Drug addiction symptoms

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Drug addiction symptoms - early signs

People try drugs for many different reasons. Usually they experiment with drugs because of curiosity, desire to have good time, because their friends do them.  Often  they use drugs as a tool to solve stress situation, to ease a problem, to  get rid of anxiety or depression.

Addicted to drugs people often feel ashamed and try to conceal the problem. If you suspect that your friend or family member might be using the drugs, look for the following warning signs. There are physical, behavioral and psychological drug addiction symptoms.


The common physical signs are:

-Bloodshot eyes, unusually dilated or narrowed pupils;

-Increased or reduced appetite, sudden weigh loss or weight gain;

-Changes in sleep patterns, unexplainable sleep disorders;

-Unusual odor on breath, body, clothing;

-Hand tremor, slurred speech, impaired coordination;

-Negligence in physical appearance.


The common behavioral signs are:

-Poor attendance and performance at work or school;

-Negligence of responsibilities at school, work or home;

-Unexplained financial problems, growing debts;

- Frequent going outs or suspicious long staying alone locked in a room;

-Sudden change in favorite hangouts, loss of old friends and acquisition of the new questionable friends

-Involvement in different kinds of illegal activities: frequent fights, accidents, robbery, larceny, disorderly conduct;

-Deterioration of personal grooming habits.


The common psychological  signs are:

-Unexplained negative changes in personality and attitude;

-Frequent mood swings, irritability, aggressiveness; 

-Periods of unusual hyperactivity, agitation mixed with following periods of apathy, sleepiness, lethargy, dizziness

-Lack of motivation, loss of interest in work, study

-Appears fears, anxiousness,  paranoia or depression with no reason

If you recognize your relative, friend or the one you love in mentioned above signs/symptoms, consider talking to doctor about possible drug abuse.


Specific symptoms of drug addiction

Though the symptoms of drug addiction are pretty similar, some Commonly Abused Drugs have specific symptoms.

Heroin: narrowed to maximum pupils with no reaction to light;  marks on the skin from intravenous injections;  unusual sleepiness during a day;  loss of appetite and weight, the symptoms very much resembling flu in case of withdrawal from opioids such as sweating; muscle pain, watery eyes, running nose, sneezing, vomiting,  limb twitching.

Stimulants (amphetamines (including Crystal Meth), Cocaine (including Crack Cocaine), MDMA (ecstasy)  : euphoria, dilated pupils, dry mouth,  increased heart rate, sweating, fever,  hyperactivity; talkativeness, excessive irritability, anxiety,  paranoia, panic attacks,  long periods of time without eating and sleep with following after the increased appetite and deep sleep for the next few days.

Marijuana: glassy  red eyes; loud talking, inappropriate laughter and jokes, preposterous thoughts, drunk-like behavior.

Depressants (including bensodiazepines, GHB, hypnotics): contracted pupils, slurred speech, drowsiness, sleepiness, impaired concentration, clumsiness, confusion.

Hallucinogens (LSD, PCP): dilated pupils, detachment from people around, hallucinations, poor judgment, odd behavior including paranoia and panic attacks, fear, aggressiveness.


How to help a drug user

Discovering your loved one is using the drugs is very painful.  It makes you confused, anger. You are upset,  disrupted, scared. It’s important to control your emotions, behavior, to remain calm when confronting your relative or friend. You have to discuss the problem only when everyone is sober.  Try to express your worries  and make it clear that your concerns come from a place of love. Your loved one must feel your support. You must encourage him/her to pass treatment.

What you don't have to do is:

-To  make excuses for the drug use,  to cover up the problem, to pretend that nothing really happened or underestimate the seriousness of the situation;

-To attempt to punish, threaten, bribe or moralize a drug user. Try to speak to him/her rationally. Emotional appeals may only increase feelings of guilt and strengthen desire to use drugs.

-To take over the drug user's responsibilities for addiction. Usually it leaves an addict with no sense of importance or self-respect. People have to carry their own responsibility for their actions.

-To blame yourself, make yourself  feel guilty or responsible for another person's  behavior.

-To use the drugs with a drug user. Sharing the drugs doesn't make you closer to an addict.  By this way you run the risk to develop your own addiction.

What you have to do is to seek for a qualified medical help. The sooner you do that the better the result of treatment, the higher chances for successful recovery.

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