Different drugs affect the body increased, but the signs of addiction are the same regardless of drug type. As drugs gain more control over the body and mind, and as they exert more control over an individual’s life, the journey which begins as substance abuse transforms into drug addiction.
To determine if there is a drug problem, look for the symptoms and signs, both physical signs and behavioral signs. Look for the following signs and symptoms, and if you find several, the chances that there is an actual substance abuse problem increased with every yes answer.
Behavioral signs and symptoms
These will usually be the first alerts when drugs are present. It might take a long time for the physical changes to manifest themselves, but changes in attitude and behavior can occur overnight.
Changes in sleep habits
This does not mean a small change in sleeping hours or falling asleep on the couch for a change. These changes can be severe. No sleep for a couple of days, a late early riser sleeping till 3 PM regularly, or someone who was always a light sleeper now being nearly impossible to awaken.
Altered eating habits with resultant weight changes
Many drugs, when abused, reduce the user’s appetite so completely that they will begin to waste away right before your eyes. The brain is getting a false signal, constantly saying, “You are full, stop eating!” This leads to many very unhealthy conditions which can continue to intensify the drug problems.
Other drugs, in some individuals, might cause overeating. There can also be alterations in metabolism because of drug use, which might cause changes in eating habits and weight in some users.
Drug abuse affects the emotional stability of the abuser and can have severe, even disastrous effects on the addict’s feelings and sense of well-being. Too often, these mood changes are not attributed to the drug abuse, leading some users into a tail-spin of introversion and even depression.
Physical signs and symptoms
Physical symptoms are reliable indicators of an ongoing drug problem. While not infallible, these are clues that something is wrong.
Redness around the nose or in the eyes
Soreness or redness in the nasal area is a common sign of abuse of several drugs. Meth, cocaine and prescription drugs are often “snorted” into the nose to be absorbed into the nasal and sinus tissues.
Marks like small sores on arms or other places where needles have punctured the skin, usually over veins are obvious flags of drug abuse. Because this is so easily spotted, addicts often find more obscure places on their bodies to shoot drugs into a vein and long pants in all weather conditions to hide the evidence of their drug use.
Pupils dilated or constricted
This might seem harder to spot, but when the pupils are so wide that they nearly cover the whole eyeball, or when they are simple pin-points, it is very obvious.