As a healthcare provider, your goal is to ensure that your patients or clients are happy and healthy. This means treating any illnesses, helping them achieve an active lifestyle and doing preventative care to help them stay healthy. If any of your patients or clients show symptoms of substance use disorder (SUD), here are a few signs that the severity of their SUD may warrant an inpatient treatment program.
Is their health suffering?
One of the most obvious signs that your patient needs help is that their SUD is causing them significant physical and mental health problems. This can range from having a compromised immune system, having endured one or more overdoses, to suffering from an acute or ongoing mental health crisis. If your patient’s health is severely affected, you will need to coordinate with your patient’s family to get them help. Time is of the essence when you have an ongoing health crisis.
Have they exhibited drug-seeking behaviors?
When someone is suffering from a SUD, they might do and say things that go against their morals. You might have noticed that your patient or clients exhibit drug-seeking behaviors, like going to emergency rooms with fake or exaggerated symptoms or going “doctor-shopping” — meaning they’ve gone to different doctors to get more prescriptions. While these types of behaviors are mostly linked to prescription medications and not illegal substances, it’s important to also keep an eye out for these. In some instances, when these tactics no longer yield the results they want, they may begin to seek out illegal substances to feed their prescription drug habit.
Are they suffering from withdrawal symptoms?
Another one of the tell-tale signs that your patient or client is battling a SUD and needs inpatient treatment is that they suffer from withdrawal symptoms whenever they stop using their preferred substance. Withdrawal symptoms are the hallmark of physical dependence and require specialized attention to manage. While these can vary depending on the substance, any amount of withdrawal symptoms should be a red flag and immediate cause for concern.
Have they put themselves or others at risk?
Has your patient or client hurt themselves or someone else while under the influence? These actions point to a larger issue about them being so dependent on a substance that they are willing to put themselves or others at risk — they also might not realize that their actions are putting others at risk. Substance use can also increase suicidal thoughts and ideation, especially those that already struggle with their mental health.
While the DSM has a comprehensive list, these are a few of the most notable signs that your patient or client needs help from a facility like Ashley Addiction Treatment. Ashley offers inpatient, outpatient and other modalities of care to help those living with an SUD find the help they need.