Because of the stressful and often traumatic work that fire fighters and paramedics do every day, some turn to alcohol or drugs to feel better, if only for a little while. Others begin taking prescription drugs for workplace injuries, pain or insomnia, and slowly become dependent on them over time. No matter the initial cause, recognizing the signs of substance use disorder early on could mean the difference between a successful recovery and a lifelong battle with addiction.
Some of the signs of substance abuse are hard to miss. Others may be more subtle. If you recognize any of the symptoms of addiction in yourself or others, consider seeking help from a professional treatment provider like the IAFF Center of Excellence.
If you’ve been consuming alcohol or drugs regularly for weeks, months or even years, you may develop a physical dependence on the substance. In cases of long-term addiction and dependence, you may begin to experience the signs of withdrawal when you stop using it. This is especially true for alcohol, opioids like heroin and prescription painkillers, benzodiazepines like Xanax and Valium, stimulants like cocaine and crack, and hypnotics like Sonata and Lunesta. Depending on the substance used and duration of use, the side effects of withdrawal can range from uncomfortable to life-threatening.
No matter the substance, addiction should never be taken lightly. If you or someone you love is exhibiting symptoms of substance use disorder or withdrawal, it’s important that you find professional help as soon as possible. Designed with the needs of IAFF members in mind, the IAFF Center of Excellence is equipped to provide the evidence-based, compassionate care needed for recovery, including clinically managed detox. Reach out to our substance abuse hotline today to get started.