How To Identify Drug Addiction Symptoms
One in ten Americans over the age of twelve is struggling with an active alcohol or drug addiction symptoms. This is the size of the entire population of Texas. Heroin and opioid addictions are the most prevalent in America, and deaths related to overdoses from these addictive substances have increased over 300% since 2012.
The cost of drug addiction to families, society, and the country as a whole, is staggering. Drug addiction has ravaged entire communities, wrecking local economies, burdening law enforcement, and orphaning innocent children.
Understanding the signs and symptoms of drug addiction, especially in the beginning, can be crucial to getting people the help and treatment they need before the effects become devastating. The following article will list common symptoms of drug addiction and give a more detailed analysis of addiction symptoms related to specific substances.
Youve Noticed Missing Money Items Or Medications
If you live with a suspected pain pill addict, you may have noticed that some objects around your house have gone missing. It could be your favorite pair of diamond earrings or a brand-new iPod or TV. It could even be items like clothing or decorations. While it may be hard to believe, the person youre living with could be selling these for money to buy more prescription drugs to support their habit. Its no surprise, then, that you may have also noticed some of your cash has gone missing. Or maybe a credit card that you simply thought you left at a restaurant and had to cancel. And though your loved one may put on a convincing show of ignorance, this pattern of events may be far too regular to be random. Watch out for missing medication as well. Though you may not be holding their exact drug of choice, they might still be traded or sold on the streets.
Signs Of Drug Or Alcohol Addiction
Signs of drug addiction include frequent intoxication, hangover or illness, and paraphernalia related to substance abuse. Behavioral changes may also indicate drug or alcohol addiction, and these include:
- Problems at work or school, including poor performance, lateness or absenteeism, and social dysfunction
- Loss of energy or motivation
- Neglecting ones appearance
- Spending excessive amounts of money on the substance
- Obsessing about the next dose, ensuring a consistent supply of the substance, and worrying about the next source of the substance
- Performing risky behaviors while intoxicated
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when unable to take the drug
- Developing tolerance, so its necessary to take more to feel the original euphoria
- Stealing to get the drug
- Lying about consumption habits, or getting defensive or aggressive when questioned about consumption
- Compulsively taking the drug or being unable to stop taking it
Different drugs have different signs of intoxication, different side effects, and different withdrawal symptoms. The signs and symptoms of abuse for specific substances are outlined below.
Recommended Reading: How To Fight Addiction Urges
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.
Warning Signs Of Prescription Misuse
The symptoms of drug misuse and addiction can vary depending upon the person and the drug being misused. Some of the warning signs include:
- Pills or medication bottles are missing from your home
- Taking medication in excess of how it has been prescribed
- Abrupt changes in their finances
- Dramatic mood changes
- Lower grades, changes in friends, or changes in sleep or appetite
- Loss of concern about appearance
- Physical signs such as fatigue, confusion, weight loss, slurred speech and dizziness
Objects That Might Be Clues:
These are items that may be found in a bedroom, car or purse of someone who uses drugs:
- Cotton swab heads and sticks
- Cotton balls
- One edge of a razor blade
- Empty pill bottle
Signs Someone Is Addicted To Fentanyl
Fentanyl is one of the most potent and commonly used opioids. It is rarely prescribed for long-term use and is typically only used to treat severe pain that has not responded to other pain medications. Due to the potency of fentanyl, this drug is highly addictive and can be easily used. People who use fentanyl, even briefly, are at risk of becoming addicted to the drug.
Fentanyl addiction can be incredibly dangerous and even deadly. Unfortunately, its not always easy to identify, especially if the person is actively trying to hide their addiction. Knowing the signs of fentanyl use and addiction can help you determine if your loved one is abusing this drug and enable you to seek fentanyl addiction treatment options in Massachusetts.
Vertava Health offers comprehensive fentanyl addiction rehab in Massachusetts. Call to learn more or get started on your road to recovery.
Signs And Symptoms Of Drug Addiction How To Tell If Someone Needs Help For A Drug Problem
Understanding the science behind addiction can be complicated. Some people might think that people become addicted if they dont have any willpower or good morals. In actuality, addiction is a complex and chronic brain disease that can affect people from all backgrounds. It can happen to anyone at any age.
Not everyone who uses drugs becomes addicted because drugs have a different effect on everyone. Some people use drugs experimentally on occasion in a social setting. However, if usage becomes more regular, some people lose the ability to control when and how much they are using. Over time, drugs change behavior and how the brain, body, and mind function. This is how drug addiction, medically known as substance use disorder, develops. These changes can be long-lasting and cause stressful problems like missing work, legal issues, physical health problems, and trouble with family and friends.
Recommended Reading: How To Support An Addict In Recovery
Needing To Increase Doses
Tolerance is caused by regular, repeated use of opioids. The body adapts to the drugs and requires higher doses to relieve pain or achieve euphoric effects. This is a natural adaptation that can be caused by therapeutic use or misuse of pain pills.
If your tolerance is increasing and you keep chasing a pleasurable experience caused by opioids, you may be addicted. If youre able to stop using the drugs before tolerance develops, you probably arent addicted.
Option 3 Talk To Your Boss
Should you tell the boss? In some situations, you might have to. But its important, whatever size company you work for, to consider the most professional way to approach a coworkers drug problem and one that doesnt compromise anyones safety.
Someone who is obviously impaired and operating dangerous machinery needs to be reported immediately, and so should any other situation where safety might be an issue. Many companies have protocols for reporting these kinds of concerns anonymously, if necessary.
Drug addiction in the workplace can affect everyone, not just the addicted individual. Knowing how to tell if someone is addicted to drugs can save jobs, money and lives.
Select a state to find options for rehab centers in your area.
Read Also: How To Get Rid Of Smoking Addiction
Effects Of Prescription Drug Addiction
The effects of prescription drug abuse are far-reaching and depend upon a number of variables. The most common long-term effects of prescription drug abuse include the following:
- Social isolation
- Withdrawing from previously enjoyable activities
- Labile moods
- Worsening of physical and mental illnesses
- Inability to fulfill responsibilities at work or home
Effects of Prescription Painkiller Abuse:
- Respiratory depression
- Increased risk for HIV/AIDS and other bloodborne pathogens
Effects of Stimulant Abuse:
Unpredictable And Irrational Mood Swings
Addiction doesnt just alter someones outward appearance.
Mental health can suffer too, along with their entire personality can change too.
Mood swings are a frequent struggle for anyone hooked on a substance. These swings can be short-lived and/or long-standing in nature. For example, in the blink of an eye, someone whos usually warm and affable can become aggressive and abrasive.
In a more permanent sense, someone addicted to drugs can become impatient, demanding, self-interested, and critical. It can feel like the habit removes their capacity for self-control and understanding.
For outsiders, developments like this can be as confusing as they are troubling. Someone youve known for years can seem like a total stranger.
Don’t Miss: What Causes Addiction To Smoking Cigarettes
Signs Of Drug Addiction
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders, Fifth Edition describes signs of addiction and symptoms of SUDs.5 These symptoms can range from mild to severe in their intensity. Some signs of addiction may appear mild when a person first begins to misuse drugs and worsen as their substance misuse continues.
Common Physical Signs Someone Is On Drugs
When youre wondering how to tell if someone is using drugs, physical signs can be your first indicator. Some of the most common symptoms, physically, that someone could be on drugs or abusing drugs include:
- Sleeping problems, such as difficulty falling asleep, being awake at odd times, or falling asleep at strange times.
- A general sense of lethargy, or also excessive energy, depending on the drug.
- Changes in eating habits, such as a loss of appetite or an increased appetite.
- Pupils that are either larger or smaller than normal.
- Watery or bloodshot eyes.
Recommended Reading: How Do People Get Addicted To Drugs
Signs Of A Drug Problem
Its not always easy to tell if someone has a substance use disorder, especially because of shame and stigma. Some people try to keep their drug use a secret. If you are concerned that you or someone you know has a problem with drugs, the main indications of addiction include:
Having a strong craving to use drugs every day or several times throughout the day
Always having drugs with you
Buying drugs, even if you cant afford them
Needing more of the same drug to have the same effect
Doing things you wouldnt normally do in order to get drugs, such as stealing or lying
Doing risky or dangerous things while on drugs, like driving or having unsafe sex
Continuing to take drugs even though theyre causing problems with your loved ones, work, and other commitments
Taking more drugs than you want to, and for longer than you thought you would
Spending most of your time getting, using, or recovering from drug use
Feeling sick when you try to quit
Experiencing Work Or Legal Problems
Individuals addicted to opioids are incapable of performing at school or work. Theyre often late, absent and distracted. Eventually, they lose jobs and have trouble finding work. Some people rely on friends or family for support. Others become homeless.
They also tend to experience legal problems because they have to steal to fund their addiction. They may do things to get drugs that they wouldnt have done before they became addicted. Or they may end up in jail for drug possession or dealing.
The primary symptom of painkiller addiction is an inability to quit using the drugs. If you try to quit but are unable to, youre probably addicted. Opioid addiction treatment can help you overcome withdrawal and learn methods for avoiding relapse.
If someone you know is exhibiting multiple symptoms of opioid addiction, encourage them to talk to a doctor or rehab facility about treatment. Opioid addiction is a deadly disease. Convincing someone to go to rehab can save their life.
Recommended Reading: What Chemical Makes Alcohol Addictive
Effects Of Orally Ingesting Cocaine
Some people take cocaine orally by rubbing it on the gums or mixing it in a drink. Others wrap powder cocaine in a small piece of toilet paper or tissue and swallow it. This method of use is sometimes called parachuting or bombing.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, consuming cocaine by mouth can cause severe bowel decay.
Cocaine smugglers and drug dealers sometimes swallow large amounts of cocaine in condoms or balloons to hide it from law enforcement. The packets can easily break open inside the body and cause a fatal cocaine overdose.
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.
Also Check: How Does Alcohol Become Addictive
Causes And Risk Factors For Prescription Drug Addiction
Researchers have yet to unearth a single factor responsible for the abuse of substances such as prescription drugs. Prescription drug abuse is likely to be the result of many factors intermingling. The most common causes for prescription drug abuse include:
Genetic: It appears as though addiction and substance abuse have a genetic component, although the precise gene or combination of genes is unclear as of yet. Individuals who struggle with addiction and abuse of substances often have a relative or close family member such as a parent or sibling who similarly struggles with addiction.
Brain Chemistry: Its been theorized that certain individuals may be born lacking certain neurotransmitters responsible for pleasurable sensations in their brains. These individuals may attempt to self-medicate this deficiency with prescription drugs that increase the levels of these neurotransmitters.
Environmental: Individuals who grow up in a home in which addiction was rampant may grow up believing that abusing drugs is the way to handle difficulties in life. In addition, individuals who begin to abuse substances early in life are at greater risk for developing an addiction later in life.
Psychological: Many individuals who battle prescription drug abuse are also suffering from a co-occurring mental illness. These individuals may be attempting to self-medicate the symptoms of their untreated or undiagnosed mental illness.
Signs and Symptoms
Physicians Can Misdiagnose A Prescription Drug Abuse Problem And Bypass The Suggestion Of Drug Abuse Rehab
Although marijuana is the most commonly abused drug in the United States, the most common prescription pill addiction has been opioid-based pain medicines in recent years. In 2014, an estimated 1.9 million people in the United States suffered from an opioid pain medicine abuse disorder. Other sedatives, as well as stimulants such as adderall or ritalin, or antianxiety medicines such as benzodiazepines are all also commonly abused, but not to the epidemic proportions that opioid abuse is reaching.
It can be a difficult subject to breach with our patient, but a clinician with a keen eye can notice symptoms that indicate prescription drug abuse is occurring , often before our patient is ready to admit the problem and opt for drug abuse rehab. It is also common for friends, family or those close to a chronic abuser to notice the symptoms and report the instance to a professional in order to get the necessary help for their loved one. The following are signs that indicate pill addiction and could help identify any clients that may be abusing them:
- Appearing unusually sedated or energetic.
- Seeking prescriptions from multiple doctors
- Asking for multiple increases in dosage
- Poor memory
- Trouble with coordination or walking awkwardly
- New or worsening depression, anxiety or irritability
Recommended Reading: What Makes Cat Treats So Addictive
Signs Someone Close To You Is Abusing Pills
Prescription drug abuse is quickly becoming one of the countrys most widespread and damaging problems to date. A combination of over-prescribing doctors and under-scrutinized medical guidelines makes it easier than ever to get your hands on these powerful and deadly pills. In fact, almost half of the population is currently on at least one prescription medication and over ten percent have used five or more prescription drugs in the past 30 days. In addition to the addictive qualities inherent in some of these medications is the fact that abusing them might be a precursor to becoming addicted to even harder street drugs like heroin. Thats why its more important than ever to recognize the signs of abuse so you can determine if someone close to you is becoming a prescription drug addict. Below, we outline 7 behaviors or symptoms you should keep your eyes open for if you think someone you love is beginning to abuse prescription pills. Once youve identified the problem you can work towards finding them the help they need to kick this dangerous habit.
How Drug Use Starts
For some individuals, substance abuse begins when they start socially experimenting with various substances. This can be the case with drugs such as amphetamines, alcohol, marijuana and prescription drugs.
Opioid abuse can begin differently. People who become addicted to opioids are often prescribed prescription drugs, such as painkillers, often following something like an accident or surgery. They can then start taking higher doses of those prescription drugs, which can lead to abuse. They may also seek cheaper forms of opioids, such as heroin. Overall, 75% of heroin users report that the first opioid they took was a prescription drug.
When someone begins using drugs of any kind, they may start feeling as if they need larger and more frequent doses to get the same effects, even with something that started as social experimentation. This is called tolerance.
Drug use can start at any age. However, starting during childhood or adolescence is linked to an increased risk of dependence on the substance, where they feel like they need the drug to function normally.
Read Also: Can You Recover From Heroin Addiction