Warning Signs of Drug Abuse and Addiction

Someone you care about suffering from drug abuse and addiction is a difficult situation. You are naturally concerned for the person’s well-being, but you want to be sure that you are right about it before taking action. Sufferers of addiction often try to hide it, so here are some signs and symptoms to look for to determine if your suspicions may be correct.

Physical symptoms

Some signs are physical in nature. While there can be other reasons for these symptoms, they may be an indication that addiction is at the root.

Differing appearance

People who are suffering from drug abuse often stop taking care of their appearance. They may no longer pay attention to their personal grooming, so dirty clothing, mismatched apparel, messy hair, unusual smells  and a generally disheveled look can all be indications.

Changes in weight

Weight loss or gain that is sudden can be indicative as well. Along with this, you may notice that the persona’s appetite has changed.

Other physical signs

While trying to judge if someone is abnormally disheveled can be difficult, signs such as bloodshot eyes, change in pupil size, tremors, slurred speech and loss of coordination of movement are easier to observe.

Emotional/behavioral signs

These can be more complicated to determine as they are so subjective. Again, while noticing more than one of these can be a clue that something is amiss, it may not necessarily be drug abuse.

Mood swings

Everyone can get moody on occasion, but when it happens often and suddenly, it is cause for concern. The person may get irritable or angry to the point of erupting.

Personality changes

A person’s personality should not undergo drastic changes for no reason. If your friend or family member is not acting like themselves and have not told you about something new in their lives to account for it, addiction may be the reason.

Attitude alterations

Showing an unusual level of anxiety or paranoia can be a sign, as can being unmotivated and unenthused about life in general. Again, these are relative to the person's normal state.

Unusual behavior

A key indication of addiction is a person suddenly becoming more secretive and not wanting to explain themselves, even when you ask a simple, uncharged question. Other things to look out for are changes in the people and places the individual spends time around. Issues involving money are also clues, such as constantly asking to borrow money or money or valuables going missing when they are around. They may also no longer perform at the same level at school or on the job and may have bouts of hyperactivity or agitation.

Conclusion

When you see people you care about acting unusual or not like themselves, it is natural to be concerned. At the same time, you respect their independence and know that there can be many reasons for physical, emotional and behavioral changes. There is also a stigma around drug abuse and addiction that can make people uncomfortable with even contemplating that it could be the cause of the problem. Do you need some help figuring out if you should be concerned and what to do about it?

Request an appointment here: https://www.joelnathanmd.com or call Joel Nathan, MD at (212) 410-6832 for an appointment in our New York office.

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