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What Are The Signs Of Substance Abuse?

substance abuse infographic

Substance abuse does not discriminate when it comes to those affected. Addicts come from all levels of society. That is why if you believe that you or someone you know and love may be abusing substances, it is important to recognize common signs to get the needed help.

Understanding Substance Abuse

There is no one reason people use or abuse drugs. Some reasons people turn to drugs include stress, curiosity, peer pressure, depression, enjoyment, and anxiety.

It’s essential to understand that using prescription or illegal drugs does not automatically qualify as abuse. Some may be able to use drugs without any problems while others may experience adverse impacts. Similarly, there is no set timeline where recreational consumption becomes abuse. Abuse begins at the point when you or your loved one’s work, home, school, and relationships are negatively affected.

General Signs Of Drug Abuse

Different drugs will have various signs and symptoms of abuse, as we will discuss later, but there are similar physical, behavioral, and psychological symptoms.

Physical Symptoms Of Substance Abuse

Physical abuse symptoms can become clear at any time, including during use, brought on by an overdose, or while going through withdrawal. Physical signs can include:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Contracted pupils
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Insomnia
  • Hypersomnia
  • Strange odor coming from the body
  • Impaired coordination
  • Disheveled appearance
  • Hindered speech
  • Changes in weight

Behavioral And Psychological Symptoms Of Substance Abuse

It’s often difficult for a drug user to recognize the signs of abuse, especially when it comes to psychological symptoms. Psychological and behavioral signs of abuse can include:

  • Nervousness
  • Decreased focus
  • Apathetic
  • Increased irritability
  • Personality and attitude change
  • Social withdrawal from family and friends
  • Mood swings
  • Paranoia
  • Depression
  • Changes in habits and priorities

Specific Substance Abuse Signs

While no signs of substance abuse are going to be universal, using different types of drugs will lead to particular symptoms. Some of the most popular drugs include:

  • Marijuana

    One of the most common signs of marijuana abuse is a notable delay in their reaction times, which often pairs with an overall increase in suspiciousness. Glossy, red eyes and a lack of coordination are also frequent signs of marijuana abuse.

  • Stimulants

    Abusing stimulants such as cocaine, meth, or Adderall commonly show a pattern of immense euphoria followed by depression or agitation. Other frequent abuse signs include excessively dry mouth and nose, lack of appetite, and peculiar sleeping habits.

  • Barbiturates And Benzodiazepines

    A standard treatment for anxiety or depression, symptoms of barbiturate and benzodiazepine abuse often include a lack of coordination, almost as if they were drunk. Poor judgment, insomnia, and overall confusion are other signs of possible abuse.

  • Hallucinogens

    Signs of abusing hallucinogens depends significantly on the kind of drug taken. For example, someone on LSD may suffer from crossed senses such as seeing sounds while someone on PCP may feel invulnerable to pain. Mood swings and confusion are also common signs.

  • Opioids

    Whether it’s a prescription pain killer such as Vicodin or an illegal substance like heroin, opioid abuse remains a growing crisis and kills over 130 people every day in the United States. Common signs of opioid abuse include lack of concentration, memory loss, and mood swings.

Addiction & Substance Abuse Specialists In Broward County, Florida

At Fifth Street Counseling Center, we realize that substance abuse is not only a physical and mental problem but also a medical one. With over 28 years of experience, our experts can help you or your loved one recognize the signs of substance abuse to find a custom treatment plan that will make life more manageable. Using Vivitrol® injections, coupled with intensive outpatient treatment, we can help! If you have any questions or are ready to take a step towards recovery, call us today at (954) 543-5201.


substance abuse infographic

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