to Approach Someone Who Is Struggling with SUD

If you think that a loved one is struggling with substance use disorder, don’t put them on the spot. Don’t point a finger at them, don’t be aggressive, and definitely don’t make them feel ashamed. This will only make them deny their problem and reject your help.

Choose a moment when they are calm and simply ask them if you can talk. Don’t start this conversation if they are under the influence or if the spirits are high. Once you found a good opportunity to talk to them about this issue, try to show support and let them know you are there for them. You could say something like:

“I can see you are going through something. Do you want to talk about what’s going on?”

“I’m worried about you. Can we talk? How can I help?”

If they refuse to talk to you, ask them if there is someone they trust and feel more comfortable talking to.

Listen carefully to what they have to say, don’t judge them, and don’t be quick to offer answers and solutions, even though they may seem so simple and obvious. Encourage them to get professional help and reassure them that you will be there to support them all the way.

Ask for Help Now!

If you or a loved one are dealing with substance abuse, it’s not too late to get help. Look for a Rehab South Africa center that fits your needs and being your journey towards rehabilitation.

Rehab in durban is the best place you could send you loved ones.

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