Helpful signs for recognizing drug abuse

Helpful signs for recognizing drug abuse

Are you worried that your loved one is using drugs?

Drug addiction can be difficult to identify without an understanding of the signs of addiction. Substance use disorders can change the way people look, how they act and how they feel. Drug use can start as a way of escape – but it can quickly make your life worse. Besides just not feeling well, different drugs can affect your brain and body in many ways.

The symptoms of drug abuse can be physical, behavioral and psychological in nature.

Which signs can be helpful to recognize drug use?

Drugs have different effects depending on the type of drug is taken and whether it is a depressant (e.g., alcohol) or a stimulant (e.g., methamphetamine). But, for starters, there are common signs of habitual drug use across all substances, which can make it easier for you to find out whether someone you care about is using drugs.

Physical Signs – Some of these signs may occur as gradual changes, some may be readily apparent while others are hidden:

  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Changes in appetite and eating habits
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Extreme lethargy
  • Chemical odor on breath or clothes
  • Irregular sleeping patterns
  • Marks on the skin

Behavioral Signs – There are just as many behavioral signs of drug addiction as there are physical symptoms since a person who misuses drugs or alcohol may act like a different person. Some of them include:

  • Self-isolation
  • Neglecting responsibilities
  • Financial issues
  • Shifts in social circles
  • Decreased participation in family activities
  • Poor performance in work or school
  • Repeated lying, dishonesty or deceit
  • Legal issues

Psychological Signs – Psychological signs of drug abuse can include changes in a person’s thought patterns, attitudes, beliefs, and priorities. When someone misuses drugs, they may look and act in uncharacteristic ways like:

  • Negative self-image
  • Dismal outlook on or attitude toward life
  • Withdrawing emotionally from loved ones
  • Changes in personality traits
  • Mental illness like depression, or anxiety
  • Paranoid, fear, or obsessive thoughts
  • Lack of motivation
  • Feelings of apathy or disinterest

Signs of abuse related to specific drugs

  • Marijuana – Marijuana and other cannabis-based products, such as edibles, may induce euphoria. They can cause heightened visual and auditory perceptions, but the user may also seem uncoordinated and forgetful.
  • Hallucinogens – The signs of hallucinogen use vary depending on the specific hallucinogen in question. For example, If a person has used “magic mushrooms”, they may be unable to feel pain and seem intolerant to loud noise. Someone who has used psilocybin may experience hallucinations, nausea, muscle twitching, and difficulty differentiating between hallucinations and reality.
  • Opioids – Opioids include both prescription painkillers, like Vicodin and OxyContin, and the drug heroin. Signs of opioid abuse include overall sedation, memory issues, inability to concentrate, slowed reaction times, lethargy, and mood swings.
  • Club drugsEcstasy, ketamine, and GHB are common types of club drugs. Signs and symptoms of use include increased body temperature, poor coordination, dizziness, excessive sweating, clenched teeth, and slurred speech.


How to spot drug use in adolescents

While overall moodiness can simply be part of adolescence and the teen years, drug use is generally signified by more drastic changes in mood or behaviors in this age group. Some proved signs of drug use in adolescents include acting withdrawn, tired, depressed, or hostile.

If drug use is suspected, immediate intervention is vital. Parents should take note when a child starts associating with a different group of peers, as changes in peer groups may be linked with substance use. An adolescent using drugs might also miss classes, skip school, or change their eating or sleeping habits. You can also listen for their kids using slang terms for certain drugs of abuse. But the most important of all signs is defensiveness when asked about substance use.

The importance of early intervention

If drug use is suspected, the early invention is essential to assure the most vigorous chances of successful recovery. A professional interventionist can guide the planning process and the execution of the event for the best results.

Loved ones should also research comprehensive addiction treatment programs. Treatment should include both medical detox and therapy to address the underlying issues related to substance abuse.

If you are not sure which type of drugs a family member or a friend is fighting against, you can learn more about common signs of specific chemical dependency here.

Don’t wait, get help today!

Recovery for addiction is possible. You always have a choice. Call American Addiction Center: (888) 541-0160 or if you are not sure whether you are struggling with drug addiction yet, you can take an online test.

In case that you are worried that your child or a loved one may be using drugs, you should be sure before you accuse them of that strong statement. With almost ultimate accuracy, on you can find various drug tests for 27 types of substances.

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