Substance Abuse & Other Addictions

Substance Abuse


Drug and alcohol abuse typically starts off as recreational, in which the individual drinks and/or uses in a social setting. The disease is progressive, which means that as time passes, he or she will exhibit a higher tolerance, frequently engage in the behavior and experience intense cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

Many signs and symptoms of substance abuse depend on the drug being abused, but some signs are more common among many drugs. Below is a list of common signs of substance abuse.


Common Physical Signs of Substance Abuse:

  • over-active or under-active (depending on the drug)
  • dilated pupils, red eyes
  • excessive sniffing and runny nose (not attributable to a cold)
  • looking pale or undernourished
  • weight loss
  • change in eating habits

Common Behavioral Signs of Substance Abuse:

  • missing work/school
  • problems at work/school
  • missing important social or work engagements
  • isolative or secretive about activities
  • disrupted sleep patterns
  • legal issues
  • relationship problems
  • financial problems

Common Emotional Signs of Substance Abuse

  • irritability/argumentative
  • defensiveness
  • inability to deal with stress
  • loss of interest in normal activities
  • confused/dazed
  • denial
  • rationalizing (offering justifications or other explanations for their behavior)
  • minimization (admitting superficially to the problem but not admitting to the seriousness or full scope)
  • blaming (placing blame for the behavior on someone else or an event)
  • diversion (changing the subject to avoid discussing the topic)

Substance Abuse Services

Specialized services are available if you are troubled either by your own or someone else’s abuse of alcohol or drugs. 

Group counseling programs are also offered, including a court-approved program for those who have received a DUI citation.

If you are worried or wonder about your alcohol and/or drug consumption, take this brief screening tool designed to help you better understand your alcohol and drug habits.

Further Information From Other Sources

Links to Local Meetings

Internet Addictions

Internet addiction is different from substance abuse in that it does not involve the use of an intoxicating drug. Some Internet users may develop an emotional attachment to on-line friends and activities they have created. Internet users may also enjoy aspects of the Internet which allows them to meet and socialize with others through the use of chat rooms, social networking websites, or “virtual communities.”

Please reach out to the Counseling Center at 410-704-2512 if you would like to speak with a counselor.