In recent months, substance and alcohol abuse is on the rise due to the stress brought by the pandemic. Here’s how early intervention helps.
Some people turn to substances and alcohol to forget their problems or escape reality. This reason became obvious during the pandemic considering that substance abuse rose.
In the U.S., as of June 2020, 13 percent of Americans started or increased substance use to cope with the stress brought by the pandemic.
Meanwhile, others abuse substances for the sake of leisure. When they get bored, these people take addictive substances to “get high” and entertain themselves.
The problem is that many harmful substances are easily accessible. For example, alcohol is available in any grocery store or convenience store. Also, some over-the-counter drugs are commonly misused and abuse, such as dextromethorphan and loperamide.
Whichever the reason is for substance abuse, it’s a problem that can ruin the life of the abuser and the people around them.
Signs Of Substance And Alcohol Abuse
People who abuse substances and alcohol are not likely to admit to their mistakes. So the likelihood of seeking help on their own prerogative is very low. As such, the people in their lives, whether friends or family, are the ones that need to take action.
Before things get worse, it’s important to help people misusing or abusing substances. One must look at the warning signs to identify such a person.
Physically, the most common warning signs include bloodshot eyes, sudden weight loss, change in complexion, bad hygiene, and so on. Some substances can also make a person weaker, so lethargy might also be a sign of abuse or addiction.
People should also take note of behavioral changes. Those who abuse substances often become secretive. So they isolate themselves from others in an attempt to hide their addiction. Most substance abusers also seem to always be in a financial bind.
Helping someone who’s misusing or abusing substances isn’t easy. This person at risk will tend to ignore people and become elusive. And by the time they admit they need help, it may already be too late.
This only makes early interventions much more important. Some early intervention strategies to prevent people from making the mistake of misusing or abusing substances are as follows:
1. Raising Awareness
Information is very important in preventing people from falling into substance and alcohol abuse and misuse. Authorities should put extra effort into raising awareness about these problems.
People need to be educated about the effects of the problematic use and abuse of dangerous substances. They need to know what can happen to their body after each substance use and the negative changes in their life that are likely to occur.
They should also be educated on strategies to avoid substances or quit them early on. When someone is educated about substance addiction, they’ll be less likely to commit it.
If someone is suspected to be misusing or abusing substances, they should be taken for a screening as soon as possible. This screening involves several tests and dialogue with the individual to determine the severity of their substance use.
The screening will also help identify what steps must be taken to prevent the individual from falling deep into substance addiction.
3. Family Intervention
Another way to help a person misusing or abusing substances is through family intervention.
But it’s almost impossible for an affected individual to seek family intervention by themselves. So this solution is only possible if a family member makes the first move.
In this case, family members will encourage the affected individual to quit their abuse or misuse. This can be done through diligent monitoring.
Family members must also do their best to prevent the affected individual from exposure to harmful substances. This way, the individual can focus on their recovery.
They should also encourage the individual to seek professional help when necessary.
4. Professional Help
Usually, professional help is most needed when a case of substance addiction has become serious, such as those who can no longer help themselves. For instance, rehabilitation for crack addiction is best implemented in a treatment center that specializes in helping individuals with that specific problem.
In the early stages, going to a treatment center and seeking professional help might not be essential. But it will still be helpful. The professional help may be in the form of structured therapies and regular counselor visits.
Early Intervention Is Key
Substance and alcohol abuse is an epidemic in the U.S. Substance abusers have the tendency to harm others and themselves.
So if someone notices that an acquaintance or a family member is starting to abuse substances, they should intervene immediately. Doing so will prevent bigger problems in the long run.