Struggling with Substance Use Disorder

Taking care of yourself and those you love means recognizing when something is off.

Identifying unhealthy behaviors is an important first step when spotting substance use disorder. Substance use disorder occurs when a pattern of behavior forms using harmful substances for mood-altering purposes. While some substances, like alcohol, may be enjoyed socially without problems, and some substances, like prescription drugs, may be taken for medical reasons, both substances can create affects that people start to seek out and, in some cases, become addicted to. Addiction is a disease, but those with substance use disorder can work to overcome those behaviors. It’s important to be aware if you are more likely to become addicted to a substance.

According to, the children of addicts are 8 times more likely to develop an addiction.

Signs you or a loved one might be abusing a substance:

  • Eating more or less than normal
  • Stop taking care of yourself
  • Lack of interest in things you once enjoyed or loved
  • Irregular sleeping habits
  • Develop problems in professional or personal relationships
  • A strong craving for the substance in use

Substances that are commonly abused are alcohol, prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications, heroin, cocaine, and cigarettes. For substances like alcohol, the line between use and abuse can be unclear. Enjoying a few drinks after work to unwind, drinking two pots of coffee a day, smoking a pack of cigarettes a day—some are use and some are abuse. Abuse occurs when you use a substance in a way not intended or recommended, or when using more than prescribed. If, over time, you need more of the drug to get the same effect, or you become dependent on the drug, it can turn from abuse into addiction.

A good way to identify this is to ask yourself if using the substance to the extent you do is harmful or if it causes disruptions in relationships. If you answer yes, look into receiving help. Call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 800-662-HELP (4357).

Content by Lockton Dunning Benefits with info from and