In 2018, 139.8 million people in the US aged 12 and older were current alcohol drinkers. One in five Americans also used illicit drugs within the past month during that year.
Between 2007 and 2017, there was a 108% increase in drug-related deaths among adults aged 18 to 34. There was also a 69% spike in alcohol-related deaths within this age group.
In Utah alone, opioid-related overdose deaths claimed 456 lives in 2017. That makes the state’s average death rate higher than the national average.
The bottom line is, alcohol and drugs can kill.
If you use any substance, getting clean and sober should be your first step to a life free of alcohol or drugs.
The question is, when exactly should you enter rehab? What are the signs that you need professional help?
We’ll answer all these questions in this post, so be sure to keep reading!
1. You’ve Developed Health Problems Due to Your Substance Use
In 2018, there were 83,517 liver disease deaths in Americans aged 12 and above, 48.7% of which was alcohol-related. Long-term use of drugs may also cause heart failure through direct myocardial toxicity. Injecting drugs also increases one’s risk of getting HIV by 22 times more than in those who don’t.
All these show how extended use of alcohol and drugs puts your health at serious risk. If your health has been suffering a lot lately and you’re using any substance, it’s time to go to rehab.
2. Your Memory is Becoming Fuzzier
Long-term and excessive use of alcohol has long since shown to trigger or even cause memory loss. It does so by hindering the brain’s ability to create new long-term memories. The more alcohol you consume, the more severe your memory impairment problems will be.
Illegal drugs, such as fentanyl, also have the potential of inducing permanent amnesia. They do so by causing brain damage or altering brain chemicals. Either way, such drugs can impair the brain’s ability to either make new memories or store them in the long run.
If you’ve been forgetting people’s names or recent events, don’t ignore these signs. Your alcohol or drug use may have already started affecting your brain in the long-term.
3. You’ve Driven Drunk or “High” Several Times
Drunk-driving claims the lives of at least 30 people in the US every day. In 2018 alone, there were 10,511 deaths that occurred in the country due to drunk-driving crashes.
Drugged-driving has shown to cause even more deaths. In 2015, for instance, 43% of motorists who died tested positive for drugs. That’s 6% higher than the 37% of drivers who died and had alcohol in their system.
Keep in mind that you’re not the only person at risk if you drive while intoxicated or drugged. If you get involved in a DUI crash, everyone else involved may die or get injured as well.
If you’ve driven under the influence more than once, it’s best to get help.
4. You Find Yourself Thinking More and More About Alcohol or Drugs
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays many roles, including movement and speech. It also has a lot to do with how people feel pleasure, what they find interesting, and what makes them motivated. In this way, dopamine acts as a chemical messenger for the brain’s “reward system”.
Alcohol or any drug of abuse triggers this “reward system”. They do so by making the brain release dopamine in large amounts. However, this type of dopamine release tells the brain that the substance is worth taking more of.
As you take more of these substances, your brain will become used to the “pleasure” they bring. Over time, this will cause the brain to “push” you to try and get more of this reward.
Moreover, alcohol- and drug-induced dopamine release strengthens “reinforcement”. This is the motivation that you get to do something over and over. This then results in those “cravings” to drink more alcohol or to take more drugs.
You may even feel that you need to take these substances several times in one day. You may develop urges to be on that substance, which can be severe enough to block out all other thoughts.
If this describes you, then you should take the first step on how to get sober, which is to seek help ASAP.
5. Your Personality Has Changed
When dopamine levels from the alcohol or drugs subside, so does the “pleasure” they bring. Once there’s too little dopamine in the system, the body starts to crave these feelings. As the desire for alcohol- or drug-induced rewards increases, a person’s behavior changes.
These behavioral changes can start out as being irritable. The longer one goes without substance, the worse the symptoms can get. From being simply irritable, they may have sudden anger outbursts.
If you’ve been getting in more arguments with family or friends due to your substance use, take it as a sign to go to rehab. The earlier you undergo detox and rehab, the sooner you can get your personality back in order. Aside from helping you get off the substance, this can help you save your relationships.
6. You Become Physically Ill When You Don’t Drink or Take Drugs
When your body gets used to alcohol or drugs, a sudden stop in their intake can cause physical symptoms. Common signs of alcohol withdrawal include clammy skin, dilated pupils, and seizures. With most illicit drugs, nausea, vomiting, headaches, and fever are common withdrawal symptoms.
7. You’re Depleting Your Income and Savings
The average American spends around 1% of their income — about $565 — on alcohol in a year. However, most of these people only drink on occasion or in moderation.
Unfortunately, a study found that four in 10 Americans drink too much alcohol. For these people, that $565 a year could quickly multiply several times.
Illegal drugs aren’t any cheaper, as they cost Americans almost $150 billion every year.
This high cost can make those with substance use disorder look for other ways to pay for their alcohol or drugs. If they run out of money, they may either borrow from family or friends or sell some of their belongings. There are others, however, who may even begin to steal.
If you’re hooked on anything, don’t let it drive you to do these things. Don’t wait for any of these to happen, and instead, undergo rehabilitation as soon as you can.
8. You’re Getting Into Trouble At School or Work
Being hungover can cause fatigue, weakness, headache, muscle pains, nausea, and vomiting. It may also cause severe stomach pain and even tremors.
In drug use, the “comedown” and “crash” effects can cause similar symptoms. In many people, however, confusion and intense drug cravings also usually occur.
Either way, these “after-effects” are all unpleasant, and they can affect one’s performance. For students, this can be sleeping in class or an inability to understand the lesson. In working people, this can lead to numerous work errors and decreased efficiency.
If your school or work performance has already suffered due to drinking or drug use, it’s time to go into rehab.
9. You’ve Become Detached and Disinterested
Addiction and depression have many things in common, one of which is a loss of interest. People who have either usually stop liking things or activities they once enjoyed. They also often stop hanging out with family or friends.
Addiction and depression can also be co-existing conditions. One may develop addiction due to depression, or one may become depressed due to addiction.
If this is something that you’re experiencing, please get help as soon as you can. People who have substance use disorder have shown to have a much higher suicide risk.
10. You’re Questioning Your Decisions and What’s Happening to You
If you’ve found yourself asking “why me and why is this happening to me?”, that’s a step toward wanting to recover. You’re sick and tired of everything you’ve experienced due to alcohol or drugs. You want to stop having hangovers, withdrawals, and arguments with your loved ones.
Addiction, be it of alcohol or drugs, is a medical disorder that you need professional help with. This is why it’s better and safer to undergo medically-supervised withdrawal and detoxification.
Remember, withdrawal comes with many symptoms, most of which are painful. This highlights the importance of having someone you can trust to be there with you as you go through them. Let a professional be that someone to help you recover from your substance use.
Take the First Step Now to Getting Clean and Sober
Getting clean and sober is hard, but it is completely doable. Addiction is treatable, so long as monitored by professionals. While you may try and get clean on your own, it could be less effective, not to mention potentially dangerous.
So, as early as now, get yourself into a proper rehabilitation center. The sooner you do, the sooner you can stop the vicious cycle of alcohol or drug use.
Ready to take the first step to get clean and substance-free? Then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us now. We’ll be more than happy to help you throughout your recovery.