Substance Abuse & Other Addictions

The concept of addiction is not easily defined and may be applied to a variety of behaviors; however, central to the definition is a dependency on a substance or behavior/activity.

Substance Abuse

A student talking to a counselor

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.

Common Signs and 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.

Signs & Symptoms of Addiction

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

Behavioral Addictions

Behavioral addiction is similar to substance addiction with the exception that when an individual is behaviorally addicted to an activity (such as the internet, gambling, or video games), they are addicted the feeling brought by the behavior or activity and not a substance. For example, some Internet users may develop an emotional attachment to on-line friends and activities they have created. 

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

Online Resources

Gambling Addiction Help & Resources

Internet and/or Smart Phone Addiction

Video Game or Online Play Addictions

Pornography: Is it addictive?