Drug abuse can be challenging to spot if you don’t understand the signs of drug addiction. Even when the individual shows obvious changes in behavior and physical appearance, you might diagnose it for another condition. Knowing the warning signs is crucial to save the person on time by seeking professional help. The National Institutes of Health revealed that approximately 10% of Americans suffer from substance abuse.
Drug abuse affects a person’s physical appearance, behavior, and mental state. That makes drug addiction easier to identify. Unfortunately, not everyone who uses drugs has an addiction. Therefore, the signs may not be noticeable.
For those who have an addiction, it is critical to recognize the signs to help a friend or a loved one get into rehab immediately. CFC Recovery is an addiction recovery non-profit.
How Drug Addiction Begins
Substance abuse doesn’t start from anywhere. It usually begins due to social experiments. Some individuals want to have a feel for the drug and claim pride in using it to impress their friends. Some may dislike it and eventually stop using it. For others, they may become addicted and dependent on the drugs.
Abusing prescription drugs like opioid starts differently. Individuals who develop an opioid addiction are often issued prescription drugs to manage a particular condition like surgery. They start taking higher doses, which leads to tolerance and then dependence.
Signs of Drug Addiction
If you suspect your friend or a loved one is using drugs, you must check their physical, behavioral, and psychological state for some symptoms. The physical signs are usually the first indicator, then behavior, and lastly, the psychological aspect.
A person with drug addiction may display several physical signs that may be immediately apparent or show up in due course. Physical signs of drug abuse can become evident due to withdrawal symptoms or overdose. When an individual’s body refuses to adjust to the absence of the drug, withdrawal symptoms ensue. This is dangerous and demands immediate medical assistance.
Some physical signs include:
- Frequently sniffing around as if having catarrh
- Poor body coordination
- Changes to the pupils
- Breathing difficulties
- Extreme drowsiness
- The chemical smell on dresses and breath.
- Weight changes
- Loss of consciousness
- Poor eating patterns
- Watery eyes
- Skin blemishes
- Unkempt appearance
- Confusion about what they did or where they are
A person using drugs will behave differently from the norm. Behavioral signs of drug addiction are as numerous as the physical signs, and they include:
- Detachment from social functions and friends
- Changes in hobbies
- Frequent outings with new friends who have similar addiction problems
- Poor work or school performance
- Dishonest and repeatedly lying
- Secretive about everything: They withdraw from family and seek more privacy.
- Abandoning responsibilities: They skip school, neglect their household, and find it difficult to remember important details.
- Isolated always: They isolate themselves from their partners or family members to keep their drug use problem a secret. Plus, they avoid questions about their whereabouts or odd behaviors.
- Legal issues
- Bankruptcy: Individuals who use drugs constantly borrow money to fund their drug addiction. Alternatively, they may sell their possessions to keep up with their drug lifestyle.
Someone who abuses drugs behaves uncharacteristically. They look and think differently than they typically do. Some of the signs include;
- Changes in attitude and character
- Paranoia: The individual becomes suspicious of everyone around them or attributes unreal motives behind people’s actions.
- Obsessive thoughts
- A negative perception of life
- Emotional withdrawal
- Lack of motivation
- Lack of interest
- Unexplained mood swings that may lead to hyperactivity and then irritability when the drugs wear off
Note that these signs are common with most drugs, whether marijuana, stimulants, heroin, prescription drugs, opioid, and benzodiazepines. However, some signs are peculiar to certain drugs. For example, dry mouth and uncontrollable laughter are peculiar to marijuana abuse. Stimulants like cocaine and ecstasy produce symptoms such as grinding teeth and euphoria.
How to Help Someone with a Drug Abuse Problem
If you notice any of the above signs of addiction in a person, it’s time to seek assistance. The first thing is to talk to the person calmly. Make them understand addiction is a mental disease and that they aren’t to blame for their addiction. Addiction takes away willpower, leaving the person vulnerable. Explain why they need drug treatment and show them support all the way. You can also help them understand that relapse is part of recovery.
If possible, you can stage an intervention. CFC Recovery can help you organize an intervention to explain the consequences of turning down rehab. Give them time if they don’t agree to treatment.CFC also offers drug addiction rehab treatment for individuals with substance use disorder. We prioritize patients’ recovery and ease them into sobriety. Call us at 1-833-300-HOPE for further assistance.