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How Do You Know When Someone Is Addicted To Drugs

Understanding Your Loved Ones Substance Abuse

How To Know If Someone Is Addicted To Drugs or Alcohol (2020)

People start using drugs for a lot of different reasons. Many turn to substances to cope with the emotional pain of a mental health problem, such as depression, anxiety, or PTSD. Known as self-medicating, some people may be aware they have a mental health issue but are unable to find healthier ways of coping, while others remain undiagnosed and use drugs to manage specific symptoms.

Other people turn to drugs to change how they feel, to fit in, or to alleviate boredom or dissatisfaction with their lives. Then there are those whose substance abuse develops from a doctors well-intentioned efforts to treat a medical condition. Of all the people prescribed opioids to relieve pain, for example, estimates suggest that more than a quarter will end up misusing the drug.

Whatever your loved ones reason for starting, though, not everyone who uses drugs develops a problem. While the exact causes of addiction arent clear, genetics likely plays a role, along with environmental factors. While one person is able to use substances without detrimental effects, another finds even casual use quickly escalates into compulsion and addictiona very dark hole from which they can feel powerless to emerge.

How To Tell If Your Coworker Is Addicted To Drugs

Call to speak with an alcohol or drug abuse counselor.Who Answers?

07/26/2017|Addictions Content Team

Your colleague down the hall just hasnt been himself lately. Hes called in sick three times in the last two weeks and hes always coming in late. He didnt finish his part of this weeks big presentation, so your whole group is running behind. The client isnt happy, the boss isnt happy and youre worried. Could your coworker be addicted? And if he is, what should you do?

Drug abuse in the workplace is on the rise, mirroring the surging rates of addiction in American society as a whole. In some areas of the country, alcohol, illicit street drugs, and prescription medication account for more emergency room visits than accidents and homicides combined and overdoses play a role in as many, if not more, deaths.

Though employee substance abuse nearly always takes a toll on office morale and the companys reputation and bottom line, workplace addiction problems can also be deadly. A recent survey of workplace accidents found that 35 percent of people suffering injuries on the job could be considered at-risk drinkers, and in at least 11 percent of the countrys on-the-job fatalities, the victim had been drinking. Workplace addiction takes a severe economic and personal toll yet relatively few companies offer their employees training or information on how to know if someone is addicted to drugs.

Effects Of Commonly Abused Drugs

Many of the signs of drug abuse are common to all types of drugs, but there are also some more specific symptoms caused by specific drugs and substances. There are warning signs that can indicate a person is abusing drugs, but also that they are abusing one or more particular types of drugs. This is important to understand, because while all drug abuse is harmful, some substances can be more damaging than others and may require more pressing intervention and treatment. Some of the signs of abuse of common substances include:

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How To Help Someone Who Is Addicted

It can be challenging to love someone who has an addictionpainful to observe their loss of control and accruing harm, painful to experience the disappearance of the person you care about, and painful to withstand the many deceits that usually accompany addiction. Still, it is possible to help someone get out of the trap of addiction, although that usually takes time, many tries, many disappointments, and a clear understanding of how addiction works and, especially, how it robs substance users of the ability to control their use even when they want to do so.

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Keep Their Addiction In Perspective

How to Tell is Someone is Addicted to Drugs

Keeping things in perspective in the grand scheme of things will help you from feeling enveloped in their addiction. While their drug abuse may feel like the worst thing that could ever happen, you need to remind yourself that things will get better. Seeing this from you, the addict you love may be able to find hope that things will get better for them, too.

Also Check: How To Talk To An Addict In Denial

What Are Physical Signs Of Drug Abuse

Some of the most noticeable symptoms of drug use are those that affect certain physiological processes. For example, your bodys tolerance to a drug develops when a drug is used long or often enough that it adapts to the consistently elevated presence of the substance. When tolerance grows, increased quantities or strengths are required to achieve the previous effects.1

Individuals using a drug to get high may come to take such large doses to overcome their tolerance that they place themselves at increasing risk of potentially fatal overdose.3

Changes in appearance can be additional clues to possible drug use and may include:4

  • Bloodshot or glazed eyes.

What Is Drug Addiction

Addiction is a chronic disease characterized by drug seeking and use that is compulsive, or difficult to control, despite harmful consequences. The initial decision to take drugs is voluntary for most people, but repeated drug use can lead to brain changes that challenge an addicted persons self-control and interfere with their ability to resist intense urges to take drugs. These brain changes can be persistent, which is why drug addiction is considered a “relapsing” diseasepeople in recovery from drug use disorders are at increased risk for returning to drug use even after years of not taking the drug.

It’s common for a person to relapse, but relapse doesn’t mean that treatment doesnt work. As with other chronic health conditions, treatment should be ongoing and should be adjusted based on how the patient responds. Treatment plans need to be reviewed often and modified to fit the patients changing needs.

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Withdrawal From Cocaine Treatment And Next Steps

Cocaine use releases excess amount of the happiness-inducing biochemical known as dopamine. After a Cocaine binge, the brain isnt able to produce natural amounts of dopamine on its own. This is why those who are addicted need the drug to simply feel normal.

Cocaine withdrawal doesnt typically produce physical symptoms, but psychological symptoms can range from depression to fatigue.

Giving up Cocaine doesnt require medical detox and is generally not life-threatening. However, finding treatment, whether it be rehab, therapy or a 12-step program, can increase the chances of successfully quitting. These treatments help people cope with withdrawal, cravings and reestablishing a drug-free life. Contact a treatment provider today.

  • About

Jeffrey Juergens earned his Bachelors and Juris Doctor from the University of Florida. Jeffreys desire to help others led him to focus on economic and social development and policy making. After graduation, he decided to pursue his passion of writing and editing. Jeffreys mission is to educate and inform the public on addiction issues and help those in need of treatment find the best option for them.

Clinically Reviewed:

Theresa Parisi

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All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Spotting The Signs Of Addiction In A Coworker

Anyone Can Become Addicted to Drugs

Addiction is a broad term for many kinds of responses and behaviors in relation to a wide range of abused substances. And its vital to remember, too, that the signs and symptoms of addiction can be attributable to many other causes, such as a health condition or life event. While its important to avoid jumping to conclusions about a coworkers behavior, a number of behaviors and symptoms can be typical indications of a substance abuse problem. And that problem can manifest in several ways:

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Effects Of Smoking Crack Or Cocaine

People who smoke cocaine usually smoke a crystal form of the drug called crack, but some will smoke a mixture of powder cocaine and marijuana. More than half of people who smoke crack will develop a wheeze, cough or shortness of breath. Many crack users will also experience chest pain and cough up black mucus or blood.

Other common lung problems associated with smoking cocaine include:

  • Bronchitis
  • Hardening of the lungs
  • Worsening asthma

Smoking crack can cause a condition called crack lung, a group of pneumonia-like symptoms that include chest pain, a bloody cough, shortness of breath, itching and a fever. The symptoms usually appear within a day or two of smoking crack. Inhaling crack or powder cocaine can also lead to acute lung injury and respiratory arrest.

What To Say To A Friend Leaving For Rehab

If youve just learned that a friend is leaving for rehab or addiction treatment, heres a few lines you can use if you get tongue-tied:

  • I hope you get better soon.
  • Im thinking about you.
  • Id be glad to check your house/apartment for you while youre gone.
  • Please dont worry about work. Just focus on getting well.
  • Ill be here when you get home.

These positive messages let the other person know that you care, offer helpful sympathy without forcing advice, and let them know theyre still loved.

The list of what not to say is long, but you should take care to avoid comments like these nonetheless:

  • This seems like an awfully big step. Cant you just quit on your own? If they could, they would quit on their own. A diabetic cant order the pancreas to produce insulin. An addict cant order the brain to stop craving substances. It doesnt work that way.
  • Hey, youre just like . Each person is an individual. Nobody wants to hear they are just like someone else. They arent. Their problems may be similar to someone elses, but when theyre suffering from them, it all feels very personal.

Recommended Reading: How To Keep An Addict From Relapsing

Environmental Signs Of A Drug Problem

Unusual Smells. Some drugs, like alcohol, marijuana, crack, or meth, have distinct smells that individuals may try to cover up. Repeated and constant use will be hard to disguise. You may notice those smells on their clothes, in their car or bedroom, or on their breath or skin.

Finding Drug Paraphernalia. If you find smoking devices, needles, oil vaporizers, or stashes of different devices needed for drug use, you may want to discuss with your loved one what those items are and why they have them.

Deodorizers or Incense to Cover Up Smells. Some drugs have very strong smells. You may notice this person spraying areas such as their room or car, wearing very strong cologne or perfume, or even burning candles and incense to cover it. This is concerning especially if this is a new behavior.

Behavioral Signs Of Drug Abuse

How to Tell if Someone is on Drugs (and Which Ones)

When substance use takes hold of someones life, new priorities and feelings will control how they behave.

This results in rapid or noticeable changes from what was previously considered normal for this person. Daily routines and activities get rearranged or abandoned, and relationships with friends and loved ones come under stress. If you or someone you know is turning into someone unrecognizable, it could be a consequence of drug abuse.

Some changes to watch for are:

1. Struggling with Limits:

This can manifest as urges to take a prescription drug at a higher dose than prescribed or continuing after the health problem it treats has ended. Addiction makes it hard to follow even self-prescribed rules. If you have set yourself a self-imposed use limit but cannot stop yourself, this is a concerning sign.

2. Loss of Interest:

Substance dependency takes over the minds reward system. Take note if someone is becoming complacent in realms they used to take great pride in or apathetic towards the people or hobbies they usually cherish.

It may mean they are funneling their energy toward feeding the impulse of using drugs. Frequent failure to show up or follow through on plans, lack of enthusiasm, or dulling of talents can all indicate an underlying struggle.

3. Mood Swings:

4. Reclusive and Private Behavior:

5. Defensiveness:

6. Erratic Behavior:

7. Changes in Sleep Habits:

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Preoccupation With Your Drug Of Choice

As a drug addiction progresses, its normal to become more and more preoccupied with your drug of choice. That includes things like thinking about the next time you will take the drug, what youre going to do to make sure you dont run out so you can avoid withdrawal symptoms, and where youre going to get the money in order to buy more. When drug use becomes a near-constant thought, that is perhaps the most tell-tale symptom of drug addiction.

To someone looking in at an addiction from the outside, it may mean that a friend or loved one is suddenly unavailable during certain times of the day. They may decline invitations they once would have accepted, or they may spend time with new friends that youve never met. This is a good indicator that they are spending their time with other drug users.

Signs Of Prescription Drug Abuse

There are three main categories of prescription medications: depressants, stimulants, and painrelievers. As the Mayo Clinic discusses, the signs of abuse of prescription drugs vary depending on the specific medication or drug category. While the general signs of addiction described above provide some guidance, the following is a breakdown by drug category of signs of prescription drug abuse.

Depressants have some characteristic physical side effects. As benzodiazepines are included in this category and have been discussed above, some physical signs of depressant drug use include poor judgment, unsteady walking, and rapid involuntary eye movements.

Prescription stimulants include amphetamines and methylphenidate and are the most commonly abused drugs in this category. In addition to the behavioral and psychological signs of addiction described above, physical signs of prescription stimulant abuse include:

  • Insomnia

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Signs And Symptoms Of Drug Addiction

The signs of drug abuse should be taken seriously because misuse of substances can cause harmful side effects, long-term health consequences, and addiction, not to mention potentially fatal overdoses. Not all people who abuse drugs will become addicted to those substances, but any misuse of a drug puts someone at risk for addiction. Addiction to a drug causes many of the same signs as drug abuse, but there are also specific signs that a person has crossed the line from abusing to being addicted, including:

  • Developing a tolerance and needing greater quantities of a drug to get the same high or experience
  • Using a substance to avoid or stop withdrawal symptoms
  • No longer having control over use of a drug trying to stop or use less but failing over and over again
  • Continuing to use substances in spite of the harm it causes
  • Everything revolves around getting more of the drug

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My Friend Took Drugs Once Will They Become An Addict

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Most people only develop an addiction after regularly taking a drug. Its highly unlikely that anyone will develop an addiction after taking drugs once or twice or from drinking once or twice.

Some signs that a person is getting addicted to alcohol or drugs are:

  • they take the drug very regularly or drink very regularly
  • they take it despite trying to cut down or stop
  • they lie about how much they take or take it in secret
  • they keep taking it despite the harm it’s causing
  • they drink or take drugs alone
  • they do extreme things to get the drug or alcohol like stealing, getting into debt or faking symptoms to get prescription drugs
  • they do less of the things they enjoy, because the drugs or alcohol are getting in the way

Remember that people who are addicted often dont think they are, or dont feel like they can admit it.

So if you think your friend has a problem and you want to help them, think about how you’re going to approach the topic and what youre going to say as you dont want to upset them.

And if they dont listen to you at first, dont be put off. Just give them some space and try again in a little while.

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Changes To Physical And Mental Health

It may be possible to recognize addiction if someones health changes for the worst. Drug addiction is associated with a variety of health issues, including:

  • Bloodshot or glazed eyes

  • Memory loss or problems with recalling information

  • Apathy, or lack of motivation or care

  • Suicidal thoughts or self-harm

Its important to remember that health changes can occur for other medical reasons besides drug addiction. Its also common for those with drug addiction to downplay the seriousness of any health problems they are experiencing. If you are concerned about someones declining health and well-being, and there is no other explanation, there is an increased chance of a hidden addiction.

Seeking Treatment For Drug Addiction

Depending on your specific goals and needs, there are many types of treatment programs and supportive resources available for drug addiction. Treatment may include:

  • Detox: Under medical supervision, your body can safely adjust to not using drugs.

  • Medication-Assisted Treatment : Prescription drugs like Naltrexone and Buprenorphine can reduce cravings for drugs.

  • Counseling and therapy: Individual or group therapy sessions, or a combination of both, can help you manage your emotions in a private, judgment-free environment.

  • Support groups: These groups bring together individuals with drug addiction. Your fellow peers act as a support system for each other throughout recovery.

  • Treatment for other medical conditions: Medical services can manage and treat any of the short- and long-term health effects associated with drug addiction.

  • Treatment for mental or behavioral health needs: You can receive prescribed psychiatric medications for mental health needs, such as depression or anxiety, that occur at the same time as drug addiction.

There isnt an overnight cure for drug addiction, but with treatment, it is possible to get better over time. Treatment builds a solid foundation of physical and mental strength, as well as a system of support to rely on for help.

If you recognize these symptoms, no matter the type of drug addiction, seek help today. Contact us to learn more about starting treatment.

Eleanor Health

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