What is the Difference Between Abuse and Addiction?

When You Use Alcohol or Drugs to Relieve Emotional Pain

Life is full of wonderful times, mixed with moments where you wish you had not gotten out of bed that day. How you handle the low points in your life determines how quickly you bounce back to a positive outlook on life. While you go through those downtimes, stay away from substances you might use to ease the pain of depression and/or anxiety.

You go to work one day and, overnight, your employer has decided to reduce his number of employees because of financial problems. You are one of those people who is released from your job. You may love your job and now you no longer have it. If you just bought a house and find yourself in a bind as to how to pay the next month’s mortgage, you go home, have a drink, maybe more, while you try to work up a plan to get another job fast.

After a week, you found little success with your job search, and you feel even more depressed. During this time, you are drinking before, during, and after dinner. If you are doing this every night, then you are self-medicating by abusing alcohol. If you do this for several weeks, you are headed towards alcohol addiction.

You find yourself sleeping less than you used to sleep, only four hours a night. So, you start taking over-the-counter (OTC) sleeping pills you got from your local grocery store. Soon after starting this routine, you cannot sleep well unless you take those pills. If you have continued your drinking routine each night, you develop a pattern of abuse which is quickly turning into a mental and physical addiction to drugs mixed with alcohol. You find you cannot have one without the other.

One day, when low on cash and you cannot replace your sleeping pills, you become anxious and you drink more just so you can pass out to go to sleep. This is a vicious cycle you must end as soon as possible because your body’s physical-chemical system is changing due to the influences of drugs and alcohol.

Avoiding Abuse of Substances

As the example scenario above shows, using too many substances, particularly when going through a tough time, is never a good idea. If you are on a pattern of drinking before, during, and after dinner, start reducing your alcohol intake by avoiding those drinks before and after dinner. Then reduce how many drinks you have during dinner.

Eating dinner while having that drink helps with reducing that sudden alcohol impact on your digestive system and your bloodstream when you have nothing in your stomach to soak it up. Decide one night to not have a drink with dinner, then have one drink the next night.

Choose a night to stop drinking during dinner to wean yourself off alcohol. Enforce this, mentally, by reminding yourself how much money you are saving by not buying alcohol.

You can also do the same with OTC and prescription drugs too. Take less of them each night until you wean yourself off them. Do not drink caffeinated coffee or tea after dinner. Have a glass of milk. Avoid watching high-octane action movies or depressing world news on television or your computer before going to bed. While it is always good to read books, avoid those which keep you turning the pages two hours later after you got into bed. Choose books that soothe your anxiety and give you hopeful thoughts. In essence, you are re-programming your mind to a higher level of positive thinking which gives you a better night’s sleep.

Focus Your Mind on Other Things

It can be easy to obsess about your troubles when life seems on a downward road, but if you can focus on other things that you enjoy, you reset your mind to a more positive outlook. If you have always wanted to play a musical instrument or like doing certain creative hobbies (creating jewelry, painting, woodworking, etc.), focus more on these for expressing your creativity. Even when you think you are not very good at these hobbies, if you have fun doing them, then that has a positive effect on you.

Knowing When You Are Addicted to Substances

You may be smart enough to understand that you are addicted because you cannot stay away from one or more substances. If they are alcohol or drug-related, and you cannot help yourself to avoid them, you must get help. Usually, someone close to you will speak with you first about how you have changed recently. Signs of changes in your personality are:

  1. You are more aggressive and combative towards others,
  2. Quickly become irritated with people and pets,
  3. On edge when you do not have access to your regular substances,
  4. Lack of sleep or you sleep too much,
  5. Spend money on substances when you should pay your electric bill or mortgage,
  6. You look like somebody dragged you out of a sewer (same clothes for weeks, no showers),
  7. You have tried to avoid substances but cannot stop.

Get help as soon as possible so you can save your health and your life.

Best Way to Get Help Fast

Pacific Bay Recovery –San Diego drug treatment center can help you with any substance addiction and/or mental issues you might have so you can regain a happy and functional lifestyle again. Call us for a free consultation and to set up an appointment to start getting help as soon as possible. 619-350-8220.

Skip to content