Drug Abuse is the consistent use of addictive substances. Chemical dependency to a drug (or a combination of drugs) can affect the mind and body in multiple ways. It may result in severe health problems like heart problems, nausea, seizures, tremors, excessive sweating, judgment, or brain damage. While the full list of health problems related to drug abuse is much longer, the severity of all drug abuse symptoms is dangerous and life threatening. This article will explain the different drug abuse signs so that you are able to recognize them and get help before they become life threatening.
Some of the most common drugs that people become addicted to are heroine, cocaine, marijuana, and prescription drugs. Marijuana is the most popular and frequently used drug in the world with over one hundred and fifty million people having used it.
Drug Abuse and Addiction Development
The development of drug abuse and addiction can happen regardless of how drug use begins. Drug addiction is a brain disease that occurs consistently over time. Chronic drug use makes dangerous changes in brain functioning. High amounts of dopamine flood the body and a feeling of euphoria results, leading many to seek out that feeling over and over again. The ceaseless need for drugs (even with knowing the severe harm it causes) is a sign of addiction.
Drug use may start out as a voluntary choice, but certain predispositions and behaviors may lead to more dangerous problems. Hereditary links and genetics may play a role in a developing addiction if a parent or other relative suffered from alcoholism or drug addiction.
Unhealthy relationship factors like child abuse has strong links to adult drug abuse and addiction. Additionally, research shows that a history of trauma like physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, especially at a formative stage is also tied to adult drug addiction. Trauma victims turn to drugs or alcohol to suppress or numb the intense shame and pain they feel from those experiences.
A treatment and detox program, therapy, and social support can help fight addiction stemming from trauma and the lingering effects like humiliation and shame.
Women and those who suffer from other types of mental illness may be at a higher risk for developing a drug addiction due to financial instability, co-dependence, and other factors.
7 Drug Abuse Signs
- Visible Drug Abuse Symptoms
Noticeable physical symptoms of drug abuse can occur in facial and body changes like redness, dilated pupils, sunken-in eyes, puffiness, skin discoloration, tooth decay, odor, cuts or marks on the body, and more. Significant weight loss, weight gain, paranoia, tremors, sweating, shaking, and seizures may also be warning signs of drug abuse.
- Behavioral Changes
Uncharacteristic behaviors like denial, mood swings, extreme highs, and extreme lows may be connected to drug abuse. However, it is important to note if the uptick and dramatic change in behavior is extremely out of character for that person. If a chemical drug dependence may be present. If they already suffer from a diagnosed mental health illness, it is vital to consult a medical professional to determine if the behavior changes are in fact, due to drug abuse.
Addictive substances have multiple side effects on behaviors (like anxiety and depression), depending on the type of drug.
- Secretive Habits
Another noticeable sign that family, friends, or roommates would be able to detect would be a change in demeanor. Having secretive habits is evident in many ways, for instance, missing items like money or prescription medications is a serious issue that must be addressed.
Unusual and extreme secrecy, like locking the doors (when they never did that previously), hiding where they are going to be, hiding who they are going to be with, or getting caught in a lie about their whereabouts may be a sign. Addicts lead incredibly secretive and manipulative lives. They do everything they can to hide their addiction. The need for drugs is sometimes so strong that drug abusers will do anything to serve it.
- Unhealthy Stressors
Recent broken relationships or other unhealthy stressors may serve as a reason someone may turn towards drug use. Unhealthy influences in conjunction with visible symptoms and behavioral problems may be a sign of drug use. Developing a list of alternative activities for them to turn their attention towards is beneficial, especially if their drug abuse has not developed into an addiction yet.
- Changes in Social Network
An individual’s choice in friends or social groups may be a sign of drug abuse. This is especially true if they have cut ties with old friends or family and have chosen new friends who are vastly different and engage in unhealthy behaviors. Refusing to introduce their new friends is also something to be aware of and monitor if you are worried about them.
Drug abuse immensely affects health and sleep habits. Depending on the type of drug, an addict may stay awake, due to the effects of the stimulant or combination of drugs taken. On the opposite end, depressant drugs may cause the reverse effect causing extreme fatigue or phases where they crash.
- Negative Changes in Daily Routines
Problems with work or school are huge warning signs that an addiction may be present. Frequent lateness, missed days, conflicts (with peers, co-workers, or bosses), and job termination are warnings of a deeper problem, especially if there were never issues prior. Being observant of severe changes in friends, behaviors, appearance, actions, and a person’s daily life can help you spot an addiction.
Finding Drug Abuse Help Today
If you notice any of the drug abuse signs mentioned above, it is important to reach out for professional help. Drug addiction can change a person for the worse. Erratic behavior, physical symptoms, brain changes, and being owned by addiction affect everyone in the presence of the addict.
It can be an incredibly difficult challenge to support someone addicted to drugs. Understanding the specifics of drug abuse and addiction can help. It is important to understand the disease so you can spot drug abuse signs, whether in yourself, or in a loved one.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), in the United States, more than 15 million people each year are using illegal drugs in excessive dosages and are living with drug addictions. Many do not seek treatment; however, you can if you notice drug abuse signs in yourself or a loved one.
Finding help today ensures that you don’t become part of the dire statistics but will instead, represent the solution.