Signs and symptoms of drug addiction
Physical SignsDrug addiction can display various physical signs. These may include: weight loss, red eyes, and fatigue. Other physical signs of addiction can be: trembling, bad coordination, twitching, enlarged pupils and changes in hunger. Let’s investigate the physical signs of drug addiction further:
Changes in appetite or sleep patternsDrug addiction can bring about physical signs. These include changes in appetite, sleep patterns and weight.
- Appetite can decrease due to drug use, leading to decreased food intake and health problems.
- Sleep is also affected – people may sleep less, feel tired or sleep during the day when they normally wouldn’t.
- Weight may also change – either gain or lose – due to either cravings or lack of hunger.
Unexplained weight loss or gainUnexplained weight gain or loss is a common sign of drug addiction. An addict might lose a lot due to increased metabolism or no appetite. This can also be due to depression and mental health issues linked to drugs. Addiction can lead to weight gain too. Drugs can cause cravings for unhealthy food, plus no physical activity or regular sleep. Hormones, metabolism and brain chemicals that control hunger all play a part. Other signs of substance abuse:
- behavior changes
- red/puffy eyes
- dilated pupils
- pale skin
- poor hygiene
- sleep problems.
Sudden changes in behaviorBehavioral changes can be major signs of drug addiction. These could be shifts in sleeping, eating, hygiene, or grooming habits. Or, it may be a difference in activity levels, such as being more agitated and restless. People addicted to drugs tend to forget duties like work or school, which leads to stress and fear of failing. Additionally, they may show secrets and suspicious behavior if asked about drugs.
Psychological SignsDrug addiction brings with it psychological clues. Poor decisions, difficulty in staying focused, and problems with memory can all be signs of addiction. Even before any physical signs appear, psychological signs may already be there.
Unusual mood swingsDrug addiction can cause strange mood shifts. People may go from feeling super happy to extremely depressed or even suicidal. They may also become disinterested in family, friends and work. This is usually due to the substance-induced euphoria. Withdrawal can also make them irritable and restless. That’s why it’s important for those close to the person to be aware and intervene if needed.
Increased anxiety or depressionPeople with addiction may experience guilt and shame due to the effects of their addiction. They can also feel anxious when waiting for a new drug supply. This is often known as anticipatory anxiety. Depressed individuals might use drugs as self-medication and make their depression worse. Furthermore, people with addiction have a greater risk of developing psychiatric symptoms like strong cravings and compulsive behaviors related to using drugs, paranoia, restlessness, agitation, hallucinations, delusions, and impaired judgement.
Loss of interest in activitiesLoss of interest in activities is a sign of drug addiction. It can be hard to identify it, since it looks like an expected reaction to substance abuse. But it can show someone is dependent on drugs and is no longer enjoying activities they used to. People may be less interested in hobbies, relationships, or tasks like talking about school or work. They could like to be alone instead of spending time with family and friends. This change in behavior can be seen as withdrawal from drugs. They can have lower self-esteem due to not enjoying activities. This leads them to addiction as they look for drugs or alcohol to replace their interests and social situations. Sobers should remember that this loss of interest will go away after not using drugs for a while. Therapies and lifestyle changes help people suffering from addiction join activities again and make better decisions.
Behavioral SignsDrug addiction can show up differently. Behavioral signs are a common way. Changes in behavior, attitude, appearance, and socialization, can all be signs of addiction. This part talks about the usual behavioral signs to look out for:
- Changes in sleeping patterns.
- Loss of interest in activities and hobbies.
- Sudden changes in mood.
- Lack of motivation.
- Isolation from family and friends.
- Financial problems.
- Neglect of personal hygiene.
- Decline in performance at school or work.
Isolation from family and friendsIsolation is a frequent sign of drug addiction. It’s when an individual pushes away from people and becomes more solitary. Drug addiction causes people to prioritize substances over relationships, work, and hobbies. People with addiction may also distance themselves further by moving or avoiding contact with family. Additionally, individuals with addiction may not admit their behavior. They may become defensive when asked about their habits. They may also associate with people who use the same drugs. They may act aggressively when confronted, due to guilt or withdrawal symptoms, like shaking and sweating. Personality traits can also change. Confidence can become arrogance. Mood swings can get more extreme. It’s important for family and friends to watch for any changes in behavior that could signify drug abuse:
- Avoiding contact with family and friends
- Defensiveness when asked about habits
- Associating with people who use the same drugs
- Aggressive behavior when confronted
- Changes in personality traits
Neglecting responsibilitiesDrug addiction can lead to a neglect of responsibilities such as not attending classes or work, missing appointments, not completing tasks and more. Other signs of neglect include:
- Failing to finish projects.
- Not showing up for work without excuse.
- Not studying or paying bills on time.
- Making excuses or blaming others.
- Being unorganized and not keeping up with hygiene.
Risky behaviorPeople with substance use disorders can act in risky ways related to their drug use. This includes: driving while high, criminal activities, or having unsafe sex. They know the consequences, yet still do it. Also, drug addiction can cause emotional problems that lead to bad decisions. This can result in:
- conflictive relationships
- job loss
- legal issues
Social SignsDrug addiction often has social signs before physical symptoms. These include changes in relationships, missing social events, and being alone more. Also, there could be changes in behavior, such as being irritable, violent, or secretive. These can all point to a bigger issue. Let’s explore all the social signs of drug addiction:
Changes in social circlesDrug addiction can be seen in changes to social circles. People with drug dependencies may avoid friends, family and colleagues in favour of those who use drugs. Conversation, communication and activity levels may also be affected. Drug users can seek new friends who accept their behaviour and values. This can further encourage drug use and lead them into a less desirable lifestyle. People with addiction may ignore relationships that were once significant and isolate themselves from current ones. This can lead to a decrease in meaningful relationships and traditional family networks becoming disconnected from the person. Family and colleagues should look out for signs such as declining invitations, unsociable behaviours and unwillingness to participate in events. If these signs are noticed, professional help can be sought as soon as possible.
Financial problemsFinancial struggles are often an indication of drug addiction. An addict might spend money on drugs first, leaving them without funds. Taking out loans or borrowing money from family and friends for drugs is another sign. Stealing to pay for the substance can cause legal issues and financial issues for years. Addiction can also lead to job performance decline, causing difficulty in paying bills and affording the addiction. In a worst case scenario, an addict can end up homeless due to a lack of money and being unable to keep a job.
Relationship difficultiesThe effects of drug addiction can be big and reach far. People with substance use problems may find it hard to stay on track at home, school, or work. This can put stress on marriages, friendship, parenting, and other social relationships. Drug abuse not only affects the addict, but also their family. Signs that your loved one is having trouble with an addiction:
- Unable to socialize like usual in family or social settings
- Loses interest in things they used to enjoy
- Looks different
- Does not show up to work or school without an explanation
- Doesn’t want to talk about drugs with friends or family
- Does illegal things like stealing from stores or taking money
- Gets angry when asked about drug use
- Changes in mood or personality
Signs of WithdrawalDrug addiction is a huge issue. To spot it, watch out for withdrawal signs. These are physical and mental reactions which occur when a person stops using a certain substance. Many addictions cause extreme psychological and physical reactions when the drug is stopped. This article will cover the main signs of withdrawal:
Nausea and vomitingNausea and vomiting are common in early stages of withdrawal. This barfing is usually caused by a buildup of alcohol or drugs in the body. During withdrawal, these chemicals or their by-products disturb the digestive system. This can lead to stomach pain, cramping, diarrhea and nausea. These conditions make it hard to take in proper nutrition. Those in medically supervised detox programs might suffer from dehydration and malnutrition. This can make the healing process more complicated with this symptom.
Restlessness and agitationRestlessness and agitation are common during drug withdrawal. This happens when the body lacks drugs it has become used to. It can cause unease, tension, and irritability. People withdrawing from opioids, cocaine, or methamphetamines may be anxious, think quickly, have panic attacks, and struggle to focus. Physically, they may have aches and pains that come and go. This restlessness and agitation can increase the risk of relapse. It is important to get help to manage withdrawal symptoms. Treatment centers have qualified staff to help ease restlessness during withdrawal.
Sweating and tremorsIndividuals addicted to drugs may experience physical and emotional withdrawal symptoms during detox. The severity of these signs depends on the drug, frequency and duration of use, age and health. Common physical symptoms include:
- Excessive sweating
- Muscle aches
Frequently Asked Questions
Common signs of drug addiction include changes in behavior, mood swings, isolation, lack of motivation, neglecting responsibilities, and lying or being secretive about drug use.
Physical symptoms can vary depending on the drug, but common symptoms include weight loss, dilated or constricted pupils, red or glazed eyes, frequent nosebleeds, tremors, and slurred speech.
Yes, drug addiction can cause or worsen mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, and paranoia. Long-term drug use can also lead to damage to the brain and cognitive function.
Family and friends can offer emotional support, encourage seeking professional help, and help the individual find a treatment program. It is also important to set boundaries and not enable the addiction.
Yes, drug addiction is treatable. Treatment often involves a combination of therapies, support groups, and medication-assisted treatment. It is important to seek professional help for the best chances of recovery.
Yes, physical symptoms are not always present in drug addiction. Behavioral changes, social isolation, and neglecting responsibilities are also common signs of drug addiction.
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