Substance Abuse Information And Symptoms

February 5, 2024

What is Substance Abuse?

Substance abuse refers to the abnormal or excessive consumption of dangerous psychoactive substances, including alcohol and drugs. Psychoactive substances, also known as psychopharmaceutical drugs, act on the central nervous system and, if used improperly, have the potential to alter brain function, change mood, impact judgment, and slow down one’s reactions. Therefore, the abuse of these substances can have a significant impact on people’s lives. Some of the most abused substances include alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, and various depressants and sedative medications.

Furthermore, illegal drugs such as cocaine, marijuana, heroin, and methamphetamine, and hallucinogens such as ketamine and ecstasy are very addictive substances that can cause long-term negative health effects, if consumed.


What can cause it?

Several different factors can increase the likelihood of someone abusing substances, and these will differ from person to person. One of the most common factors is the use of alcohol and dangerous drugs during childhood. However, there could be other reasons, too, which are related to  social and  environmental factors, for example:

  • Peer pressure
  • Poor parenting
  • Stressful home environment
  • Emotional distress
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder & Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Anti-social behaviour


Symptoms for Substance Abuse

Excessive use and abuse of dangerous substances will typically result in a variety of physical and behavioural symptoms, which include the following. Recognizing these symptoms early will increase, significantly,  the likelihood of successful treatment.

  •  Sudden changes in physical appearance
  • Poor hygiene
  • Loss of appetite
  • Depression
  • Laziness
  • Tiredness
  • Changes in attitude
  • Issues with sleep
  • Aggressive behaviour
  • Involvement in criminal activity
  • Hangovers & Blackouts


Is Substance Abuse Related to Mental Health Problems?

Yes, substance abuse has a strong connection to mental health problems. The abuse of psychoactive substances can often lead to, or be a cause for, mental health problems. For instance, excessive drug use or alcohol dependency can cause or be the result of depression. Therefore, it is important to identify and treat substance abuse, as early as possible.


Get the Help you Need

If you or your relative or friend has experience with substance abuse and need help with managing it, the first step is to arrange an appointment at our clinic by contacting our team of patient coordinators and specialists. If you are a private patient, you’ll need to provide a referral letter from your GP or other relevant healthcare professional. We will ensure you see a specialist with the relevant expertise. For more information, please contact our team by filling in the form here or by calling 020 3355 3536.

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