Signs and Symptoms of Drug Abuse 

Signs And Symptoms Of Drug Abuse

It can be very hard to admit that you or your loved one is battling a drug problem. Eventually, however, the signs and symptoms of drug abuse become impossible to ignore. These signs and symptoms infiltrate every aspect of life, including physical and mental health and lifestyle, and it’s important to recognize them when they occur. 

While the lines between occasional “recreational use” and abuse can get blurred, it’s imperative that you or your loved one get help as soon as a problem is identified. While each person’s case is different, depending upon their substance use history, lifestyle, and other factors, there are certain common signs and symptoms of drug abuse of which to be mindful. 

Physical Signs and Symptoms of Drug Abuse 

Physical signs and symptoms of drug abuse can vary based on what kind of drug the user has been taking, as well as how long and how much they’ve used.

Some of the more common signs include but are not limited to: 

  • Skin marks and discoloration
  • Extreme changes in weight and appetite
  • Sunken or bloodshot eyes
  • Consistent intermittent twitching 
  • Tooth decay and dental issues (especially in meth addiction)
  • Strange smells and odors on skin, breath, and clothing 
  • Labored breathing
  • Slow or lethargic movement

Many of these symptoms can be attributed to withdrawal, as well as other conditions like headache, intestinal distress, and more. 

Psychological Signs and Symptoms of Drug Abuse

Like physical signs, psychological signs and symptoms of drug abuse will vary based on a variety of factors.

They can include, but are not limited to: 

  • Sudden and erratic mood swings 
  • Violent outbursts 
  • Hallucinations and delusions 
  • Extreme paranoia and anxiety
  • Depression and persistent sadness 

It’s important to realize that these symptoms can either cause or be caused by drug abuse, and will worsen the longer use persists. You or your loved one may need dual-diagnosis treatment to address your substance abuse issues and the mental health condition that caused and triggered them. 

Behavioral and Lifestyle Signs and Symptoms of Drug Abuse 

Perhaps some of the visible and glaring signs and symptoms of drug abuse emerge from behavior.

These indicators can include, but are not limited to: 

  • Lying or deception of about whereabouts and relationships 
  • Increasingly high-risk behavior
  • Sudden loss of interest in past activities and relations 
  • Long periods of disappearance and isolation 
  • Decline in professional and academic performance 
  • Legal and financial issues related to substance use 
  • Changes in friend groups and associations
  • Frequent absenteeism from work, school, and family functions 

It can be even harder to identify the signs and symptoms of drug abuse when discussing prescription drugs, but it’s important to vigilant and mindful of these glaring signs. If you or someone you care about are being affected by drug use in any way, it’s time to get help. 

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