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Substance Use

Date: 04/01/22

Shot of a young man looking stressed out at home

What is Substance Use?

Substance use is the excessive consumption or misuse of a substance for the sake of its nontherapeutic effects on the mind or body, especially drugs or alcohol. 

Possible signs of substance use

Behavioral Changes: agitation, fits of violence or anger, paranoia or depression, apathy, forgetfulness, sudden need for money, lying. Physical Changes: any dramatic increase or decrease in weight, poor coordination, tremors, scent of substance, insomnia or hypersomnia. Social Changes: will withdraw from friends and family, suddenly socialize with those significantly younger or older

How to Help: 

Educate Yourself. Visiting a public library may help you find many books on substance abuse, and online research may help you find groups, support, and treatment centers.  In addition, many resources such as help you learn more about addictions. The SAMHSA National Helpline is confidential free help from public health agencies to find substance use treatment and information: 1-800-662-4357

Get Support. Don't go on this journey alone. Try to find support groups to help you on your journey of helping someone with an addiction problem. Specific groups can help you learn how to cope and provide resources. 

  • Al-Anon (focused on Alcohol addiction)
  • Nar-Anon (focused on drug addiction – prescription and illegal)

Get Counseling. Use your employers Employee Assistance Program if they offer it or your health insurance may have mental health benefits that you can access. Talk to someone you trust and that can help you find the resources you need, and do reasearch of your own to find help in your area.

Don't Enable. Financially supporting the addict or their addiction in enabling their behavior, and often family support the person's addiction without even fully realizing it. Instead, let them experience the consequences of their disease.

Have Realistic Expectations. Don't preach or lecture the addict. Don't react with pity or anger. Don't expect addicts to keep promises; they cannot do so during their disease. Instead, please continue to hold them accountable to expectations and offer help to direct them to the treatment they need. 

Take Care of Yourself. By taking care of yourself through exercising, getting plenty of sleep, socializing, and getting support, you may be better able to help your loved ones when they are ready to accept the help.

Substance User Treatment: 

Resources: National Institute of Drug Abuse Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Please always follow your healthcare provider's instructions. Programs and services are subject to change. Managed Health Network, LLC (MHN) is a subsidiary of Health Net, LLC. The MHN companies include Managed Health Network and MHN Services, LLC. Health Net and Managed Health Network are registered service marks of Health Net, LLC or its affiliates. All rights reserved