If you were to answer the question, “what is substance abuse?”, would you point to narcotics such as heroin or cocaine? You’re not alone. There are many who consider these substances to be the drugs that others abuse. However, did you know that this list should also include tobacco, prescription drugs, and alcohol?

Understanding a Multi-layered Problem

The World Health Organization identifies substance abuse as the use of psychoactive products that result in harm. These experts go on to point to the potential for dependency on the substance as well as the display of withdrawal symptoms. For a person not affected by the problem, it’s hard to relate to someone who suffers from addiction. After all, why can’t they just quit?

What is Substance Abuse and How Does it Create a Trap?

A smoker, who is addicted to nicotine, may claim that smoking prevents weight gain. While it’s true that some who attempt to quit smoking snack more and therefore gain weight, this cause and its supposed effect are not true for everyone. Many times, these types of justifications are excuses to avoid dealing with the real problem.

Some of these types of behaviors are true for those suffering from addiction to a variety of substances:

  • Justification. If you’ve ever tried to persuade a loved one to seek help, you may have heard comments that involved statements such as “I might,” or “maybe I will.” In reality, they don’t intend to seek help and justify the use of a substance as a coping mechanism for a stressful job or home life.
  • Concealment. Someone who isn’t able to hide the abuse of a substance will try to cover up the process. For example, an alcohol-dependent parent may try and hide their drink of choice in bottles labeled for other purposes to keep up appearances in front of friends or visitors.
  • Bouts of self-pity. At their low point, or when challenged directly about substance abuse, a user may shift blame for the behavior to others. The person might blame an unreasonable employer, rebellious children, or a difficult spouse as valid reasons for the habit.
  • Manipulation of self and others. In the process of justifying, covering up, feeling sorry, and keeping up appearances, substance abuse leads to a life of manipulation. The user begins lying to everyone around them. However, it can go further than that. Someone addicted to drugs will pull strings and push buttons to achieve results that enable the continued use of the drug.

Stepping Stone Center for Recovery Offers a Way Out

Now that you know the answer to the question, “What is substance abuse?”, you don’t have to let it rob you of another day. Reclaim your life with a medically supervised detox. Afterward, you’ll learn how to regain control of your life with therapy, stress management training, body wellness emphasis, and spiritual growth. When you’re ready for a real chance at recovery, call 866-957-4960 to talk to friendly professionals who can get you on the road to recovery.