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What Are the Signs of Having a Problem with Substance Use & Abuse?

 |  General

Signs of substance use disorder can be tough to spot. A substance use disorder is a disease caused by excessive use of substances. It affects a person’s brain and behavior. Due to this, it is important to know common substance use disorder symptoms. This can help you or your loved one get the help needed.

Signs of Substance Use Disorder

There are many different symptoms/signs to look out for.

  • Feeling dependent.
  • Thinking you must use many times a day.
  • Using more than you intend to.
  • Needing more over time.
  • Having intense urges.
  • Continuously using it even though it negatively affects you.
  • Not taking care of obligations.
  • Over spending money on it.
  • Doing things you normally would not do.
  • Engaging in risky activities.

When to see a doctor

If you notice signs of a substance abuse disorder, see a doctor that specializes in addiction, or an addiction counselor.

When to seek emergency help

If you or someone you know has used a substance and:

  • Changes in consciousness.
  • Has a seizure or convulsions.
  • Has chest pain, or pressure.
  • Has trouble breathing.



There are different factors that can cause a person to develop a substance use disorder. This is divided into two categories: environmental and genetic.

  • Environmental factors include:
    • The beliefs of a person’s family or friends
    • Whether they were exposed to alcohol and drug use early in their life
  • Genetic factors can influence how much a person is affected by certain substances

Risk factors

There are certain risk factors that can make someone more likely to become addicted.

  • A family history of substance use.
  • Lack of family involvement.
  • Peer pressure.
  • Mental health disorders.
  • Using a substance at an early age.
  • Using a substance that is highly addictive.

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