Drug and Alcohol Abuse & Addiction

  • Substance abuse is characterized as the consistent use of any substance with mind-altering effects and a detrimental effect on the user’s character and mental stability. Addicted persons typically suffer from a pattern of cause and effect with destructive behavior and stress resulting from the addiction. (Medical-Reference.net 2014)
  • Both legal and illegal drugs can do much harm. Legal drugs are not necessarily safer than illicit. They can also cause drug dependency, which eventually may lead to addiction. Interestingly, a 2010 study published in the Journal Lancet found that despite being legal more often than the illicit drugs, alcohol was analyzed the most dangerous by far.
  • Nearly 72 percent of America’s students have consumed alcohol (more than a few sips) by the end of high school and more than 37 percent have done so by the 8th grade. (National Institute on Drug Abuse-2011)

Possible Signs and Symptoms of Substance Abuse:

  • Change in personality or tolerance level for people
  • Lying, manipulative behaviors
  • Significant change in sleeping and eating patterns
  • Feeling that you need the substance regularly and in some cases, intense cravings throughout the day
  • Making certain you maintain a supply of the drug
  • Doing things to obtain the drug that you normally would not do, such as stealing or prostitution
  • Feeling that you need the substance to deal with your problems
  • Driving or doing other activities that place you and others at risk of physical harm when you’re under the influence
  • Inability to fulfill major responsibilities at home, school, or work
  • Repeated legal problems because of substance abuse
  • Requiring more of the substance to produce the same effect
  • Repeated attempts and failures to limit substance use
  • Needing the substance to relieve withdrawal symptoms
  • Spending significant time using, recovering from, or obtaining a substance
  • Isolating from your family

Common signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse include:

  • Repeatedly neglecting your responsibilities at home, work, or school because of your drinking. For example, performing poorly at work, flunking classes, neglecting your kids, or skipping out on commitments because you’re hung over.
  • Using alcohol in situations where it’s physically dangerous, such as drinking and driving, operating machinery while intoxicated, or mixing alcohol with prescription medication against doctor’s orders.
  • Experiencing repeated legal problems on account of your drinking. For example, getting arrested for driving under the influence or for drunk and disorderly conduct.
  • Continuing to drink even though your alcohol use is causing problems in your relationships. Getting drunk with your friends, for example, even though you know your spouse will be very upset, or fighting with your family because they dislike how you act when you drink.
  • Drinking as a way to relax or de-stress. Many drinking problems start when people use alcohol to self-soothe and relieve stress. Getting drunk after every stressful day, for example, or reaching for a bottle every time you have an argument with your spouse or boss. (Helpguide.org, 2014)

If you or someone you know is struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction, Mercy can help. Our program is completely free to the girls we serve. Call 615-831-6987 for more details, or click here to learn more.

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Click the video to listen to Tina’s story of transformation from a drug addiction.