Ringing in the Holidays: Recognizing the Signs of Substance Abuse

HE_holiday-drinking_s4x3_leadThe holidays can be a time of great joy and togetherness, but they can also bring about feelings of stress and higher emotion. While many people are able to take these situations in stride, others have a more difficult time coping. This can lead to increased drinking or drug use. In addition, holiday parties can be an easy way to mask excessive drinking as being social or getting caught up in a good time. Recognizing that a friend or family member may be engaging in substance abuse can help you to get them the help that they need to recover.

Acting secretively or suspiciously. You know your loved one’s normal behaviors and what seems out of the ordinary. When someone is misusing drugs or alcohol they often become more secretive as they hide their use or its effects. Whereas they are usually mingling and interacting at a party, they may become more withdrawn and disappear for periods of time.

Becoming more aggressive, anxious, or paranoid. Substance abuse can impact mental health and behavior. Take note if they seem to get angry more easily and have been getting into fights or arguments. Are they jumpy and anxious when others are around? Do they seem to be paranoid or fearful of what is to come? Drug abuse can cause sudden mood swings or changes in personality.

Slacking on responsibilities or missing appointments. While under the influence, the person may be late for meetings, have poor attendance at work or school, and not be performing at their usual level. They may begin neglecting their responsibilities and have less interest in things that they used to enjoy.

Changes in physical appearance. Substance abuse can lead to changes in appetite, bloodshot or glossy eyes, sweating, nausea, unusual smelling breath, puffy face, pale skin, and more. The person may not keep up with personal hygiene as well as they once did. In addition, their speech may be slurred and they may have difficulty remembering.

Making excuses for behavior. To hide their substance use, they may always have an excuse. It could be to relax, de-stress, or celebrate. They may downplay how much they have had to drink or blame incidents on another cause. It is important to stay alert and recognize when these stories may not line up or seem unusual.

If you feel that your loved one may have a substance abuse problem, counseling can help them to overcome these issues. They can work through challenges that they are facing in a safe, supportive environment and develop healthier, more effective ways of coping. The counselor can help to get to the root of problems and manage underlying issues. They can also help families to build stronger relationships and be supportive of recovery efforts.

Early detection of substance abuse can help to prevent it from developing into addiction or causing more serious problems. Educating yourself on signs, symptoms, and ways to get help can allow you to identify potential issues and be proactive in addressing them. If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, Safe Harbor Christian Counseling can help you find your way. Learn more effective strategies for controlling or overcoming your substance use and healthier ways to deal with stress and life’s challenges. Visit www.safeharbor1.com or call 1-800-305-2089 to learn more and schedule an appointment with one of our counselors today.

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About Safe Harbor Christian Counseling

Safe Harbor Christian Counseling serves local communities by providing Christian-based, clinically sound counseling so that people experience the recovery of their hearts. Our unique approach to marriage counseling, family counseling and individual counseling includes offering an inviting atmosphere whereby a healing relationship is experienced in the counseling room. Safe Harbor consists of 7 partners with over 70 counselors trained in the mental health field.
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