Signs and Symptoms of Drug Abuse

Drug addiction can effect anyone, and its onset can be gradual or immediate depending on multiple factors including the individual, the drug, and manner of abuse. When drug abuse is taking place, addiction is an inevitable next step, so being able to recognize the signs of an oncoming addiction can make the difference that saves a life. Although various substances create different effects in users, the disease of addiction is the same, no matter what the substance is.

Signs of Addiction

  • Withdrawal family and friends
  • Justifying greater amounts or a higher frequency of use
  • Hiding use of a substance/lying about use of a substance
  • Change in friends, associates, and activities
  • Problems with the law
  • Significant problems at work
  • Physical decay/bad hygiene
  • Poor decision making – placing oneself in dangerous situations
  • Lack of responsibility and trustworthiness

While addiction signs can be blatantly obvious at first, some can struggle with addiction for multiple years before their problems become evident to themselves or others. Depending on the person and their own history with substance abuse and addiction, it may not been apparent that there is a problem. However, there are certain signs of drug or alcohol abuse that cannot be hidden and are almost always sure signs of abuse and addiction.

Signs of Substance Abuse and Addiction

  • Feeling a need to use in order to be normal
  • Constantly thinking about getting more of the substance
  • Spending more time, energy and money on obtaining more of the substance
  • Engaging in irresponsible and dangerous activities while under the influence
  • Performing dangerous and uncharacteristic acts to get money or resources for the substance

Most addicts will say they never wanted to be the way they are, stealing, prostituting, scamming, and in constant pain over their dependence on a drug. Addicts are powerless over their addiction in every way and when an individual begins to do things they would never do under normal circumstances, far too often, addiction is holding them hostage. Aside from the internal changes a drug user experiences, there are physical signs that are very easy to recognize.  The key to this recognition is knowing the effects of these various drugs on the brain and body, then looking for the outward signs of these effects.