Substance Abuse

Recognize the Signs and Find Support for Substance Abuse

Substance Abuse – What it Means and How to Pursue Recovery

Substance Abuse is much more common than many think. Even with the best of intentions, a well-meaning and responsible person can fall into patterns of substance abuse by taking prescription or over-the-counter drugs too frequently or by taking illegal drugs. In either case, it can cause significant problems for physical and mental health, as well as damage one’s relationships. However, it doesn’t have to be the end of the story. There are many resources available for those suffering from substance abuse in the Tarrant County area, ranging from medical programs to support groups.

Substance Use Info & Referral

Provides assistance to those using substances, their family, or public in accessing needed substance use services (Recovery Resource Council).

For mental health and substance use emergency support and referral (MHMR of Tarrant County).



Youth Crisis Hotline

A 24-hour hotline for any crisis – from pregnancy to drugs to depression.

Text CONNECT to 741-741

What is meant by substance abuse?

“Substance abuse” means that an individual has fallen into a pattern of abusing a medical or controlled substance, including illegal drugs and prescribed or over-the-counter (OTC) medication. Generally, a pattern of abuse is indicated by several negative signs, such as disruption to one’s livelihood or daily routines, physical or mental problems, and more. In addition, it is also a recognized brain disorder – it is not simply “in the head”. In most cases, it occurs when neurological changes affect the brain, which can make it very difficult for a person to overcome it by themselves.

What is the difference between drug abuse and substance abuse?

Although they may seem similar, substance abuse is not the same thing as drug abuse. In fact, it can encompass drug abuse, but not the other way around. It can refer to abusing a variety of substances, like OTC drugs and alcohol, illegal drugs, and more. Drug abuse, on the other hand, only refers to excessive use of drugs, including prescription drugs, illegal drugs, and OTC drugs. Regardless, both forms of excessive substance consumption can lead to long-lasting ramifications. This makes it very important to get help or provide helpful resources to individuals you know who are suffering from substance or drug abuse. Note that the World Health Organization and the American Psychiatric Association no longer use the term “drug abuse” in a medical context.

What are the three most common forms of substance abuse?

Alcohol is the most commonly abused substance. However, many other substances are also frequently abused, including marijuana and prescription medicines. Combined, these three substances are commonly abused. This is partly because of their accessibility and, in the case of marijuana, rising legality throughout the country. While alcohol, marijuana, and prescription medicines like pain pills or anxiety pills are the most commonly abused substances, other commonly abused substances include opiates, cocaine, methamphetamine, hallucinogens, and inhalants.





Is my loved one experiencing a crisis or addiction?

It can be difficult to know whether a loved one is in the middle of substance addiction or crisis. There are several warning indicators you can check, including:

  • Loss of interest in regular hobbies or activities
  • Frequent mood swings
  • Depression
  • Talking about or consuming one or more substances all the time
  • Substance use that interferes with work, school, or home duties
  • Increased risk-taking behavior, such as driving under the influence or out of character sexual behavior
  • In many cases, a loved one experiencing substance abuse or addiction will demonstrate multiple warning signs simultaneously. Those close to them should pay attention to their behavioral patterns and seek help for them when needed. Remember – it’s never too late to help!

How long does it take for brain chemistry to return to normal?

Depending on the abused substance and personal brain chemistry, it can take quite some time for brain chemistry to return to normal after substance abuse or addiction. For example, it takes many people about two weeks to recover from drug and alcohol abuse. Only after this time does the brain start to acclimate to a new neurochemical state. However, other forms of substance abuse could take many more weeks, months, or even years. The path to recovery can be long and difficult. But it is possible with support networks, effective programs, and medical assistance.

Substance abuse/chemical dependency

In many ways, substance abuse is similar to chemical dependency. However, chemical dependency can best be thought of as a progression of regular substance abuse. With chemical dependency, the brain can no longer function properly without the substance it has grown used to. This is most commonly seen with alcohol addiction; at a certain point, a person addicted to alcohol must consume the substance regularly or they may face serious injury or even death. Thus, the ideal treatment method involves “weaning” the person off alcohol by gradually tapering their consumption of it over time. In other words, substance abuse left unchecked could lead to chemical dependency and more severe consequences.

Do I need a substance abuse treatment program?

It may be difficult to know whether you need a substance abuse treatment program. Treatment programs can seem intimidating or even impossible to complete. But substance abuse treatment programs offer an opportunity to fix things before it gets out of hand. Mistakes happen – that’s just life. But you don’t have to let your mistakes define you.

Signs of a substance use problem

According to the National Institute on Drug Substance Use Disorders, substance abuse problems can be determined through analyzing multiple signs. Clinical signs of substance abuse problems include:

  • An increased frequency of use for the substance in question
  • Decreased time between using an abused substance
  • Weight loss
  • Constant fatigue
  • Red eyes
  • Laboratory at a realities
  • Depression and/or anxiety

Because the signs of a substance abuse problem can vary so dramatically, you may wish to get an official diagnosis from a family doctor or a medical specialist in psychopharmacology or alcoholism.

Don’t wait. Get help now

If you believe that you have a substance abuse problem, or that a loved one is experiencing a similar problem, don’t wait. The path to recovery can start today if you get help now. Recognize & Rise is available for anyone currently experiencing a substance abuse problem who needs help. Similarly, we can offer a variety of support channels and networking solutions to connect you to a substance abuse treatment program that’s right for you.

Substance Abuse FAQs

What is substance use disorder?

A substance abuse disorder is clinically defined as a pattern where recurring use of alcohol or other substances causes significant impairments, including disabilities, health problems, inability to meet responsibilities at work, home, or school, and more.

What substances are most abused?

Alcohol is the most commonly abused substance, followed by marijuana and prescription drugs like pain medication.

What causes drug abuse or dependence?

Drug abuse or dependence can cause by a variety of factors, including cultural norms, environmental stressors, social responsibilities or pressures, psychiatric issues, genetic vulnerabilities, and more.

What are the symptoms of drug abuse or dependence?

The symptoms of drug abuse or dependence can vary dramatically but are typically characterized by:

  • Increased consumption of the abused substance
  • Chronic fatigue, depression, and/or anxiety
  • A strong craving or desire to use drugs or alcohol
  • Substance use that interferes with regular responsibilities or requirements
  • Increased risk-taking behavior And more

Treatment options for drug abuse or dependence Although drug abuse or dependence can be debilitating, treatment options can help you get your life back on track and help you overcome their burdens. There are multiple treatment options for drug abuse or dependence available, including support groups, recovery programs, medical intervention, and more.

How do I get help for addiction?

The first step to get help for addiction is to contact Recognize & Rise. With our help, will be able to connect you with medical professionals or substance abuse recovery programs in the Tarrant County area. After this step, you’ll be able to start on an effective road toward recovery. You can also reach out to family members and friends – forming a support group is vital for overcoming any type of addiction, and it can give you the strength you need to succeed!

Seek help before a crisis takes place

Most important of all, it’s crucial that you call for help before a crisis upends your life. Calling now is much better than calling tomorrow – it could make all the difference in your recovery. Start the recovery journey today with the resources above. Visit our support page or call any of our available hotlines today. Most of all, remember that you aren’t alone. We’re here to help, and we’ll help you reach a brighter future.

Support Options

Call 211

Referral to services for basic needs like mental health, rent, utilities, transportation. (Bilingual) Supported by United Way.

Tarrant Cares
Online info service for individuals, families, caregivers & agencies; mental health, Substance use, IDD, Veterans.

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