Seeking Help from Symptoms of Chemical Dependency

Gaining an understanding of chemical dependency and its effects has become important over the past couple of years in America. It is important to know what chemical dependency is, how it starts, and how one can get treatment.

Many families have a loved one who is suffering from chemical dependency. Chemical dependency is a person’s inability to stop using a mind-altering substance or drug because their body has now become dependent on it. This dependence is usually both physical and psychological.

Chemical dependency on a drug or substance is a result of continued use and the body’s ability to assimilate the drug and its tolerance is increased. People can get chemically dependent on narcotics, prescription medication, alcohol, or nicotine.

Because chemical dependency is a complex condition, diagnosing it can be hard. This is why The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) outlines the criteria for a person to be diagnosed.

The more criteria one meets, the more severe their condition as described below:

  • Mild Substance Use Disorder – 2-3 symptoms.
  • Moderate Substance Use Disorder – 4-5 Symptoms.
  • Severe Substance Disorder – 6+ symptoms.

Below are the criteria:

  • Taking the substance in larger amounts or for longer than initially intended.
  • Failing at any attempts to quit or control the amount of use.
  • A significant amount of time spent obtaining, using, or recovering from the substance(s).
  • Cravings or strong desires to use substances.
  • Inability to meet one’s responsibilities at home, work, or school as a result of drug use.
  • Continued use despite social or interpersonal problems.
  • Giving up or reducing social, occupational, or recreational activities because of substance use.
  • Recurrent use in physically hazardous situations (such as drinking and driving).
  • Continued use despite health or psychological problems caused by or exacerbated by substance use.
  • Increased tolerance.
  • Development of withdrawal symptoms resulting in the need to take the drug or substance.

It is important to note that diagnosis of substance use disorder can only be done by a licensed professional and a person should not self-diagnose.

Why it’s important to seek help for chemical dependency?

Its complexity.

Chemical dependence can be so severe that one can’t get clean on their own without the help of trained professionals. These people have a deeper understanding of how different substances interact with our bodies and minds and can come up with an effective treatment plan.

Multi-disciplinary team.

Chemical dependency affects many aspects of a person’s functioning. Seeking help will ensure that all areas are given attention and assessed. This could be a person’s mental health, physical health, or relational wellness. Treatment centers work with experts in different fields to offer comprehensive support.

It is life-threatening.

Dependency on substances can lead to serious medical issues that can contribute to health complications that unfortunately sometimes lead to death.

Renewed hope.

When a person seeks help it shows that they have hope that their situation will improve. Taking that first step is important as it opens a door to recovery and a more fulfilling life.

Restored Relationships

Our strength and quality of life come from the relationships we have. When one seeks help, they communicate to their loved ones that they are willing to be better. This gives way to renewed trust and relationship rebuilding.

We can help.

If your life has taken an unexpected turn as a result of substance use and you are looking for help, contact our office today. At Newport Beach Christian Counseling, we have trained counselors who can offer you the help you need.

Photos:”Fallen Leaves”, Courtesy of Klim Musalimov,, CC0 License; “Fall Leaves”, Courtesy of Annie Spratt,, CC0 License; 


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