It can be difficult to recognize a substance abuse problem in a loved one, even if you live with the person. Substance abusers often hide their behaviors from family members and friends, and if asked, they’re likely to deny they have a problem. However, addiction is a chronic disorder that can cause serious damage to a person’s health, relationships, and career. It’s important for an addicted person to get help in the early stages of the disease before the condition becomes debilitating.
Signs and Symptoms of Substance Abuse
Some of the classic signs of substance abuse involve physical changes. Bloodshot eyes or changes in pupil size may indicate a problem. Frequent nosebleeds might be caused by snorting drugs such as cocaine or methamphetamine.
Other warning signs involve changes in behavior, which may include:
- Performance issues at work or school
- Loss of interest in usual activities
- Unexplained money problems, stealing or borrowing
- Secretive behavior
Substance abuse can cause psychological changes in a person that affect their mood and demeanor. Some of the psychological warning signs of substance abuse include:
- Abrupt mood swings
- Unusual level of hyperactivity
- Lethargy or inability to focus
- Sudden changes in personality
- Unexplained anxiety or fear
If someone you love is exhibiting these signs and symptoms, they may be abusing drugs or alcohol. Getting treatment at a highly recommended drug rehab, such as The Discovery House, as soon as possible can help your loved one change their behaviors before they develop a dependence on the substance.
Warning Signs of Drug Dependence
Drug dependence, or addiction, often develops in response to ongoing substance abuse. All the usual symptoms of substance abuse will be present in a case of drug dependence, but the individual will also exhibit certain telltale signs of addiction:
- Increased tolerance. Over time, an addicted person will need more and more of a substance in order to achieve the usual effects.
- Withdrawal symptoms. When a person is physically dependent on a substance, they will experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when they go without it. Irritability, anxiety, trembling and nausea are a few common symptoms. Using a substance to treat or prevent withdrawal symptoms is a common sign of addiction.
- Loss of control. Addicted individuals use a substance even when they don’t really want to. They may use more of a substance than they had intended, or they may continue to use even though their behavior is causing problems in their life.
Mental Health and Substance Abuse
In many cases, substance abuse and mental health disorders go hand and hand. The symptoms of both conditions are similar, and it can be hard to diagnose either the substance abuse problem or the co-occurring psychiatric disorder. Denial is common in both substance abuse and mental illness, and it can also complicate the diagnosis process. Unfortunately, ignoring the symptoms of these conditions doesn’t make them go away. Recovery is only possible when the individual makes a commitment to seek treatment.
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