The Signs and Symptoms of Drug Addiction
People who are drug dependent or who have a substance use disorder may not look like the stereotypical drug addict you see on TV or in movies. Not all addiction looks the same, and it may be difficult to admit that you or a loved one has a problem. Some common signs and symptoms of drug abuse, alcoholism, and addiction include:
- Continuing to use a prescription even after it is no longer needed for a health problem
- Feeling withdrawal symptoms when you try to cut back or quit or being unable to quit on your own
- Having trouble doing normal daily things, beginning to neglect responsibilities in favor of drug use
Early Signs of Drug Addiction
Early signs of addiction in a drug-dependent person may show up after just a few times experimenting with substances including a prescription or an illegal drug. One of the most common early signs that you may require substance use treatment is developing a tolerance to drugs or alcohol. This means you need to take more and more of the drugs or alcohol to achieve the same level of intoxication because the brain and body chemistry is adapting to having these substances in your system.
Physical Signs of Drug Addiction
Common physical symptoms and physical signs of drug addiction include:
- Bloodshot eyes, red eyes, and dilated pupils or constricted pupils
- Slurred speech
- Track marks, sores, and scratches on the skin
- Feeling shaky, sick to your stomach, or depressed when the drugs wear off
- Rotting, broken, or missing teeth
- Extreme lethargy
- Loss of physical coordination
- Weight changes and appetite changes
- Sleep issues
- Poor personal hygiene
Mental and Emotional Signs of Drug Addiction
Common psychological signs and emotional signs of substance abuse are:
- Mood swings
- Lack of motivation, feeling apathetic
- Paranoia, fear, or obsessive thoughts
- Irritability and agitation
- Personality changes
- Mental illnesses like depression or anxiety
- Emotionally withdrawing from loved ones
- Negative self-image and outlook on life
Behavioral Signs of Drug Addiction
Common behavioral signs of drug abuse and drug addictions include:
- Lying or stealing, or borrowing money for drugs
- Hiding drug or alcohol use from others
- Becoming secretive, withdrawing from friends and family, avoiding hobbies and activities you once enjoyed
- Being unable to stop using the drug or alcohol even if you really want to
- Continuing to use the addictive substances even when they cause problems with your loved ones, work problems, financial trouble, and legal issues
- Taking unnecessary risks
- Seeing more than one doctor for prescription drugs
How to Help a Loved One with Addiction
If you believe your loved one is addicted to drugs or may be abusing drugs and alcohol in unhealthy ways, it is important to remember that addiction is not a simple choice, it is a mental illness, and a chronic brain problem. It is not enough to want to quit, because the brain chemistry has changed in an irreversible way. The best method of helping your loved one is:
- Be nonjudgmental, constructive, and non-confrontational, and ensure they know you are there to support them, not to start a fight.
- Understand their situation, their motivation for using substances, and what addiction does to a person. Family therapy or other counseling may be helpful.
- Make sure you come from a place of love, not punishment. This is not about your feelings, it is about helping your loved one.
- Do your research before confronting your loved one about their addiction, and decide what you want to say beforehand, staying on track during the conversation.
- Ensure this important conversation happens at a time when everybody is sober and emotionally neutral.
- Use “I” statements, letting them know what things look like from your point of view with specific examples, instead of being hurtful or using personal attacks.
- Research treatment options and ensure they can get treatment right away if they agree and decide what the consequences will be if they choose not to seek treatment (and stick to it). If you give them a safety net and they continue using substances, this will enable further drug use. Be firm.
Whether you have an addiction to an illicit drug like crystal meth or if you are suffering from an alcohol use disorder, or if you are worried about family and friends or loved ones, contact the Detox Center LA.
Types of addiction we treat include:
- Cocaine addiction
- Heroin addiction
- Alcohol addiction
- Marijuana addiction
- Meth addiction
- Benzodiazepine abuse
- Prescription drugs abuse
- Addiction to other commonly abused drugs
We can help you or your loved one stop using drugs through a combination of medication-assisted treatment for detox, and evidence-based treatments like individual therapy, group therapy, and family therapy.
We offer behavioral health treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy, dual diagnosis treatments for co-occurring mental health disorders, relapse prevention plans, and other recovery resources. The levels of care we have for drug addiction treatment are inpatient detox and rehab, with connections to several outpatient and aftercare partner programs and recovery meetings throughout the country.