Drug addiction in the United States has become an epidemic. Although many individuals start out using drugs socially or experimentally, it often leads to addiction. When an individual is addicted to drugs, he or she will develop a tolerance for the drug, which means more will be needed to get high. In time, an individual may need to take the drug just to function or feel well. When a person attempts to stop taking the drug, it will cause withdrawal symptoms, which can make him or her feel sick. Furthermore, withdrawal symptoms from some drugs are potentially dangerous and life-threatening if one does not seek medical help.  Below is more information about drug addiction symptoms that everyone should know.

What is a Drug Addiction?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, drug addiction is a chronic disease of the brain, which leads to compulsive drug seeking and use. Individuals with a drug addiction will continue to use the drug although they understand the impact it has on their bodies.

Common Drug Addiction Symptoms to Look For

When an individual is addicted to drugs, he or she could show a wide range of drug addiction symptoms, which include:

  • Intense cravings for the drug
  • Buying the pills when you can’t afford it
  • Ensuring there is always a supply available
  • Participating in criminal behavior, such as stealing, to get the money to buy the drug
  • Developing tolerance for the drug
  • Feeling that you are not able to perform routine activities without the drug
  • Failing to meet work and social obligations
  • Ignoring friends and family members
  • Going through withdrawal symptoms when you don’t take the drug

How to Tell if a Family Member is Abusing Drugs

Although it can be hard to tell the difference between moody behavior or signs of drug use, some indicators can help you determine if your child or another family member is abusing drugs. Some of these addiction symptoms include:

  • Missing school or work regularly
  • Lost interest in school, social, or work activities
  • Lost interest in appearance, which provides for hygiene, clothing, or grooming
  • Physical problems, which include low energy and no motivation
  • Behavior changes such as reclusive behavior or relationship changes
  • The sudden need for money (and not being able to explain what it is needed for)

How to Recognize Signs of Drug Use

drug addiction symptoms
Do you know the drug addiction symptoms?

Depending on the drug, the signs and symptoms of drug use will vary.  Also, each person has a different reaction to certain substances.  But there are some symptoms are common among substance abusers.

Here are examples of how an individual will act when he or she is on a specific drug.

Marijuana, Hashish, and Other Substances That Contain Cannabis

Individuals can use cannabis by smoking, eating, or inhaling the drug through a vaporizer. Cannabis is often abused with other substances and is usually a gateway drug.

Typical signs and symptoms of cannabis use may be:

  • A euphoric feeling
  • A heightened sense of vision, hearing, and taste
  • A rise in pulse and blood pressure
  • Blood-shot, red eyes
  • Cottonmouth (dry mouth)
  • Problems with coordination
  • Problems concentrating
  • Problems with memory
  • An increase in appetite
  • Delayed reaction time
  • Paranoia

Long-term cannabis use can lead to:

  • Problems performing at work
  • Poor mental capabilities
  • Use of synthetic cannabis
  • Loss of friends

There are two types of synthetic drugs, which are synthetic cannabinoids and substituted cathinones. Both of these are illegal in most states, and the effects can be extremely dangerous, which is because they are not regulated when they are being manufactured.

Synthetic cannabinoids are sometimes called “Spice” or “K2.” These synthetic drugs are spread on herbs and usually smoked. However, they can also be used in herbal teas. Although manufacturers claim they are harmless, they contain chemicals that can make them dangerous. They have become popular because they can mimic the high that is seen with marijuana.

Common signs and symptoms of synthetic cannabis use may include:

  • A feeling of euphoria
  • A relaxed attitude
  • Agitation
  • A sense of paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Raised pulse and blood pressure
  • Vomiting
  • Anxiety

Substituted cathiones can be known as bath salts. These are psychoactive drugs that are similar to other synthetic drugs such as Ecstasy. Bath salts can be inhaled, eaten, or injected, and they are incredibly addictive.

Typical signs and symptoms of substituted cathione use include:

  • A euphoric feeling
  • An increased sex drive
  • Panic attacks
  • Hallucinations
  • Violent behavior
  • Panic attacks
  • Elevated heart rate and blood pressure
  • Increased energy

Barbiturates and Benzodiazepines

Barbiturates and benzodiazepines are prescription drugs that are used as central nervous system depressants. Usually, these drugs are abused by those who seek a relaxed state or want to relieve stress.

Some barbiturates include are phenobarbital, amobarbital, and secobarbital. Popular benzodiazepines are diazepam, lorazepam, clonazepam, and alprazolam.

Common signs and symptoms of short-term use may include:

  • Slurred speech
  • Poor coordination
  • Euphoria
  • Problems with memory
  • Involuntary eye twitches
  • Poor concentration
  • Depression
  • Dizziness

Meth, Cocaine and Other Common Stimulants

Some common stimulants include amphetamines, meth, and cocaine. These drugs are usually used to increase energy. However, they can also be used to reduce appetite.

Common signs and symptoms of recent stimulant use may include:

  • Alertness
  • Insomnia
  • Dilated pupils
  • Aggression
  • Lack of good judgment
  • Hallucinations
  • Rapid talking
  • Nasal damage

Club or Rave Drugs

Most club drugs are used at nightclubs and rave parties. Some commonly used club drugs are Ecstasy, GHB (the date rape drug), and Rohypnol (also used as a date rape drug). Although these drugs are in different categories, they share common dangers.

Typical signs and drug addiction symptoms of club drugs may be:

  • Paranoia
  • Muscle cramps
  • Problems with memory
  • Changes in behavior
  • An unconscious state
  • Rapid pulse
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Shaking or tremors
  • Chills
  • Sweating

Hallucinogens

Depending on the hallucinogen, there can be various signs and symptoms of use. The most commonly abused stimulants include LSD and PCP.

Symptoms of LSD use may include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Impulsive actions
  • Mood swings
  • Shaking
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Rapid pulse
  • Flashbacks

Common symptoms of PCP may consist of:

  • Impaired speaking
  • Poor judgment
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Hallucinations
  • Aggression

Inhalants

There are many types of inhalants so that symptoms will vary based on the drug. Glue, paint thinners, gasoline, and aerosol products are a few inhalants that are commonly abused. When an individual abuses inhalants, he or she is at an increased risk of developing brain damage.

Some common signs and symptoms of inhalant abuse may include:

  • Dizziness
  • Eye twitching
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Shaking
  • Euphoria
  • Rash on the nose and mouth

Narcotic Painkillers

Narcotic painkillers are made from opium, or they are manufactured synthetically. Some of these drugs include heroin, codeine, morphine, and methadone. When an individual has been addicted to any of these drugs for an extended period, he or she may need a drug substitution to stop taking the drug safely.

Some common signs and symptoms of narcotic painkillers may be:

  • Euphoria
  • A high tolerance for pain
  • Impaired speech
  • Attention problems
  • Memory problems
  • A confused state
  • Sweating
  • Scars from needle injections
  • Depression

When to Seek Help from a Doctor

If you have a child or family member who is abusing drugs, then it is imperative to seek help. When an individual seeks treatment early, he or she has a better chance of long-term recovery. You can ask your primary physician to refer your family member to a mental health provider who specializes in addiction. You may also seek help from a drug counselor.

You may want to see a doctor under these circumstances:

  • You experience withdraw symptoms
  • You are not able to quit using the drug
  • You are participating in risky behavior

For some, seeking help from a doctor may be too embarrassing and cause shame. However, it is important to remember that seeking help is a courageous act that demonstrates a great deal of bravery. There are other ways to seek help, which include a treatment hotline or substance abuse hotline, which will keep your information confidential.

It is vital to your health to seek emergency care under the following conditions:

  • Possible overdose
  • Problems breathing
  • Seizures
  • Convulsions
  • Chest pain

How to Prepare for an Intervention

When those you love are struggling with an addiction, they may not want to seek help or treatment. When you plan an intervention, it is important to remember to keep a positive attitude, which can help motivate your loved one to seek treatment.

It is important to plan an intervention carefully with family and friends there for support. You may also want a doctor or drug counselor there as well. Have an open mind and be sure to let the individual with the addiction know you love them and want them to accept treatment.  If you have more questions about drug abuse symptoms, call our toll-free number today.

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