Are you able to recognize the signs of substance abuse? Whether you are attempting to recognize the signs in friends, family, or those nearest to you – or if you would like more for personal reasons, this article aims to give you a better understanding of the most recognizable signs and symptoms of substance misuse. According to the NIH, between 40%-70% of the risk of addiction can be attributed to genetics, but there are also many environmental factors, such as friends or family that use, or living in neighborhoods or school areas with a high drug prevalence.

The team at DeCoach Rehabilitation Centre wants to make information about substance use and substance recovery available to everyone that needs it. This information can help friends and family members better identify problematic behavior in their loved ones – for the purpose of getting them the help that they need.

First, let’s take a look at symptoms and behaviors that are common with substance misuse. If you are struggling with substance use, refer to the following list to see if you can honestly recognize similar behaviors in your own life.

Signs You May Have A Substance Use Disorder:

  • You continue to take a drug, after the health problem it was intended for, has resolved.
  • Your ‘tolerance’ levels require you to take more of a substance before feeling the effects.
  • You notice feelings of withdrawal after periods of not using (feeling shaky, depressed, sick to your stomach, sweat, or have headaches)
  • Urges prevent you from stopping, even as it affects your social, financial, and physical health
  • You have begun to lose interest in your interests/passions
  • You have started to fall behind on daily upkeep (cleaning, cooking, hygiene)
  • Spending money you don’t have to pay for substances.
  • You hide the amount or the fact that you use from your friends and family
  • Your relationship with friends, family, and co-workers has become strained
  • Your sleep schedule changes substantially, along with your appetite and diet
  • You look different. You may have
    • bloodshot eyes
    • bad breath
    • Shakes
    • Tremors
    • bloody noses
    • gained or lost weight.
  • You take prescription medication along with alcohol and/or other substances

Recognizing Substance Abuse in Others

Physical Signs of Substance Abuse

The physical signs of substance misuse are different depending on the substance, however, if you notice any of these physical symptoms in conjunction with changed behavior, your friend, family member, or co-worker may be struggling with substance use. Physical changes may include:

  • Bloodshot, red, or glazed eyes.
  • Overly dilated or constricted pupils
  • Sudden, dramatic weight gain/loss
  • Poor hygiene or self-care
  • Dental issues
  • New skin conditions
  • Abnormal sleep patterns

Behavioral Signs of Substance Abuse

Repeated and persistent substance use can impair a person’s ability to be rational, impulsive, and engage in self-destructive behavior. As substance use continues, it will begin to change the physiology and chemistry of the brain, resulting in ingrained behavior changes. Behavioral changes may include:

  • Increased aggression or irritability
  • Changes in attitude/personality
  • Lethargy
  • Depression
  • Sudden changes in a social network
  • Dramatic changes in habits and/or priorities
  • Involvement in criminal activity

Early Intervention Saves Lives

By recognizing and understanding the signs of substance misuse, you have the opportunity to help your friends, family members, or co-workers – or save yourself – from worsening health and possibly addiction.

Mental Health & Addiction Treatment Services Available in Cincinnati, Fairfield, Hamilton, Xenia, and Fairborn Ohio!

If you or a loved one have questions about medication-assisted treatment or are ready to take the first step in your recovery journey, reach out to the team at DeCoach Rehabilitation Centre for more information.

Call our offices to speak with a member of our team or reach out to us online today!