Drug addiction is becoming an increasingly more serious health problem in the United States. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, “Approximately 21.5 million people aged 12 or older in 2014 had a substance use disorder.” Whether it be psychological addictions to drugs like LSD or marijuana, or physical addictions to drugs like heroin and cocaine, the substance dependency is affecting all types of Americans. Substance Use Disorder affects people from all different races, ages, locations, and socioeconomic statuses. Addiction knows no barriers.
However, some people are more prone to drug addiction than others. Someone would be at a higher risk of developing a substance abuse disorder if they had a family history of addiction, mental disorder, traumatic past, or had begun drug use at a young age.
It is certainly possible for people to enjoy using recreational drugs without becoming addicted or encountering any form of negative effects. Still, many people find it difficult to habitually use a substance without it have detrimental effects on their way of life. The symptoms of addiction can leave people feeling depressed, lonely, ashamed of their actions.
Being able to recognize the signs of addiction could not only prevent the development of a drug addiction but it could stop an addiction from getting out of control to a point where a person needs to seek out professional treatment. Being aware of the physical and behavioral signs of addiction can also give a person a better understanding of the life of an addict and thus, how to best support them in their endeavor to recover. Below are the both the physical and the behavioral signs of drug use.
Physical Signs of Drug Use
- Abrupt weight change
- Bloodshot or glazed eyes
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Rapid speech (stimulants)
- Slurred speech (opioids)
- Impaired memory
- Shakes and tremors
Behavioral Signs of Drug Use
- Increased aggression
- Problems at work or school
- Depression or anxiety
- Changes in their social circle
- Engaging in dangerous activity
- Isolating themselves
Drug use is not directly correlated with addiction. However, the habitual use of drugs can lead to tolerance, which leads to dependency, which can then leads to addiction. When a person becomes addicted to anything, their ability to make good judgments, think clearly, and maintain their normal behavior becomes compromised.
A person prioritizing drug use over family, friends, and career is a common sign of drug addiction. They will even put the drug before their own health and livelihood. Their ability to fully comprehend the extent of their drug abuse and how it impacts their life can be clouded, rendering them less likely to both acknowledge their addiction and to seek professional help. The signs of drug addiction are, in some cases, just amplified versions of the signs of drug use.
Signs of Drug Addiction
- Increased tolerance
- Inability to stop using the drug, even if they want to
- Experiencing withdrawals (shakiness, anxiety, sweats, headaches)
- Hyperfocusing on the drug; constantly thinking about it
- Unable to regulate their drug use
- Loss of interest in things that were once enjoyed
- Hiding the drug use
- Engaging in criminal activity
- Change in sleep patterns
- Change in physical appearance (weight loss/gain)
- Suicidal thoughts
There are many different types of drugs so, of course, the signs of drug use for each specific category and for each individual person are going to be different. Someone who is abusing opioids may appear sedated, unable to concentrate, be lethargic, and experience rapid mood swings. People under the influence of a hallucinogen, like psilocybin or PCP, may appear to be in a calm, euphoric state or an anxious, panicky state. Club drugs, like ecstasy, may cause someone to appear flushed, feel dizzy, and clench their teeth.
Being knowledgeable of the signs that someone is on drugs can help prevent the problem from progressing further. In some cases, it could also mean the difference between life and death. When an addiction develops, it’s not typically easy to quit on one’s own. The addiction damages both the body and the psyche and can render an individual incapable of managing their own drug addiction. In this case, seeking out professional help would be the best course of action. The sooner the better, as drug addiction tends to progress fairly rapid.
There’s no need to be ashamed of a drug addiction. It affects people from all walks of life and still, many of them are able to recover and return to a fully functional, drug-free life. If you are noticing the signs of drug addiction in either yourself or a loved one, call Treatment Centers XL for information on our drug addiction treatment programs.