Substance use disorder
Substance use disorder is a condition that occurs when a person indulges in substance abuse of alcohol, opioids, cannabis (hash/weed), sleeping pills cocaine, marijuana, nicotine cough and syrups such that it becomes continuous and obsessive. It also leads to dysfunctionality in all the areas of life like work and relationships.Substance use disorder treatment is used to treat the condition. As it leads to psychological problems, it may also require consultation of a psychiatrist. You can avail the facility readily in Punjab as a psychiatrist in Punjab is available in every city.
Symptoms of substance abuse
The condition is characterized by the following signs-
- The patient feels an urge to use the drug regularly which could be as frequent as several times a day.
- The patient has an intense craving for the drug
- The urge is often so strong that the patient blocks out any other thoughts
- The patient takes larger amounts of the drug over a long period and carries on for longer than intended
- The patient tries to maintain a supply of the drug
- The patient spends money on the drug, even if it is out of his financial reach
- Over time, the patient needs more quantity of the drug to get the same effect
- The patient starts ignoring personal obligations and professional responsibilities; curtailing social or recreational activities due to drug use.
- The patient starts experiencing withdrawal symptoms when the patient attempts to cease taking the drug.
- The patient continues to use the drug, even though he knows that it’s causing him physical and psychological harm
- The patient takes to stealing for purchasing drugs, even though he has not done it ever before
- The patient spends a great deal of time in procuring, using or recovering from the effects of the drug
- The patient fails in his attempts to stop taking the drug
Many people who indulge in drug abuse are also diagnosed with mental health disorders. It is thus imperative to check a person seeking help for either substance use or other mental health disorder for the other condition and treat accordingly.
Other complications due to drugs
- Drug abuse can lead to several damaging complications, like:
- Contracting a communicable disease- drug addicts are more likely to get an infectious disease, like HIV, through unsafe sex or by sharing needles.
- Other health problems- Drug addiction triggers both short-term and long-term mental and physical health issues, depending on the drug taken.
- Accidents-Drug addicts are more likely to meet an accident if they drive under the influence.
- Suicide-Drug addicts are more likely to commit suicides
When to seek the help of a doctor
If you feel that your drug use is getting out of control or leading to addiction then it is time to seek medical help. The sooner you seek help, the better as it will increase the chances of your recovery. Get in touch with your primary doctor or consult a mental health professional, like a psychiatrist, or drug counsellor.
It is time to make an appointment with the doctor if:
- You are unable to stop using a drug
- You can’t stop using the drug despite knowing that it is harmful to you
- Your drug use has prompted you to indulge in unsafe behavior, like sharing needles or having unprotected sex
- You feel that you might have withdrawal symptoms once you stop drug use
- If you’re apprehensive in approaching a doctor, you can use helplines or hotlines which are provided for such patients. You can find their numbers on the internet.