How to tell if someone is addicted to or using alcohol and/or drugs.

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Many people fall prey to drug addiction when they experiment with drugs in social settings.

Although any substance can be misused, there are certain drugs that carry more risk of addiction and dependency than others. You should identify any instances of substance abuse as soon as possible so that intervention can be taken before addiction becomes a problem.

It’s clear that drug abuse and substance use are common in the United States. According to NIDA’s National Survey of Drug Use and Health 2013, 65.7 percent of Americans aged 12 and over used alcohol in the previous year. 13.5 percent had used marijuana or hashish and 17.8 percent claimed they used illicit drugs. 81% of respondents reported that they had drank alcohol in their lives, 44% said they had smoked hashish or marijuana, and 48% claimed to have used illegal drugs. It is more difficult to quit using a substance if you aren’t feeling the withdrawal symptoms or cravings.

Recognizing signs of drug abuse is crucial.

Both common signs of drug abuse can be found in all substances, as well as those specific to each substance. These signs are a good indicator that a loved one is using drugs. They may also be at risk of serious consequences for their health, education, and family.

Signs and Symptoms of Drug Addiction

There are several signs that indicate someone is abusing drugs. These are:

  • Disinterest in school-related activities and difficulties at school can lead to declining grades.
  • Poor performance at work, chronically late to work and appearing tired and disinterested with work duties are all signs of poor work performance.
  • Modifications in appearance such as inappropriate or dirty clothes and a lack interest in grooming
  • Alternate behavior such as a greater desire for privacy
  • Relationships are experiencing dramatic changes
  • You feel tired and drained when you do your daily activities.
  • Spending more than usual, or asking for money to borrow
  • Financial management issues, such as late payments of bills
  • Appetite changes, including a decrease in appetite and weight loss.
  • Poor skin tone and bloodshot eyes can make you look tired when asked about substance use
  • defensiveness

Crescent Moon Recovery can help if you or your loved ones are suffering from addiction.

How to spot drug use in adolescents

Although moodiness is a normal part of adolescence, and teen years, it can also be a sign that someone is using drugs. This age group generally experiences more severe mood changes or behavior changes than those in their 20s. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, signs of drug abuse in adolescents include being withdrawn, tired and depressed or hostile.

Parents should be aware of when their child begins to associate with other peers. This could indicate that the child is using drugs. A child who is using drugs may also miss school, drop out, or have a change in their sleeping or eating habits. Parents may also be able to listen to their children using certain terms for drugs of abuse.

If drug use is suspected, prompt intervention is vital. Guidance counselors, primary physicians, and providers of drug abuse treatment can be accessed by parents.

Signs of Alcohol Addiction

The most commonly abused substance in the US is alcohol. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism estimates that 17 million Americans aged 18 or older suffered from alcohol abuse disorder in the United States in 2012.

There are many signs and symptoms that can accompany alcoholism and alcohol abuse. Functional alcoholics may be able for a while to conceal or minimize signs, but it becomes increasingly difficult to hide the problem.

According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCAAD), alcohol abuse can lead to memory loss and blackouts. One may experience flushing and broken capillaries in their face. The hands and voice can tremble in severe alcohol abuse disorder. Chronic diarrhea or vomiting can result from long-term alcohol abuse.

Individuals suffering from an alcohol abuse disorder will experience withdrawal symptoms such as headaches and nausea. There are serious withdrawal complications that could occur, such as delirium tremens or DTs. This condition can cause hallucinations and even life-threatening seizures. Addicts to alcohol should not attempt to quit drinking by themselves; professional detox is necessary.

The following are other signs that indicate alcohol addiction:

  • Control over how much and how long one drinks is not possible.
  • Prefer to drink alone, in private, or at odd times such as mornings
  • Continue to drink despite any psychological, interpersonal, or physical problems.
  • Depression, irritability and mood swings are all signs of depression. There is also a tendency to argue with family and friends.
  • To relax, to get sleep, to manage stress, or to improve your mood

Signs of abuse related to specific drugs

There are specific signs that indicate abuse associated with certain drugs, in addition to signs of general drug use. This information will help you spot signs of abuse in your friend, family member, or colleague.

  • Marijuana/Cannabis

Euphoria can be induced by marijuana and other cannabis-based products such as edibles. You may experience heightened visual and auditory perceptions. However, you might also feel disorganized and forgetful. The effects of cannabis can cause a person to eat more than usual due to their appetite. The user’s reaction time may be slower and they may become more paranoid or suspicious. People who smoke marijuana frequently have bloodshot eyes, droopy lids, and a relaxed or mellow disposition.

  • Stimulants

People on stimulants may show frequent behavioral changes, aggression, rapid or rambling speech, and can even display aggressive behavior. You may notice dilated pupils and increased energy. Some users might become paranoid and hostile. Nasal congestion can be a sign that users have smoked the drug. The mucous membrane in the nose can be damaged by snorting drugs such as cocaine.

  • Barbiturates, Benzodiazepines

These CNS depressants can be prescribed to treat anxiety or sleep disorders. Benzodiazepines also include the more common medications Valium and Xanax. Although barbiturates are less commonly used, they still have a place in surgery and are sometimes used to treat seizure disorders. Overdose with barbiturates is more common than that of benzodiazepines. Abusing these drugs can cause a person to appear depressed, uninhibited, and dizzy. These people may have blurry vision, balance problems, or general confusion. They might also experience involuntary eye movements (nystagmus), which is also known as blurry vision.

  • Hallucinogens

The symptoms of hallucinogen abuse vary depending on which hallucinogen is being used. LSD can cause people to become impulsive and have hallucinations. Some people may be able to see colors and hear sounds. In some cases, they may also experience tremors. People who have used PCP may not feel pain or be sensitive to loud noises. People who have used psilocybin (or “magic mushrooms”) may experience nausea, hallucinations, and muscle twitching. They may also experience difficulty distinguishing between reality and hallucinations. People who are on hallucinogens can appear sleepy, anxious, or at peace depending on what type of “trip” they’re having.

  • Opioids

Opioids can include prescription painkillers like Vicodin or OxyContin as well as the illegal drug heroin. Opioids can cause general sedation, memory problems, impaired concentration, slow reaction times, mood swings, and overall sedation. Opioids can cause constipation and other problems in the digestive tract. Users who aren’t taking opioids may feel anxious or have flu-like symptoms.

  • Club drugs

Common club drugs include ketamine, ecstasy and GHB. You may experience increased body temperature, dizziness and excessive sweating.

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The importance of early intervention & treatment

Early intervention is crucial if someone suspects that they are using drugs. Family members and friends may decide to organize an intervention if they suspect someone is using drugs. A professional interventionist can help with the planning and execution of the event.

Comprehensive addiction treatment programs should be looked into by loved ones. The treatment should include both medical detox as well as therapy to address the underlying causes of substance abuse.

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