How To Identify Substance Abuse Issues

“We primarily trade in nighttime and in events that facilitate socializing, of which taking substances goes hand in hand. I literally struggle to think of the last event that I attended that didn’t have booze flowing through it…”

-Ghibli (DJ)

The day-to-day grind of a career in music can often lead to feelings of loneliness, irregular wake/sleep hours, demanding travel schedules, extended periods of time away from family, friends and support networks, financial instability and intense competition   Combined with the adrenaline of performing, after-show gatherings, late nights, and pressures to perform, it’s no wonder so many in the music industry rely on substances to cope with the rigors of such a complex lifestyle.  

But when does using become a problem? 

Here are some ways to identify if you or someone else have a problem with substance use:

» Trouble quitting even when desired.

» Continued use of substances even with increased consequences. These can include legal issues, relationship/family troubles, poor job performance, loss of job, DUI’s.

» Obsessive thoughts surrounding using and when the next time an opportunity to use will arise. 

» Having a hard time setting “limits” around when and how much to use. 

» Loss of  interest in ordinary aspects of life.

» Increased tolerance of substances in order to get the same effects.

» Physical withdrawal symptoms when substances are not present:  Depression, nausea, sweating, headaches, irritability.

» Borrowing or stealing money to pay for substances.

» Hiding your substance abuse from others and/or using in private.

» Changes in appearance including weight fluctuations, bloodshot eyes and pale skin. 

» Increased time spent in social circles who have more access to substances. 

» Doctor shopping to get prescriptions for the same drug or problem.

» Looking into other people’s medicine cabinets for drugs to take.

» Mixing of different substances to increase effects. 

» Needing substances to feel “normal” and/or to escape from internal thoughts.

If you would like additional information on substance abuse, to find out if treatment might be right for you, and/or help finding support, or please contact us or visit SAMHSA.


Additional resources regarding substance abuse: