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:
You Feel You Need It To Deal With Your Problems
Alongside what Psychology Today calls the “craving or compulsion” to keep doing an addictive thing, there is often another motivator: the belief in its necessity to your functioning. The most common reason that addicts refuse to seek treatment, according to a study of 2.8 million drug users, is that they’re “not ready to stop using,” at a whopping 38.8 percent. Life without the addiction seems terrifying and impossible it has become one of the only reliable ways to deal with your issues and life in general, and you aren’t prepared to try to experience the world without it.
You Feel Anxious About What Other People Think Of You
You might find yourself worrying or even obsessing about what others think of you, whether they are mad at you or whether you fit in. If this is severe enough that it impacts your mental health, your ability to function in your life or in your relationships, this could be a sign of an anxiety disorder or OCD.1
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How Do You Know If Youre Addicted
You look forward to getting high. You devote increasing amounts of time planning to get drugs or worrying about where your next dose is coming from. You find yourself rummaging through other peoples medicine cabinets in search of drugs.
Your involvement with drugs begins to have negative consequences. It interferes with your functioningyou start missing obligations and events. You make excuses for yourselfto yourself and to others, about why you need the substance, about not showing up, about making mistakes at work, about how tomorrow will be different. You break promises to yourself that you will stop usinga source of self-contempt that has a way of perpetuating addiction by needing relief in the high of substance use. You drift away from longtime friends. You get secretive about your activities. You get defensive or belligerent with loved ones or colleagues who want to know whats going on they notice peculiarities about your behavior or appearance that you are not likely to recognize. You maintain a belief that you can stop any time you wantdespite evidence to the contrary.
Are There Early Warning Signs Of Addiction
While the best-known signs of addiction may be physical changes in a personweight loss to the point of emaciation, the red face of problem drinkersthose occur late in the course of substance use. The early signs of addictive problems are behavioral. Experts identify at least five early warning signs of addiction.
rationalization: justifying use because of a real need the substance is serving, whether it is aiding social experience or fostering sleep.
personality changes: unpredictable displays of hostility, suspicion, or irritability, or rapid mood swings
relationship shifts: wearing out longstanding relationships, rapidly turning to new sets of friends
deteriorating work performance: increasing difficulties concentrating on work showing up in simple mistakes and, often, new difficulties with coworkers
emergence of a shadow self: violating deep values as drug use affects the prefrontal cortex of the brain.
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Signs Of Alcohol Addiction
Alcohol is one of the most widely abused substances in the US. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, in 2012, 17 million adults ages 18 and older had alcohol use disorder in the United States.
Both alcohol abuse and alcoholism come with a variety of signs and symptoms. Oftentimes, functional alcoholics may be able to hide or minimize these signs for some time however, over time, it generally becomes harder and harder to hide the issue.
According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, alcohol abuse can cause blackouts and memory loss. A person may have flushed skin and broken capillaries, particularly in the face. With severe alcohol use disorder, the hands may tremble, and the voice may take on a huskier tone. Long-term abuse of alcohol can lead to chronic diarrhea and even vomiting blood.
When an individual suffering from alcohol use disorder stops drinking, they will experience withdrawal symptoms, such as headaches, nausea, insomnia, and anxiety. There is the potential for serious withdrawal complications, including delirium tremens , a condition that can lead to hallucinations and life-threatening seizures. As a result, those who are addicted to alcohol should never attempt to stop drinking on their own medical detox is required.
Other common signs of alcohol addiction include:
How Can I Tell If Someone Has A Problem Drinking Or Taking Drugs
There are both physical and behavioral clues that someone might be experiencing a problem with substance use. None of them is definitive, and there may be many other causes, but the presence of multiple signs merits special consideration. On the physical side, a sustained neglect of personal appearance, poor hygiene, and listlessness may be signs. Bloodshot or glazed eyes and slurred or rambling speech can result from drug use. Sweating, body tremors, or even vomiting can be signs, as can weight loss or gain.
Behaviorally, significant changes in activity patterns, social groups, and school or work performance could result from problems with drug use, as can an increased desire for privacy. Behavior in general can become unpredictable, and people may frequently call in sick to work or school. Drug use can push people to borrow or steal money or other valuable items, and to neglect ongoing financial obligations. Irritability and mood swings, problems recalling information, and shifts in sleep-wake patterns are other common accompaniments of substance use. Also among the warning signs is a tendency for those experiencing problems to deny or get highly defensive about observed changes in behavior.
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How Can I Help Someone Through Withdrawal
Overcoming addiction can be hard. It is important to start the process in a safe and secure environment, such as at home, a detox facility or hospital. If you need to support someone through withdrawal, talk to a doctor , another health professional, or a drug and alcohol service before starting.
If you are helping someone with an addiction, encourage the person to exercise and eat healthy food. Distract them, reassure them and remind them why they want to quit.
You Use Drugs To Fill A Void In Your Life
Perhaps you just got out of a long-term relationship, or someone close to you recently passed away. Instead of dealing with the strong, and very understandable, feelings stemming from these huge life changes, you take drugs to help you cope. Youre numbing yourself instead of helping yourself.
The more you avoid dealing with your feelings, the more they will threaten to overwhelm you and the stronger your urge to numb yourself will become. Your addiction will be fueled by your need to escape, and the only thing that can help is to break that chemical dependence and face up to your feelings, no matter how scared you may be.
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Can People Get Addicted To Any Drug
Addiction hinges on many factors, only some of which have to do with the properties of a drug. It is possible to get addicted to a psychoactive substance that produces a pleasurable effect, but by no means do the majority of people who consume such substances get addicted. For example, many people are medically treated with opioid painkillers for a period of time and easily discontinue medication when pain remits. Likewise, alcohol is consumed widely around the world with meals and in social situations without resulting in addiction.
One of the most important factors influencing attractiveness of regular substance abuse is the existence of significant opportunities for establishing goals and experiencing meaningful rewards in life. Under such circumstances, drugs can hold little allure. Research demonstrates, for example, that poverty is a strong contributor to drug use, because it imposes many barriers to resources and impediments to achieving individual goals. Similarly, unemployment is a significant independent risk factor for substance use and for relapse after treatment. Researchers have long observed that alcohol use increases during recessions.
You Take Risks And Make Disproportionate Sacrifices For It
The increased capacity of the addicted brain to take risks to get a hit is one of the most studied bits of addiction a February 2016 study actually found that the structure of drug-addicted brains in particular become wired differently, making them much more likely to take incredible risks to reach their high or maintain a supply. The addicted brain has a much lower problem with risk than a normal one: it’ll convince you that it’s a good idea to steal a friend’s bottle of whisky, or nab $20 from your roommate’s purse or play poker online till 4 a.m. when you’ve got a job interview the next day.
There’s another aspect to this risk-taking, too while under the influence of a high, addicts often have difficulty regulating other bits of their behavior, and do risky stuff like driving fast.
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Does Addiction Cause Personality Change
Addiction involves a great many contradictions, including behavioral choices in spite of oneself. One of the most puzzling aspects of addiction is the way it prompts people to violate their own codes of behavior, their own sense of self. Neuroscience sheds light on the phenomenon: Studies show that as the drive for the drug and its reward becomes increasingly inscribed in brain circuity, there are corresponding changes in circuity weakening the persons powers of judgment and control. People who are addicted often act in ways that even they do not endorselying, stealing, socially withdrawing, becoming suspiciousand even the conscientious can become neglectful of obligations.
Those who become addicted are usually acutely aware of their own behavioral shifts and especially how they are disappointing others, even as they rationalize away their behavioral anomalies. Recovery often requires addressing the guilt and shame people feel over their own addictive behavior. Left unaddressed, such painful negative self-related feelings can seek quick relief in drug use before impulse control is regained.
How To Know If You Need Help
It can be scary to recognize these signs in a loved one. It can be even scarier to notice them within yourself. If you identify with any of these signs of addiction or youve tried to quit using drugs without success, you may need professional help.
Addiction treatment works. At Footprints to Recovery, we can help you on the path towards recovery. Change takes time, but it is possible. You can learn how to rebuild your life and be free of the confusing, frightening, and dangerous symptoms of substance abuse. Contact us today to get started!
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Learn About Cocaine And Substance Abuse
Cocaine, often touted as the caviar of street drugs, is a high-priced way of getting high. The mystique of cocaine is often sensationalized in movies and by celebrities, who can afford this high-priced and illegal drug. Classified by the federal government as a high abuse, high dependency risk, the reality of cocaine hits after the high. Cocaine has extremely negative effects on the heart, brain, and emotional wellbeing of users. Many people who use cocaine become physically and psychologically dependent upon the drug, which can lead to long-term and devastating life-threatening consequences.
Cocaine, an illegal street drug often called blow, coke, and crack on the streets, is a recreational drug that is created by purifying an extract from the leaves of the Erythroxylum coca bush. Different processes produce the two primary forms of cocaine we see on the street. Powdered cocaine, known as blow or coke, is often snorted, but is easily soluble in water and can be injected. Crack cocaine, or crack or rock on the streets, is created using a chemical process that produces a freebase form of cocaine that is smoked. The immediate effects, or the high produced by cocaine usually wear off between 30 minutes to two hours after use. Smoking or injecting coke leads to a faster, yet shorter high than snorting the drug.
/10 Finding Yourself Unable To Quit
We all know those gamers who refuse to quit and play for hours on end into the dead of night. This could be a sign of an addiction as they find it impossible to put the game down for even a second.
They might always be online or have completed a game several times in a few short days. One way gamers could handle this issue is to set a bedtime or a certain amount of time to play in order to prevent their gaming from getting out of control.
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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. Per the National Institute on Drug Abuse , signs of drug use in adolescents include acting withdrawn, tired, depressed, or hostile.
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. Parents can also listen for their kids using slang terms for certain drugs of abuse.
If drug use is suspected, prompt intervention is vital. Parents can get help from guidance counselors, primary care physicians, and drug abuse treatment providers.
Signs And Symptoms Of Drug Abuse In Adults
Its important to know the signs and symptoms of drug addiction. Alcohol or drug addiction changes the way a person looks, acts and feels. The symptoms of substance use disorders are linked to changes in the body, behavior and emotions. Thankfully, you can discover when a friend or family member has become addicted to drugs by observing the following signs of substance abuse in adults.
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Why Does My Body Shake When I Go Without Drugs For A While
In addition to the direct action of the consumed substance in producing a high, many circuits of brain function adapt their operations to the presence of the psychoactive agent, typically through increases or decreases in sensitivity of neurotransmitter receptors. When that substance is suddenly unavailable, that absence leaves many brain operations exposed and interferes with the various functions. One of the first symptoms to occur is general shakiness.
Changes In Mood & Behavior
A person struggling with an addiction will often display changes in their mood and behavior. People closest to them may notice some of the following signs of addiction:
- Drug paraphernalia
- Collections of drugs hidden away, known as stashes, often in plastic bags and wraps of paper or tin foil
- Secretive about parts of personal life
- Withdrawal or social isolation
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You Have Trouble Sleeping
Insomnia and sleeplessness are two of the most common side effects tied to drugs. They may be directly related to the side effects of the drugs methamphetamines, for example, are stimulants that rev up your heart rate and blood pressure, making it difficult to calm down enough to sleep, even hours after youve gotten high.
Is Addiction In The Mind Or The Body
Addiction involves both the mind and the bodyand every other facet of existence, because they all interact. There is no real distinction between physical addiction and psychological addiction. Substances of abuse affect the reward system of the brain, mediated by the neurotransmitter dopamine. Substance-induced physical changes to the part of the brain that responds to dopamine progressively power the motivation to seek the drug again and again, and, at the same time, lower the capacity for self-control. The physical changes to the pleasure-experiencing centers of the brain induce physical changes to the prefrontal cortex, weakening the capacity for decision-making and impulse control.
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Social Signs That Someone Is On Drugs
New Friend Group or Hangout Spots. When someone is sliding into addiction, they tend to hang out with people who also use their drug of choice, or use any kind of substance for that matter. Someone may begin to distance themselves from their old friends or loved ones that may try to get them to stop.
A Decline in Grades or Participation in School. As drugs become the primary focus of someones life, they often spend more and more time using and obtaining drugs. You may notice that their school work or participation in school starts to decrease. They may stop caring about their grades and choose to neglect the work they need to do to improve academic performance.
A Decline in Work Performance. If they have a job or career, you may also notice declining performance in the professional aspects as drug use becomes the number one priority. They may no longer be able to focus. There may also be no drive to complete work or perform how they once did, especially if work-related stress is what led to substance abuse in the first place.
Missing School or Work with No Legitimate Excuse. In order to get high or to hide their drug abuse, your loved one may miss school or work but have no good excuse as to why. They may have even told you that they were still going to school or work. You may not even notice this until the school calls or until they stop receiving paychecks.