Behavioral Signs Of Drug Addiction
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:
6. Erratic Behavior:
7. Changes in Sleep Habits:
Signs Of Marijuana Abuse
If youre concerned someone you care about is using Marijuana, being aware of the signs of abuse is the first step toward finding out. Some common signs and symptoms that may indicate Marijuana use include:
- Bloodshot eyes
- Relaxed state/sleepiness
- Feeling high or euphoric
However, it is also important to never diagnose yourself or a loved one without the consultation of a medical professional first. Reach out to a treatment provider to ask questions and learn more.
What Are The Behavioral Warning Signs Of People Who Are On Prescription Drugs
Gauging whether or not someone is abusing prescription drugs isnt just based on physical signs and red flags. There are also behavioral changes and warnings that can occur with prescription drug abuse.
At first, as someone starts using or abusing prescription drugs, behavioral changes may be subtle. They could include a lack of concentration or focus in areas such as school or work, or symptoms like irritability.
Over time, as someone continues to use prescription drugs they will often become increasingly aggressive, and start to display noticeable changes in their personality. This can lead to damaged relationships with friends and loved ones, and often if people are abusing prescription drugs or other types of drugs, they will create new social groups.
Priorities tend to change, and school or work commitments can be pushed aside. Depression may be a sign of prescription drug use, as can lying or secrecy, financial problems, or trying to take extreme measures to obtain the drugs.
People who are addicted to various prescription drugs will often study the symptoms that are present when someone is prescribed the drug theyre addicted to so they can then go to a doctor and say they have these problems. They may doctor shop until they find someone who will prescribe drugs to them, or they may steal drugs from other people.
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Early Warning Signs In Lifestyle Patterns
Some of the signs and symptoms of an addiction are more clear-cut than others. While it might be easier to notice the impact of the substances on a persons body, it can be harder to see how these symptoms are causing ripple effects in that individuals life. Here are some lifestyle changes to be on watch for:
- Performance in school or work has be negatively affected
- Responsibilities at home are being neglected
- The substance use addiction is resulting in dangerous or high-risk behaviors such as driving under the influence, using unclean needles, promiscuity or stealing to obtain the substance
- Legal problems like DUI arrests, disorderly conduct and so on
- Secretive behavior
- No longer participating in extracurricular activities, hobbies, sports or exercise
- Missing prescription drugs
- Fixation with music and clothing related to drugs or alcohol
- Increasing conflicts in relationships such as arguments with co-workers or family.
Assuming your loved one is struggling with substance use based solely on the above lifestyle signs is never a good idea. However, coupled with substance abuse early warning signs its a stronger case. If you are worried that your loved one is struggling with a substance use addiction, its time for a conversation about starting treatment.
What Are The Signs Of Addiction
Most of us have heard of addiction in some form or another, but unless you have suffered from addiction yourself or dealt with it firsthand, it is difficult to understand the true nature of addiction. Addiction is a lifelong disease, and for many, it is difficult to get the treatment they need to truly get clean and sober. Getting your loved ones the treatment they need starts with recognizing the signs of addiction and knowing when it is time to try and get them to seek help.
At Addiction Interventions, we recognize how devastating addiction can be and that not everyone knows the indicators of addiction and what they look like once a person has become addicted. It is important to recognize addiction signs as soon as possible to minimize the damage addiction can do and get a person the help they need. In this post, we are going to discuss the signs and symptoms of addiction, the difference between addiction and dependence, and how to know when it is time for a drug intervention.
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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:
Effects Of Injecting Cocaine
Injecting cocaine into a vein can cause a more intense high. It also increases the risk of overdose. Speedball, which is a mix of cocaine and heroin, is usually injected.
Red flags for IV cocaine use include track marks , bruising and collapsed veins. Injecting cocaine also raises the risks of contracting IV-related viruses, such as HIV and hepatitis.
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Behaviors To Look Out For
Changes in Sleep Patterns. Some of the most abused drugs are stimulants or depressants. Excessive use and abuse of these drugs can cause intense highs characterized by hyperactivity and periods of insomnia or intense lows that cause long periods of sleeping or drowsiness. Addictive substances alter the brains natural circadian rhythm which can actually cause sleep disturbances well after someone has stopped using the drug.
Noticeably Different Energy Levels. People often use drugs to change the way they feel, whether to increase pleasure or calm anxiety. If you notice that your loved one has a drastic change in their usual mood, either they are extremely euphoric or drowsy, it could indicate drug use.
Drastic Personality Change. Over time, drug use alters the chemical and functional structures of the brain. This can result in personality changes. Addiction and the intense need for a drug may cause someone who is normally very docile to become agitated and aggressive. Also, stimulant drugs may cause a normally depressed person to appear very energetic or even manic.
Outbursts, Resentful Behavior, Intense Irritability, or Mood Swings. Though the drugs themselves may cause a change in mood, your loved one may also display signs of irritability or agitation when they do not have the drug in their system or if theyre running out of ways to get that drug. They may become moody and not want to talk to you or anyone that may notice changes due to drug use.
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.
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Effects Of Snorting Cocaine
Snorting cocaine can cause severe nasal problems. It makes blood vessels in the nose constrict, cutting off oxygen flow to the nasal tissues. Other chemicals that dealers add to cocaine can also irritate the lining of the nose. Inhaling cocaine can lead to infections of the nasal and oral cavities.
Typical symptoms of snorting cocaine include:
- Frequent colds or sinus problems
- Difficulty swallowing
When people snort cocaine for a long time, the nose can collapse. Holes can form in the roof of the mouth, and other parts of the face can become damaged. Approximately 5 percent of people who snort the drug will eventually develop a hole in their nasal septum, the wall of tissue that divides the two sides of the nose.
While some people snort lines of cocaine off tables, mirrors of other hard surfaces, others prefer to snort the drug off a longer fingernail, usually on the pinky finger. A so-called coke nail can serve both as a shovel and snorting surface.
When Is It Time For A Drug Intervention
While each situation is different, the time for a drug intervention is as soon as you know that your loved one has an addiction. The longer a person is addicted, the worse it is for them and those around them.
Addiction Intervention is here to support you in your time of need. We have trained interventionists ready to help. We offer drug interventions, alcohol interventions, and support services for planning your intervention. If you have a loved one who is struggling with an addiction, the time is now Addiction Interventions today.
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Intervention For A Marijuana Problem
If Marijuana is hindering a healthy and productive life for you or someone you care about, an intervention can be a good way to help facilitate a change. Often, people who have become addicted to Marijuana do not believe they have a problem and may need the assistance of someone on the outside to see what they cannot.
For example, parents of teens who have started abusing Marijuana may stage an intervention to educate and explain the potential dangers of a drug so wrought with varying and often contradictory information. Learn more about staging an intervention.
Common Questions About Rehab
Signs Of Cocaine Abuse And Addiction
Secretive behavior can be a red flag for a substance abuse problem, and people with a cocaine addiction will often try to hide their drug use. As their addiction grows, their lives begin to revolve around the drug. Theyll often neglect people and activities that were once important to them.
Other signs and symptoms of cocaine addiction include:
- Obsessive thoughts about cocaine
- Inability to stop using the drug
- Financial problems
- Relationship problems
- Deterioration in physical appearance
- Risk-taking behavior
People who use cocaine regularly may develop a physical tolerance to the drug. When this happens, they require larger amounts to achieve the same desired effects. They are also more likely to suffer physical withdrawal symptoms when they stop using cocaine.
Addiction can sneak up on a person. Madeleine Ludwig first began using cocaine socially.
Snorting cocaine made me feel awake and hyper, but I only ever snorted it in social settings like parties or with friends, she told DrugRehab.com
But once she began shooting cocaine intravenously, addiction quickly took hold.
That awake effect wasnt enough for me to want to spend money on it alone, she said. However, once I discovered shooting up cocaine, my life revolved around it.
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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:
Next Steps Towards Recovery
Its important to have quick access to treatment. If you or someone you know has an addiction, call 1-800-622-4357 for free and confidential treatment referral and information from SAMHSA. You can also seek help from your doctor, local treatment center, or support group.
Addictions often affect many areas of a persons life. The most effective treatments are comprehensive. They often have several steps that vary from person to person. These steps can include detoxification, behavioral counseling, and long-term follow-up.
Here are some ways you can support a friend or family members recovery process:
- Learn more about the substance or behavior dependency and the treatment.
- Stay involved, like offering to go to meetings with them.
- Provide a sober and trigger-free setting.
- Speak up and express concern when there is a relapse.
While you can treat addiction, in most cases, someone with addiction must want to change for recovery to be successful.
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Changes In Thoughts Feelings And Behavior
Substance misuse can lead to concerning changes in mood and behavior.5 Alcohol can cause impaired judgment, which may lead to impulsive or high-risk behavior. Hallucinogens and stimulants can impact ones perception of reality.
Irritable or depressed moods can occur when using different types of drugs and while recovering from their effects.5 Substance use can cause existing mental health concerns to grow more intense as well, leading to an increase of symptoms relating to ones thoughts, feelings, and actions.4,5
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08/20/2021|Ruben Bermea, LPC
Drug addiction can lead to serious consequences for both the individual using drugs and those around them.1 When left untreated, substance misuse can affect families and children, households, and communities.2 People experiencing the signs of addiction may benefit from support in seeking addiction treatment services.3
In This Article:
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Psychological Signs Of Drug Use
Illicit drugs are known for their psychoactive properties or their ability to alter brain function. When someone misuses drugs, they may experience changes in their mood, level of awareness, thoughts, and feelings.
The psychoactive nature of drugs also causes them to produce behavioral signs. Some of which are more devastating than others.6
Some common psychological signs include:
- A negative change in personality or attitude
- Depression and anxiety
- Loss of coordination
Physical Signs Of Drug Use
How does a person look? How do they present themselves to the outside world? These are good questions to ask when checking for physical signs of drug abuse.
A persons physical appearance says a lot about them. Since its the first thing you will notice, it can help you quickly find out if theyre on drugs. One early sign is an unexplainable change in their looks. For instance, they might have lost weight without dieting or exercising.
Some common physical symptoms of drug use include:
- Poor hygiene
- Larger or smaller pupils than usual
- Poor skin tone
- Appearing tired or run down
- Poor physical coordination
Read Also: What Causes Addiction To Smoking Cigarettes
Behavioral Signs Of A Person Who Is On Drugs
In addition to the physical signs, there are several behavioral signs of drug addiction. Generally, someone who has a drug addiction will not be themselves. Think of all the times someone said they were an angry drunk as an example. This is because alcohol changes the way they process information and react to it.
Drugs of all shapes and sizes will alter the way people behave, so be sure to watch out for someone acting out of the ordinary.
Legal Drugs Vs Illegal Drugs
People can become addicted to illegal drugs, legal drugs, and prescription medications used in an unhealthy way, such as:
Nicotine, including cigarettes and vaping
Misusing prescription medicines like opioids, or over-the-counter medicines by taking them in a different way than intended, such as:
Taking medicine prescribed for someone else
Taking a larger dose than prescribed
Using the medicine in a different way than directed, such as crushing and snorting or injecting
Using the medicine to get high on purpose
The risks and speed of developing an addiction depend on the drug. Some drugs, like opioid painkillers, cause addiction very quickly. Drugs have a strong effect on the brains reward system, by filling the brain with a chemical called dopamine which produces the feeling of being high. Over time, the brain gets used to the larger amount of dopamine so it needs larger doses of the drug to get high. Some people might feel like they need the drug to just feel normal. When drugs are used for a long time, they damage the areas of the brain responsible for judgment, decision-making, memory, and learning.
No matter the type of addiction, if you recognize symptoms, it is important to seek the necessary help. Contact us today to take the first step.
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