A common cliche says that you have to hit rock-bottom before you can seek help for alcohol or drug abuse. While that’s true for some people, it can also be a dangerous overgeneralization. Some people will refuse to believe they’ve hit rock-bottom no matter what. At times, friends and loved ones enable a person struggling with addiction. For instance, let’s say substance abusers get drunk and scream at loved ones. They can rationalize that away by saying. “Well, it’s not like I hit anybody, so my brother says I don’t have a problem, and therefore I can keep drinking.” But things are not usually so black and white. Here are three signs that you would benefit from professional help for a substance abuse issue.
Your health has declined
A decline in health doesn’t necessarily have to be dramatic. If you’ve gained a few pounds, you may think it’s just stress, but it could also be that too much alcohol is adding some extra pounds. Alcohol can make it harder to burn fat. If you’re spending a lot of time drinking, you likely aren’t also spending a couple of hours in the gym everyday, burning off those liquid calories.
Of course, some other drugs can make you lose weight. Even if you don’t weigh yourself regularly, you should pay attention to how your clothes fit, as well as how your body in general feels. If it seems like you’re taking up either more or less space than you used to, that’s a sign that your substance abuse problem could be worse than you want to admit.
Physical manifestations of addiction can also show up in ways that aren’t related to weight loss. For instance, drinking can lead to high blood pressure and decreased liver function. When you go for a checkup, the doctor will probably ask how often you drink alcohol. It’s important to be honest. Your doctor can connect you to resources that will help you get better. Those resources include options such as rehab and sober living in Los Angeles.
Other people feel unsafe around you
You don’t consider yourself a violent or unpredictable person, but you’ve noticed that your friends seem a little more cautious when they hang out with you. If you suggest going to a bar, do your friends wince? That’s a sign that they don’t want to see you get drunk.
“But I’m not a violent person,” you’re thinking. That may be true when you’re sober, but alcohol often makes people unpredictable. Also, think about your temper when you’re not drinking. If you’re prone to getting worked up during a traffic jam, for instance, you may be more likely to get angry when you’re drinking.
You don’t have to hit people or even yell at them to come across as aggressive. You might just talk loudly or lack a sense of personal boundaries. The bottom line is this: If someone feels uneasy around you when you drink or get high, you shouldn’t assume they’re overreacting.
Cutting back is harder than you thought it would be
Many addicts don’t truly realize the scope of their problem until they decide to cut back. They think it will be relatively easy, but then it’s not. Some people just think about drugs or alcohol a lot, while others will experience physical withdrawal symptoms that can make it hard to function.
You don’t have to quit cold turkey. In some cases, that can even be dangerous. Your brain has gotten used to the feeling that drinking or taking a drug provides. When you stop providing that high without any sort of tapering-off period, things can get dire fast.
When you get to this point, you’ve got a choice. Some people will resume taking their addictive substance and pretend they never even tried to quit. But seeking out professional help is by far the healthier option. There’s no shame in asking for assistance.