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Coping with substance abuse

Updated on July 4, 2011

One of the biggest problems facing nearly everyone in the world today is that of substance abuse. This is one of the biggest reasons why families are falling apart, people lose their jobs, lose their loved ones and end up becoming completely messed up. You do not develop coping skills for substance abuse overnight and for many, this is a problem that involves therapy and medication for all their life. It may have begun on a whim or just as a casual activity with friends. Once it has developed into full blown addiction, controlling yourself can be extremely difficult.

There are a lot of signs that will indicate to you that someone you care about has a problem with alcohol abuse or has alcohol dependence. They would be indulging in behaviors they normally don’t under other circumstances, would have blackouts, problems at work, mood swings, irritability and inability to stay off the substance for long periods of time. If you know that someone you care about is indulging in binge drinking and knowingly endangering themselves or others in behaviors that will normally be considered dangerous, you should tell them that they need help.

Substance abuse can mean that you are dependent on and increasingly tolerant to alcohol, drugs or cigarettes. Tolerance means that you require larger quantities of the same substance to achieve the same high you used to get with lesser amount of it at another point in time. It could even be an addiction to popping too many pills without any real need for it. When you know that you or someone you know has a problem with addiction, the first step is to convince them that they have a problem. A lot of people are in denial about the fact that they are dependent on alcohol, tobacco or drugs. They don’t realize this fact until they are completely alone or their life has gone dangerously off track.

When you want to overcome this problem, start by checking yourself into a de-addiction centre. They will help you get the toxins out of your system and then work you into a better position to stay off the substances. Once you have managed to more or less flush out the poison, you can work towards the next step which is to work around your habits. There may be certain situations, people or places that are triggers for your drinking habit. Avoid them. It will cost you at the beginning to cut people out of your life, but if you know you are weak around them, you will need to decide to cut them out. It is a positive step towards recovery.

When you want to get someone to get help for their problem, start by sitting them down and stating the simple facts. Especially if it s a boyfriend or spouse who is using, then you will have to severe the relationship or make a pact to get out of it together and work it out from there. It is a painful process to deal with those we love in this manner and to state such ultimatums, but you are doing yourself and them a favor. Your decision just might be a trigger that moves them into a better space. Deal with your addiction today. Don’t wait until it is too late.

Here are some signals that mean you have to get help now:

  • · You are getting into legal trouble time and again for drunken driving and other offenses
  • · You have been finding solace in drinking, drugs, nicotine when you are upset, happy, sad or just to ‘get away’.
  • · You end up indulging in risky behavior when high and have harmed yourself or others
  • · You have relationship problems because of your drug/alcohol use
  • · You are trying desperately to get alcohol/drugs neglecting other commitments and responsibilities
  • · You don’t indulge in the activities you used to enjoy and your free time and every other time you have involves using the substance
  • · You know it is hurting you and you still continue to use the substance


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