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What to Know About National Recovery Month

national recovery month

National Recovery Month is observed every September to educate Americans about substance abuse and the mental health services available to help people with substance use disorder (SUDs). One of the goals of National Recovery Month is to underscore that SUDs are not simply choices, but chronic illnesses that alter how a person’s brain functions. As a result, loved ones and healthcare providers should support individuals through recovery from a SUD like they would support someone dealing with diabetes, heart disease, or another chronic illness. 

National Recovery Month also celebrates the progress made by people currently recovering from an SUD, which can be a long and arduous road. Interested in getting more involved? Advocacy starts in your own community. Today, we’ll talk about a few ways that you can recognize the symptoms of addiction and find support for people with a substance use disorder.

5 Signs of Substance Use Disorder

If you or a loved one has a substance use disorder, you may notice the following symptoms. If you want to confirm whether or not a loved one is ingesting drugs, consider performing a drug test. This will tell you if drugs are in a person’s system and allow them to make the first steps toward recovery.

1. Physical Symptoms

As a person falls deeper into substance use, their physical appearance declines. You may notice bloodshot eyes and changes in the user’s pupil size. In addition, you will want to pay attention to changes in the person’s complexion. Depending on their substance of choice, their skin may become sallow and washed out.

You may notice a few behavioral changes many people mistake for “tics.” If a person is constantly sniffling, itching, or pulling down their sleeves to hide their arms, it could be a sign of substance abuse.

2. Overall appearance

When a person uses a substance over a long time period, they may exhibit significant physical changes. Many drugs suppress appetites, leading to substantial visible changes in a person’s weight. You may notice rapid weight loss or gain. A person using drugs is also likely to lose interest in personal grooming.

3. Reclusive Behavior

Substance use disorders can lead to isolation. People with substance use disorders often struggle with shame, social stigmas, and paranoia. As a result, people lose interest in relationships. You may notice a person with a substance use disorder spending extended periods in their room alone. In addition, they’ll avoid sharing information about where they’re going when they leave the house.

4. Erratic Behavior

The erratic behavior you notice from someone with a SUD depends on the substance they use. You may see euphoria or paranoia, which leads to recklessness. The physical and emotional symptoms of withdrawal could cause erratic or violent behavior.

Sometimes, people with a substance use disorder become hostile if you raise questions about their behavior. When someone has an addiction, they could also redirect the conversation by starting another argument or exhibiting an aggressive mood swing to distract others.

5. Changes in Sleeping Habits

Habitual substance use ruins a person’s sleeping habits. Whether a person is using stimulants or depressants, these substances change the hormones that regulate a sleep schedule. If you notice someone oversleeping or staying awake for an extended time, they may have a substance use disorder.

Finding Resources & Support

You may have heard the first step to recovery from addiction is recognizing that your habitual substance use is a problem and that you’re ready for your life to change. Once you realize this, you’re on the right track. However, everyone with a SUD follows a different path. A recovery method that works for one person may not work for another.

When you’re ready to get help, working with your healthcare provider or substance abuse professional is the best place to get started. Some people may feel comfortable seeking treatment with the help of a close friend or family member. When evaluating your treatment options, steer clear of counselors or treatment centers that guarantee specific results. Consider the following treatment options when recovering from a SUD.

Residential Treatment

Depending on the severity of your symptoms, staying away from the things that trigger you may be beneficial. Family, friends, and work or school could make it challenging to maintain your sobriety. During residential treatment, you have the opportunity to recover without the triggers of your everyday life. Furthermore, residential treatment programs ensure that you have constant medical supervision. Many people in recovery find it much easier to cope with detox and withdrawal when they have a healthcare team surrounding them. 

Outpatient Treatment

If you’re interested in recovery but are more comfortable at home, outpatient treatment may be the best option. During outpatient treatment, you will live at home throughout your recovery plan. Many people in recovery choose outpatient treatment when they cannot take an extended absence from work. During outpatient treatment, you will receive treatment, but you will not stay at the facility all day. You may work with a facility team for two to three hours daily if you require more intensive treatment. Some outpatient treatment centers don’t have a recovery facility. Instead, patients work with a primary care provider or counselor.

If you choose outpatient treatment, it is of the utmost importance that your living environment is safe and free of triggers. If the temptation to relapse is too great, outpatient treatment may not be your most effective treatment.

Day Treatment

Day treatment and outpatient treatment have many similarities, but the former requires a greater time commitment. Akin to outpatient treatment, you will go through detox and receive counseling. However, day treatment lasts for seven to eight hours a day. You may also work with psychologists, therapists, psychiatrists, and other healthcare providers throughout the day. 

In the evening, you will connect with others recovering from a SUD during life skill education classes or a 12-step meeting. If you’re a parent or have significant obligations at home, day treatment may suit your needs better than residential treatment.

Start Your Journey on National Recovery Month with Countrywide Testing

If you or a loved one is exhibiting symptoms of substance abuse, don’t ignore the signs. National Recovery Month is a time for people to come together and support one another on the road to recovery. 

Countrywide Testing is an online retailer of many health-related diagnostic test devices, including drug tests. If you’re concerned that a loved one may be abusing an illegal drug, let Countrywide Testing offer you peace of mind with our FDA-approved at-home drug testing kits.

Our drug kits are all analyzed with laboratory services from Phamatech, Inc, a SAMHSA, ISO, CLIA, and CAP licensed laboratory, to provide you with fast and reliable results that you can trust.

When you need answers, Countrywide is there. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help!