Warning Signs of Drug Abuse

Addictive substances, including alcohol, cigarettes and drugs

Many people don’t recognize the warning signs as they slip from recreational substance abuse to addiction. It can happen so gradually that even those around you don’t notice. Unfortunately, once a drug addiction occurs, it often comes with many negative consequences and can even endanger a person’s life. Recognizing the warning signs of drug abuse is crucial in preventing the addiction early on.

Here are some of the most common warning signs of drug abuse:

Loss of Interest

When drug addiction takes over, it becomes the top priority in an individual’s mind. The person is constantly thinking about the next time they’ll take drugs, how much they’ll take, where they’ll get the drugs from, and more. Due to this new extreme focus, other aspects of the person’s life fade away as irrelevant. Hobbies, passions, and interests the person used to love will no longer interest them. For example, someone who religiously played soccer for years will stop showing up to all practices or games.

A loss of interest can occur with people too. The individual stops spending time with their previous friends or loved ones. Especially if those people get in the way of their drug use.

This is often the first warning sign that people pick up on and notice something is wrong.

Severe Mood Swings

Another common warning sign of drug abuse is severe mood swings. The individual can experience panic or withdrawal symptoms when they’re not using, putting them in a rage. Depending on what type of drug they’re using, they could be extremely relaxed and happy when they’re high. Additionally, excessive drug use can make a person paranoid.

To a friend or family member, these swings between anger, happiness, and paranoia can feel very confusing. If a person starts to experience severe and frequent mood swings, it’s a sign of a problem.

Loss of Control/ Risk-Taking

Addiction often makes people take risks they normally wouldn’t. The person experiences a loss of control as they can only think about their next fix and nothing else. Often, this displays itself as unusual behavior that is high-risk. The individual may:

  • Steal money from work or friends
  • Try to buy drugs off the street from strangers
  • Try to steal drugs from others
  • Ignoring responsibilities, such as at work, school, or home
  • Have unprotected sex
  • Drive under the influence
  • Incur legal issues, such as being arrested
  • Express the want to stop taking drugs but being unable to do so

Often, this warning sign is quite noticeable. The person behaves in a way that they never used to do and constantly seems to put themselves in bad situations.

Physical Appearance

Drug use can take a toll on the body. Over time, a person’s physical appearance will give away their developing addiction. They might:

  • Experience significant weight change, either weight gain or loss
  • Look run-down due to lack of sleep
  • Have injection marks or scabs
  • Have red eyes or dilated eyes
  • Stop putting effort into their appearance – such as showering, brushing their teeth, etc.
  • Have unusual body odors
  • Display new ticks or behaviors, such as constant sniffing or itching

Unusual Sleep Habits

Drug abuse can significantly impact a person’s regular sleeping routine. Individuals with a substance abuse addiction may experience insomnia, sleep too much, or sleep at weird times of the day.

Overall, the most significant warning sign of drug abuse is a sudden and extreme change in a person. A substance abuse addiction can take over and change how a person acts and thinks. Noticing this change early is critical so professional help can be arranged. If you are noticing this change in yourself or that of a loved one reach out to Hickory Treatment Centers for a consultation. The staff is here to help.

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If you have tried to stop using alcohol or drugs on your own, you may feel that sobriety and clean living seem far away. However, with the help of caring staff members and a safe, structured environment, you can receive the guidance you need to fight cravings and regain control of your life.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment with our admission staff or learn more about our healing programs.