Substance Abuse

"One of the hardest things was learning that I was worth recovery."
~ Demi Lovato

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Signs and Symptoms of Drug Addiction: 


While the symptoms and signs will be different depending on the particular drug that is being abused, there are certain symptoms that are similar with multiple substances.

Physical symptoms of drug addiction include:

  • Bloodshot eyes

  • Skin problems

  • Tremors

  • Slurred speech

  • Sleep disturbance

  • Unintentional weight loss

  • Unnaturally pale skin

  • Unusual odors

  • Shallow breathing

  • Frequent nausea

Psychological and behavioral symptoms include:

  • Restlessness

  • Confusion

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Self-isolation

  • Unusual mood swings

  • Loss of interest in activities

  • Stealing money or medications

  • Uncharacteristic lying

Pain Isn't Always Obvious. Reach out to someone you are concerned about, if you observe one or more of these warning signs, especially if the behavior is new, has increased, or seems related to a painful event, loss, or change.

Warning signs to look for:


* Talking about wanting to die or suicide

* Looking for a way to kill themselves

* Talking or writing about death, dying, or suicide

* Expressing no reason for living or no sense of purpose

* Rage, seeking revenge

* Recklessness or risky behavior, seemingly without thinking

* Expressions of feeling trapped like there is no way out

* Feeling hopeless, depressed

* Drug or alcohol use

* Withdrawal from friends, family, and society

* Anxiety, agitation, lack of sleep, or oversleeping

* Dramatic mood changes

* Giving away possessions

* Putting affairs in order

* Uncontrolled anger


Understanding the Signs and Symptoms of Addiction

In many situations, the first people to notice the signs of a drug or alcohol addiction are the friends and family of the person who is suffering.

They may be hesitant to intervene because they are afraid to drive a wedge in between themselves and their loved ones. In some cases, family and friends allow substance abuse to go on because it can serve a purpose.

For example, letting a spouse drink heavily on weekends to cope with the stresses of their job during the week may help them to maintain their employment.

It’s extremely important for your health and safety as well as the health and well-being of your loved one, to respond whenever you notice any signs of addiction.


Here are the most common signs of drug and alcohol addiction:

  • Isolation from friends or family

  • Loss of interest in activities that used to interest them

  • Failures at school or work

  • Changes in body weight or appetite

  • Bloodshot or watery eyes

  • Tremors or shakiness at different times of day

  • Irregular sleep patterns

  • Excessive sweating

  • Dramatic mood swings

  • Secretive behavior

  • Anxiety and restlessness


Encouraging a Loved One to Seek Treatment. You are not in this alone, we provide so many great resources. Give us a call and let us know how we can help you.

Central Point Behavioral Health Center offers a few options for recovery, from our Substance Abuse Introductory workshop to our Alcohol and Other Drugs program, and our extensive 23/hr Substance Abuse and PTSD program.

Drugs interfere with the way neurons send, receive, and process signals via neurotransmitters.

​Some drugs, such as marijuana and heroin, can activate neurons because their chemical structure mimics that of a natural neurotransmitter in the body. This allows the drugs to attach onto and activate the neurons.

Other drugs, such as amphetamine or cocaine, can cause the neurons to release abnormally large amounts of natural neurotransmitters or prevent the normal recycling of these brain chemicals by interfering with transporters.

Drugs can alter important brain areas  such as:

  • The basal ganglia, which play an important role in positive forms of motivation, including the pleasurable effects of healthy activities like eating, socializing, and sex. 

These areas form a key node of what is sometimes called the brain’s “reward circuit.” Drugs over-activate this circuit, producing the euphoria of the drug high. But with repeated exposure, the circuit adapts to the presence of the drug, diminishing its sensitivity and making it hard to feel pleasure from anything besides the drug.


  • The extended amygdala plays a role in stressful feelings like anxiety, irritability, and unease, which characterize withdrawal after the drug high fades and thus motivates the person to seek the drug again.


This circuit becomes increasingly sensitive with increased drug use. Over time, a person with substance use disorder uses drugs to get temporary relief from this discomfort rather than to get high. 


  • The prefrontal cortex powers the ability to think, plan, solve problems, make decisions, and exert self-control over impulses.


This is also the last part of the brain to mature, making teens most vulnerable.


Shifting balance between this circuit and the circuits of the basal ganglia and extended amygdala makes a person with a substance use disorder seek the drug compulsively with reduced impulse control.


Some drugs like opioids also disrupt other parts of the brain, such as the brain stem, which controls basic functions critical to life, including heart rate, breathing, and sleeping.


Classes / Workshops / Support Groups

Substance Abuse Introductory workshop you will learn:

  • Week 1: In the SUBSTANCE ABUSE AND THE BRAIN Learned about the science behind how drugs and alcohol affect the brain.

  • ​Week 2:  ADDICTION VS. RECREATION Discover the science of addiction and treatment strategies.

  • ​Week 3:  CODEPENDENCY Learn the difference between boundaries and abandonment. Learn to prioritize your own wellness and support those you love.

24-hr Alcohol and Other Drugs program

Alcohol and Other Drugs program you will learn to examine the root causes of problematic and excessive use of substances. You'll learn skills to prevent the most common negative outcomes, including impaired academic performances, risky behaviors, and substance abuse disorder. 

This 24-hr program includes:


  • Basics of Addiction

  • Examining Addiction From a Personal Perspective

  • Examining Alcohol and the Effect on Mind and Body

  • Prescription Drugs, Opiates, Stimulants, Marijuana

  • Misuse vs Abuse

  • Examining the Consequences of Excessive Drug and Alcohol Use

  • Drugs, Alcohol, and Mental Health

  • Alcohol and the Media

  • Alcohol and Drug Prevention

  • Self-Help and Support

  • Treatment

  • Relapse

  • Stress Management

  • Mindfulness Practice for Stress

  • Nutrition and Exercise

  • Stress and Anger

  • Time Management and Organization

  • Communication

  • Listening Skills for Growth

  • Listening Skills for Growth (Part 2)

  • Communication Skills

  • Emotional Connection and Needs in a Relationship

  • Relationship Building

  • Facing Fears

23-hr Substance Abuse and PTSD program

This 23-hr program includes:

  1. Treatment: We discuss the treatment of substance abuse and PTSD in these sessions, as expectations​

  2. Safety: We learn safe coping skills and the stages of safety in recovery, and explore what safety means.

  3. Taking back your life: We explore PTSD and how to take back your power, and we learn about long-term impacts.

  4. Detaching from emotional pain: We practice various forms of grounding exercises to help you form a routine.

  5. When substances control you: We help you evaluate your substance abuse disorder, increase awareness of how substances prevent healing, formulate a plan to relinquish substances from your life, and complete practice exercises.

  6. Asking for help: We discuss effective ways to ask for help, and will role-play, and explore past experiences.

  7. Taking good care of yourself: Explore concepts of self-care, identify your specific self-care problems.

  8. Compassion: We will identify harsh vs compassionate self-talk, and we will role-play.

  9. Red & Green Flags: Identify your specific dangers, create a safety plan, and discuss relapse.

  10. Recovery thinking:  Learn how to become more aware of thoughts associated with PTSD, substance abuse, and Recovery, and learn the power of rethinking.

  11. Integrating the split-self: Identify the split-self in both PTSD and substance abuse, and discuss aspects of yourself, and how to manage recovery.

  12. Commitment: Discuss personal experiences with commitment, and brainstorm creative strategies for completing commitments.

  13. Create Meaning: Identify meaning and learn how to shift from harmful meaning to healing.

  14. Setting boundaries: Identity healthy vs unhealthy boundaries, explore ways to say yes, and no in relationships, and evaluate any destructive relationships as well as various forms of boundary problems.

  15. Discovery: Discover how not to stay stuck in a belief and ways to test beliefs, and identify your specific belief system.

  16. Getting others to support your recovery: Evaluate people in your life in three categories and learn what you need from others.

  17. Coping with triggers: Explore the importance of triggers, and role-play coping skills to help you cope with triggers as they arise.

  18. Respecting your time: Take inventory of how you use time, and explore how time management issues may be related to PTSD or substance abuse.

  19. Healthy Relationships: Identify your beliefs about relationships, and learn how to begin to change negative beliefs.

  20. Self-nurturing: Identify safe vs unsafe, and learn how to increase self-nurturing tendencies.

  21. Healing from Anger: Identify anger problems, discuss constructive and destructive beliefs, explore the three steps to manage anger, and develop a safety contract.

  22. The life choice game: Work on aftercare plans, and play the life choice game.

  23. Graduation Day: Discuss feelings, likes and dislikes, and treatment letter, and report aftercare plans.