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How to Know When It is Time to Find Help for Substance Abuse

How to Know When It is Time to Find Help for Substance Abuse

Do you ever feel strange when your prescription wears off? Perhaps you wake up shaky, sick to your stomach, or have a headache. In a more severe case, you could experience periods of confusion. Maybe you are starting to suspect that you are struggling with something, but you are not sure. Family or friends may have hinted at or complained about how you act, or even told you that you need to make changes before things get worse. These could all be symptoms that your substance use has turned into substance abuse.

People struggling with substance abuse usually deny they have a problem and are generally reluctant to seek treatment. Fortunately, it is never too late to educate yourself and make the decision to live a healthier lifestyle. Here are some other signs that you may have a substance abuse problem:

  • You have lost interest in activities you once liked to do.
  • You have trouble doing normal daily things like cooking or washing clothes and instead use that time to seek or use substances.
  • You drive or do other dangerous things when you know you should not.
  • You have a hard time giving yourself limits and end up using more than you intended.
  • You hide your drug or alcohol use from others.
  • You have trouble getting along with co-workers, teachers, friends, or family members.
  • You sleep more or too little, compared to what you used to.
  • Your eating habits have changed for the worse.
  • You have a new set of friends that you prefer to be with when you drink and party.
  • You use meds prescribed for other people.
  • You avoid telling the doctor about all the drugs or the amount of alcohol you are consuming.
  • You take prescribed meds with alcohol or other drugs.


This is not a complete list of signs that you might need help, but it will give you a good indication that you are going down a dangerous path if you are doing one or more of the things on this list. If you think you or someone you know has a problem, seek help right away. The sooner that you get help, the better. Nip this thing in the bud while you can. Get help now.

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How to Know When It is Time to Find Help for Substance Abuse

Richard Taite

Richard Taite is founder and CEO of Cliffside Malibu, offering evidence-based, individualized addiction treatment based on the Stages of Change model. He is also co-author of the book Ending Addiction for Good.

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APA Reference
Taite, R. (2015). How to Know When It is Time to Find Help for Substance Abuse. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 15, 2019, from


Last updated: 18 Sep 2015
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