Families and Caregivers – Substance Abuse

What is Substance Abuse?

Substance Abuse

Alcoholism, drug dependence and addiction, known as substance use disor­ders, are complex problems. Scientists and medical researchers consider dependence on alcohol or drugs to be a long-term illness, like asthma, hypertension (high blood pressure) or diabetes. Most people who drink alcohol drink very little, and many people can stop taking drugs without a struggle. However, some people develop a substance use disorder—use of alcohol or drugs that is compulsive or dangerous or both.

Millions of Americans misuse or are dependent on alcohol or drugs. Most of them have Families who suffer the consequences, often serious, of living with this illness. If there is alcohol or drug dependence in your Family, remember you are not alone.

The problem is that addiction tends to worsen over time, hurting both the addicted person and Family Members. Drug or alcohol dependence disorders are medical conditions that can be effectively treated. Millions of Americans and their Families are in healthy recovery from this disease. If someone close to you misuses alcohol or drugs, the first step is to be honest about the problem and to seek help for yourself, your Family and your loved one.

Getting Help

Getting a loved one to agree to accept help and finding support services for all Family members are the first steps toward healing for the addicted person and his or her Family. The Soldier has a number of services and programs available to help and support them with their substance abuse issues. The garrison offers assessment and treatment services through the Army Substance Abuse Program (ASAP). Working with the WTU Cadre and WTU Clinical Staff as well as the WTU Chaplain may be the first step into treatment. People with alcohol or drug dependence problems can and do recover.

Additional Resources

The following resources can provide additional information on substance abuse:

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the term “relapse” mean?
What are some of the possible signs of prescription medicine misuse?
Is there a connection between PTSD and alcohol use?

What does the term “relapse” mean?

Relapse is a recurrence of symptoms of a disease after a period of improvement, such as when a person in recovery drinks or uses drugs again after a period of abstinence.

What are some of the possible signs of prescription medicine misuse?

Taking more medication than your provider prescribed, running out of the medication early, using the medication longer than prescribed and taking the medication to get high or feel better emotionally are potential signs of prescription medicine misuse.

Is there a connection between PTSD and alcohol use?

Yes, a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) may “self- medicate” to deal with the stresses of PTSD. It is good idea to monitor your loved one’s alcohol use if they are struggling with PTSD.

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