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The Transition House, Inc.

What are the signs of substance abuse dependency?


There’s a fine line between recreational use and substance dependency. Young adults are so often tempted with recreational substance use, especially in their college years. What begins as ‘innocent’ experimentation can turn into a dangerous substance dependency. So what exactly is substance dependency, and how can you recognize it in your loved ones?

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According to SAMHSA, substance use disorders occur when the recurrent use of alcohol and/or drugs causes clinically and functionally significant impairment, such as health problems, disability, and failure to meet major responsibilities at work, school, or home. A diagnosis of substance use disorder is based on evidence of impaired control, social impairment, risky use, and pharmacological criteria.

Although signs of dependency are different for every individual, some behavioral signs that can indicate a substance dependency problem are:

  • Changes in behavior
  • Loss of interest in hobbies
  • Paranoia
  • Possession of fake identification
  • Pattern of dishonesty or deception
  • Drop in grades or performance at work
  • Overall changes in mood and personality
  • Irritability
  • Suspicious behavior
  • Difficulty paying attention

Approaching a friend or loved one that may be displaying signs of substance dependency can be tricky. It’s important to encourage your loved one to seek help and remember that individuals who struggle with addiction often have a lot of self-destructive behaviors, shame, and denial. Their reaction to your concern might be perceived in a negative way. Encourage your loved one to visit a doctor to get a professional opinion and remind them that you are there to support them, not to criticize their choices.

If you (or a loved one) are suffering from substance abuse issues, contact us at TTHI Counseling Center. We offer programs for substance abuse treatment in Central Florida.


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