Drug Abuse Signs

At Southeast Addiction Center we recognize the sensitive nature that surrounds the process of seeking and receiving care for mental health concerns and substance abuse issues.

Drug addiction can be tough to self-diagnose at times. However, there are many drug abuse signs to recognize. Whether you or someone you love, you should pay attention to physical, behavioral and psychological changes.

Before looking into the signs of drug abuse, it is important to know that not everyone will have the same changes. For example, you may have more behavioral changes and fewer physical changes than someone else who abuses the same type of drug.

If you are reading this for yourself, or to get a loved one the help they require, you have already taken a critical step that many people fail to take and pay terribly for it. All admissions to Southeast are made on an individualized basis. Each person’s unique needs, concerns, and treatment goals are thoroughly reviewed, and admissions will be based on those specifiers.

Physical Symptoms of Drug Abuse

The first thing to look for with drug abuse is physical changes in the person you think is using. The physical symptoms of drug abuse may be easily hidden or quite apparent. They can happen gradually or quickly.

The physical changes to look for in drug abuse include:

  • Ages 18 or older
  • Able to perform activities of daily living
  • Demonstrate a willingness to participate in treatment

The second step is a background assessment where we wish to learn more about your treatment history, history with substance use disorders, if you have any medical conditions, and your psychiatric history. Knowing this information is crucial to us being able to formulate care that is highly individualized to your unique circumstances.

  • Severe lethargy
  • Losing physical coordination
  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  • Constant runny nose (most common with cocaine addiction)
  • A chemical smell on clothes or breath
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Pinpoint pupils (most common with heroin and opioid use)
  • Weight changes
  • Eating and appetite changes
  • Clenching the jaw
  • Marks on the skin (usually from injecting drugs)
  • Sores around the nose (usually from snorting drugs)
  • Odd sleeping patterns
  • New or worsening sleep changes
  • Body odor
  • Messy hair

If you notice any of these drug abuse signs in someone else, it might be time to hold an intervention. If you are the one abusing drugs, we can help you get treatment today.

Behavioral Signs of Drug Abuse

In addition to the physical drug abuse symptoms, there may be behavioral changes, too. People who abuse drugs may lose control of their life. They may lose track of their values, morals and beliefs, as well.

If you want to know how to tell if someone’s abusing drugs, some behavioral changes to look for include:

  • Changes in how much or how well they socialize
  • Lack of participation in hobbies or activities
  • Performance issues at school or work
  • Less participation in family events or activities
  • Legal problems
  • Dishonesty, deceit, and lying
  • Being secretive
  • Isolating themselves
  • Neglecting personal, family, and work responsibilities
  • Financial problems

If you notice these issues, they could signify drug abuse. If you or someone you know has these signs and uses drugs, there are treatment programs available.

Psychological Drug Abuse Signs

If someone abuses drugs, they may experience psychological changes, as well. The person who is using drugs may act much differently than they usually do. They may feel and think differently, too.

Some psychological signs that you may notice in someone who abuses drugs include:

  • Mental health issues such as anxiety or depression
  • Personality changes
  • Increase in fear, obsessive thoughts, and paranoia
  • Negative view of oneself
  • A negative outlook on life
  • Lack of motivation
  • Not spending as much time with loved ones
  • Losing interest in things
  • Feelings of disconnect with others
  • Sudden, moderate to severe mood swings
  • Lack of motivation
  • Irritability

Many psychological changes can occur when someone is abusing drugs. If you notice these in someone you love, do your best to convince them to get treatment. An intervention might help. If you need to stop abusing drugs, you can get into a treatment program, too.

Things to Remember When Talking About Drug Abuse and Treatment

There are many symptoms of drug abuse. Now that you know what they are, you can help someone in your life get drug addiction treatment if they need it. If you have been abusing drugs, you can get the treatment you require, as well.

There are certain things to remember when talking about drug abuse and addiction treatment. Some of the things you need to remember include:

  • Drug addiction is a disease and many changes occur with this disease.
  • Blaming a person for their addiction will only make things worse.
  • Don’t place judgment when talking to someone about drug abuse or addiction.
  • Do your best to be understanding if you hold an intervention or speak to a loved one about drug abuse.
  • Prepare yourself for the conversation ahead of time.
  • Be ready for resistance.
  • Remember to stay calm and patient during the conversation.
  • If holding an intervention, make sure everyone knows the plan before starting.
  • Time the conversation, so the person isn’t high or drunk during it.
  • Keep things constructive during the conversation.
  • Have resources available ahead of time in case the person agrees to go to treatment.
  • Be as supportive as possible if the person you talk to agrees to go into a treatment program.

Will you be talking to someone you love about their drug abuse? If so, doing these things will help the conversation to go more smoothly.

Treatment Options for Drug Abuse

There are treatments for drug addiction. Many facilities offer treatment in varying lengths, so everyone can get the treatment they need.

Are you or the person who abuses drugs willing to get help? If so, there are many options available for drug addiction treatment. Some treatment options include:

  • Outpatient treatment
  • Intensive outpatient treatment
  • Medically-assisted detox programs
  • Partial hospitalization programs (PHP)
  • Inpatient treatment (residential treatment)

With inpatient treatment, the individual stays at the rehab center for the length of their treatment. Staying at the rehab facility gives them 24/7 care and supervision. With many other treatment programs, the individual can live in a sober living community. The sober living house is a substance-free environment so that the residents can lower their risk of relapse.

Overcoming Drug Abuse

Many different changes happen to someone who abuses drugs. The changes can be physical, behavioral and psychological. The symptoms can vary depending on what drugs the person is using, as well.

Do you or someone you know need help overcoming drug abuse? If so, you should contact us today to enroll in a treatment program.


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