National Recovery Month: A Closer Look at Substance Abuse

Insight from Gateway Expert: Patricia Ryding

Patricia Ryding gateway lake villa

Dr. Patricia Ryding
Executive Director
Gateway Lake Villa

Did you know that nearly one in 10 Americans over the age of 12 are classified has having a substance abuse or dependency problem?  At that rate, nearly 6,400 of the 64,000 Lake County community residents have a problem abusing drugs or alcohol, or both.  As you might assume, substance abuse negatively impacts those immediately around the person in need of help. In fact, the impact of substance abuse goes far beyond one’s friends and family members. Annually, thousands of dollars throughout Lake County go toward substance abuse in terms of higher costs for healthcare, the criminal justice system, welfare, taxes and in lives taken or damaged by substance abuse related violence, stealing or impaired driving.

September is National Recovery Month, and is a time I encourage you to speak openly about substance abuse and the realities around it with your family, friends and co-workers. Did you know that studies show when parents talk to their kids about the dangers of using drugs or alcohol, the message sticks? Visit RecoverGateway.org/Prevention to access a free toolkit designed to help parents start the conversation about prevention with their kids.

If you have a friend or family member that you think may be struggling with some sort of alcohol or drug abuse problem, please encourage them to get treatment. They may simply not know where to get help or what first step to take. If you aren’t sure about the first step to take, I want to share a few good places start. You may not realize it, but a Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Center, located in Lake Villa provides free consultations and resources to help you better understand substance abuse and answer any questions you may have. Visit RecoverGateway.org to talk via live chat with a person who can tell you about substance abuse treatment options available in our community. This National Recovery month, so why should you wait? I urge you to talk to your friends and family about how to prevent substance abuse or get treatment if someone may need help.

Do I Have a Problem?: Self-Test for Drug Abuse or Drug Dependency

drug abuse self test, drug dependency, drug treatment, drug addictionMany times people who use drugs think they can handle it, or they can quit anytime. If you feel like you can stop using drugs, but aren’t sure if you have a problem, here are few warning signs to help you understand if you have a drug abuse or drug dependency problem and need help.

Denial is common with drug addiction so as you answer these questions try to be as honest and objective as possible. Also try to think about how things have progressed or changed for you in the last six months. Are there more signs now then there where six months ago?

Please answer every question “Yes” or “No.” If a question is not applicable, select No.

  • Do you feel like you need to have the drug regularly, every day or more than every day?
  • Do you make sure you have a steady supply of your drug of choice on hand?
  • Do you want to stop, but can’t?
  • If you feel you can’t stop using, do you do things you normally would not do to get drugs?
  • Do you feel you need drugs to function normally?
  • Are you willing to do something dangerous while taking drugs, like operating a motor vehicle, or some kind of equipment that could cause bodily harm?

If you answered “yes” to 2 or more of these questions you may have a alcohol or drug abuse problem.

If you or someone you know may be abusing drugs or alcohol, Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers can help get life back on track. To learn more about our free, confidential consultation call 877-505-HOPE (877-505-4673).

Al-Anon Substance Abuse Self-Test

Al-Anon/Alateen is a 12-Step, self-help support group for people whose lives are affected by the substance abuse issues of other people.

Al-Anon Substance Abuse Test

The following substance abuse test can help you determine if someone you know needs drug rehab or alcohol treatment.

Please answer every question. If a question is not applicable, select No.

Substance Abuse Self-Test

If you answered “yes” to three or more of these questions you may have a problem with alcohol or drugs.

For help or to schedule a free confidential screening, call Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment‘s 24-Hour Helpline at 877-505-HOPE (877-505-4673).

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