Substance abuse affects lives in many ways. Not only does it damage your health, but it can affect your career and relationships. Addiction also harms finances because patients are always looking to get some money to score their next hit.
Furthermore, prolonged use of substances can also warp your brain. It can harm your brain and change how you think. According to brain imaging studies, long-term substance use weakens the prefrontal cortex regulating self-control, attention, and emotional regulation.
Plus, alcohol and drugs release dopamine. The hormone initially makes patients feel happy. Later, patients end up craving the addictive substance to get the same feeling. Unfortunately, patients have to increase the dose to replicate the effects. Therefore, they go through a vicious cycle of addiction.
There are several warning signs of substance abuse. For example, people may become violent after drug and alcohol addiction. They may act up over minor inconveniences or breakdown over everyday issues. However, most patients are in denial of their condition. Therefore, they might not find their behavior troubling.
Users often face changes in their personalities. Following are some ways addiction changes your behavior:
Users may become violent if they do not control their addiction because substance abuse causes emotional volatility and extreme depression. Furthermore, some patients experience mood swings and anxiety. Unfortunately, intimate partner violence is common amongst users. So usually, partners, spouses, and significant others have to see the ugly side of addiction. Patients may think that their loved ones are conspiring against them to prevent them from getting drugs. Therefore, they lash out at others. Users should seek expert help if they start showing similar tendencies. So, seek help from an addiction treatment center if you or a loved one becomes violent because of substance abuse.
Users may also become emotionally offensive. They consider everyone as their enemy. So, they may target their friends and family. Patients often use abusive language and scream at their families. They may even curse or shout at loved ones. Sometimes users push away their loved ones and become secretive. Users are suspicious, manipulative, and dangerous.
Patients begin to lie to feed their addiction. They may become less talkative and more suspicious of others. Users prefer to spend their time alone instead of socializing with others. Most people display this trait to hide their whereabouts. They also borrow money from people to feed their obsession. So, they have to lie to their friends and family to hide their problems. The lies increase with time as the addiction becomes more severe. Since most people do not like to confront others, users often get away with their lies. It may take several years for a loved one to recognize that a user is lying to them.
Users manipulate others to avoid getting caught. For example, patients come up with excuses and justifications about their behavior. They become persuasive to convince others of their lies. They may even lie about turning a new leaf and mending their ways.
Since drugs and alcohol affect our brains, people become forgetful. Most patients do not remember their actions under the influence. Sometimes, drugs and alcohol cause blackouts. Therefore, patients might forget conversations they had earlier in the day. Unfortunately, substance abuse also changes our thinking patterns. So, patients may not believe others when they tell them about the gaps in their memory. Users will instead deny everything.
Patients try to hide their activities from others. Therefore, they may not spend time with their loved ones. Sometimes patients become suspicious when people ask them about their lives. They may be wary of others and avoid divulging information about their activities. There are several reasons for their behavior. Not only are patients engaging in problematic behavior, but they are also using illegal substances. Therefore, they may be hiding their activities to avoid getting in legal trouble.
Substance abuse often causes depression and anxiety. Substances change brain chemistry and make people anxious. For example, alcohol increases inhibition and decreases excitable emotions. However, over time the brain adjusts to this change and reduces quantities of the inhibitory hormone. The changes in secretion cause a hormonal imbalance. Therefore, patients feel agitated and anxious when they do not drink. Furthermore, patients may become anxious because they have to meet their growing need for substances. They feel hopeless and lost.
8. Risky behavior:
According to studies, long-term substance abuse affects the prefrontal cortex. Since the prefrontal cortex helps people predict and plan, substance abuse messes with planning. Patients are not able to foresee the consequences of their actions. Therefore, they engage in risky behavior to get more pills or alcohol. Users sacrifice their relationships and ignore ethical considerations to buy more drugs. So, people may share needles or engage in unprotected sex. Their behavior makes them vulnerable to other diseases, such as STDs and STIs.
Addiction changes your behavior and your company. Patients are more likely to spend time with others with similar habits. They push those who care about them. So, they choose different friends. Their new friends reinforce their bad habits and influence them to drink heavily. Users seek connections with people who can help them fuel their obsession by getting the drugs.
Addiction can take over your life. It often becomes the most vital thing in your life. Therefore, users ignore other interests to sustain their addiction. It also affects their relationships as people put their drug habits before others. Furthermore, users devote their time drinking or using drugs instead of using them to master their skills. With time, patients lose their jobs.
What to do if you recognize these changes in someone?
Realizing that your loved one has an issue is overwhelming. However, you are not alone. Patients can seek help from mental health experts to kick the habit. They can also consult medical professionals at rehab centers for support during a challenging time. There are also several support groups for people suffering from substance abuse. These support groups offer group counseling to help users overcome their addiction.
Patients should do their research before deciding on their treatment plan. There are several treatment options, from inpatient services to outpatient rehabs. Sometimes, addictions cause patients to engage in self-harming behavior. They end up putting themselves and their loved ones at risk. Therefore, it is vital to seek treatment as soon as possible.