Chemical dependency evaluations determine if a person has a drug or alcohol abuse disorder, or a drug or alcohol dependence disorder.
To be diagnosed with chemical dependency, a person must meet the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM, criteria. Blood tests or other lab may be used to see what types of drugs a person has taken recently. Other assessment may be done to determine substance abuse or dependency and may include gathering details about a person’s medical, social or psychological history, and signs of intoxication or withdrawal.
Alcohol abuse or the use of any mood-altering drug can cause serious problems. Problems with drug or alcohol abuse may come from an attempt at self-medicating for mental health problems such as anxiety or depression. People may have genetic tendencies or were raised in an environment around alcoholics or drug abusers. It may be some combination of different factors leading to the problem.
Drinking is a common part of culture, but the line between socially drinking and a drinking problem is a fine one. Even casual alcohol or drug use can lead to an addiction, which can create problems physically, emotionally, and mentally.
Alcohol abuse often leads to alcohol dependence. Either way many problems are similar, but alcohol or drug dependence is when the body becomes chemically dependent on alcohol.
Beyond casual use of drugs or alcohol, the body will start to build up a tolerance, where the body needs more of the substance to experience the same effects. Then without the chemical, the body will experience withdrawal, which can involve anxiety, shaking, sweating, nausea, insomnia, depression, irritability, and more.
Denial is a problem with drug and alcohol abuse or dependency. Many will underestimate its affect on them, but the costs can be drastic: losing friends, jobs, money, and physical and mental health. Admitting that there is a problem is a big first step. Facing alcohol abuse or addictions takes courage, but it also requires support. Changing your habits is tremendously difficult without accountability and without the support of professionals who can help you not to fall back into old ways when it gets hard. It takes more than just wanting to quit, but there are many tools that can equip someone along the road to recovery.
To learn more or get in contact with us at the Atlanta Behavioral Consultants, please call Marsha Schechtman, LCSW at 770.753.4911 or Howard Drutman, Ph.D. at 678.867.7020.