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How To Identify Drug Addiction?

If your friend, a family member, or you suspect that the once socially experimented drug consumption has now turned to addiction, then it is time to delve deeper and check its symptoms. Sometimes, a person may not realize that the daily mood swings or fatigue, or any other symptoms indicate the onset of the alcohol/drug abuse cycle, which means they consume the substance at the first instance of feeling restless or upset. Once kicked in, this cycle keeps on getting perpetuated, affecting the personal and professional life of an addict.

Often, addiction isn’t identified until an addict begins doing things that cause harm to them and people related to them. Therefore, it is wise to observe the physical and behavioural changes in a person known to take drugs or alcohol. This would help in seeking drug treatment well in time and before the situation goes out of hand. Here are some of the common physical and behavioural signs that someone could be using drugs/alcohol excessively.

Common Physical Symptoms

Often, physical symptoms are the first signs of drug or alcohol abuse. Consult experts at a reputable rehab centre if you notice the following symptoms for more than two weeks. 

      • Lethargy
      • Excessive energy leading to hyperactivity
      • Sleeplessness or drowsiness for most of the day
      • Waking up at odd hours
      • Loss or increase in appetite
      • Bloodshot or watery eyes
      • Extreme talkativeness or going completely silent for long periods
      • Significant weight gain or loss
      • Slurred speech
      • Clenching of jaw
      • Tremors 
      • Lack of coordination and balance while walking or doing any other regular activities
      • Pale skin
      • Hot or cold flashes

Common Behavioral/Psychological Symptoms

It is essential to notice the behavioral and psychological changes as a result of drug or alcohol abuse. Besides, early diagnosis of psychological issues and physical symptoms of addiction help healthcare experts and therapists plan a 360-degree drug treatment program. Here are some of the common addiction-induced mental and behavior-related problems.

      • Personality shifts, which means the addict morph into a completely different person (s).
      • Erratic behavior 
      • Secretiveness, which is often a result of an addict trying to consume drugs slyly
      • Change in the circle of friends. Often, addicts prefer to hang around with people with similar habits.
      • Absence from school, college, office, or noticeable change in time spent at home.
      • Irritability or moodiness
      • Aggression and/or defensiveness at different points of time, especially when told not to consume drugs.
      • Dishonest behavior such as stealing money to buy and consume drugs.
      • Bouts of depression and lack of motivation
      • Paranoia, nervousness, and anxiety
      • Sudden emotional outbursts
      • Preferring to stay alone and lack of interest in social interactions.
      • Disinterest in daily family life or meeting friends
      • Apathy or indifference to what’s happening around
      • Resorting to violence 
      • Lack of interest in sex, inability to experience sexual pleasure without drugs, or visiting sex workers who may also provide drugs to the addict.

These signs and symptoms may increase or decrease depending upon the severity of drug abuse. For example, as the problem of drug abuse grows, lying about having consumed drugs/alcohol might progress to stealing money or pills. The worse the addiction, the more will the addict lose their grip on life concentrate entirely on obtaining their next dose of drugs and maintaining their high.

Drug-Specific Symptoms of Drug Misuse

Signs and symptoms of addiction may also vary based on the type of drug which has been misused. For example, over-consumption of anti-depressants may lead to lack of judgment, tiredness, coordination issues, etc. On the other hand, taking stimulants such as crack, cocaine, meth, etc. results in extremes such as euphoria, talking incessantly, and hyperactivity followed by depression and excessive sleeping. Addiction to some other commonly used drugs may lead to the following symptoms.

  • Marijuana: red and watery eyes, periods of laughter followed by fatigue, lack of motivation
  • Heroin: Physical symptoms, including needle marks, cuts, etc., along with vomiting, sweating, and twitching. It can also result in an erratic sleep schedule and loss of appetite.
  • Hallucinogens: Hallucinogens lead to distortion in the perception of reality, and their effects include seeing images, hearing sounds or feel sensations that seem to be real but aren’t, paranoia, confusion, or aggression. Using Those taking hallucinogens may have dilated pupils.

Differences Between Signs of Addiction and Withdrawal Symptoms

While there may be commonalities between signs of drug misuse and withdrawal symptoms, these are two separate sets of symptoms. As the name suggests, both physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms occur after the addict has stopped taking drugs. Sweating, anxiety, vomiting, goosebumps, insomnia, and muscle pain are commonly seen as withdrawal symptoms. On the other hand, signs, and symptoms of substance abuse affect a person’s mind and body, and make it difficult for them to control the use of a legal or illegal drug or medication.

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