Substance abuse precedes chemical dependency. When a person is engaging in substance abuse, their attraction to a substance is primarily physiological – they get some sort of pleasure or satisfaction from it. However, someone who is only engaging in substance abuse will not feel physical withdrawal symptoms once the substance has left their body.
Once substance abuse becomes chemical dependency, however, the body has a physical need for the substance. That’s why when someone tries to quit using addictive substances without first undergoing medical rehab treatment, then they will experience withdrawal symptoms and be at high risk for relapse. When they quit taking that substance, they start experiencing the symptoms of withdrawal. In fact, attempts at self-detoxification can even be fatal. Some symptoms of withdrawal include:
- Anxiety attacks
These continue until the person struggling with chemical dependency needs a drink (or other addictive agent) again until these feelings subside.
Chemical dependency causes damage not only to the person struggling with it, but also to family members, friends, and other loved ones.
What Are the Symptoms and Signs of Chemical Dependency?
Chemical dependence can be difficult to identify because most people think of it like an occasional social use problem. However, chemical dependency goes beyond social drug use or occasional drinking. By looking at the signs and symptoms of chemical dependency, it becomes clearer whether someone should seek help from trained professionals.
The signs and symptoms of chemical dependency include:
- Increased dosage or use of the substance in question because low doses no longer provide relief from cravings.
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms without using the substance.
- Becoming aware of the negative effects the substance use is having in one’s life but continuing to use it anyway.
- Prioritizing the substance use over family, friends, health, work, or other important parts of life.
- Mood changes, violent behavior, and broken promises.
- Becoming fixated on acquiring more of the substance, even though illegal means.
- Withdrawing from family members, friends, and former loved ones in favor of those who enable substance use.
- Finding that activities which previously provided enjoyment and satisfaction no longer feel fulfilling. Instead, the only sense of relief comes when the substance is acquired and used.
Though often associated with illegal substances, it is possible to become dependent on legal substances. Commonly abused substances include:
- Prescription medications such as pain pills, stimulants, or anxiety pills
- Over-the-counter medicines
Legal and illegal substances can negatively affect an individual’s life. However, becoming chemically dependent on illegal substances frequently brings additional challenges and pain. Simply put, the legal consequences of dependency can completely disrupt one’s work, relationships, and even future opportunities.
How Can I or a Loved One Get Help for Chemical Dependency?
Combating chemical dependency can feel daunting or even impossible on one’s own. But there is hope. We offer treatment programs that are physician-led and work with a team of chemical dependency and substance abuse professionals here at SABHH. In our experience, we know that chemical dependency often co-occurs with mental and behavioral health conditions. That’s why our approach treats chemical dependency as a co-occurring issue with other mental health conditions simultaneously.
Our team is experienced in dependency treatment and recovery. Our facilities are ideal for creating an environment where patients can receive detox treatment and 24/7 monitoring that they need. Clinicians are on standby to help with severe effects of detoxification treatment, including delirium tremens (DTs).
The first step toward treatment is to contact our team. You can call us directly at (210) 541-5300 at any time. A team member is available 24/7. Alternatively, you can contact us online, and we will reach out to you as soon as possible.
We can help answer any question you have about our chemical dependency treatment programs and our behavioral healthcare hospital. Additionally, a member of our team can help schedule you or a loved one for a free, confidential no-cost mental health assessment.