Drug abuse can hit any person at any time. From the innocent painkiller prescription to the "I'll try just one time," a person can become easily addicted to narcotics. Some people may be able to function until they have gone too far down their addictive paths, while some spiral quickly. Warning signs can manifest in physical, behavioural, or psychological ways. Look out for warning signs to see if your loved one may need treatment.
Dramatic changes to a person's physical appearance are not the only indicator of drug abuse but they may be an early sign. Drug withdrawal can cause severe weight loss, or weight gain can indicate the use of substances or alcohol in extreme amounts. Bloodshot eyes, which could show a lack of sleep or a runny nose due to drugs may be other signals to watch for when considering drug abuse.
Personal grooming habits
When the person starts to not care about their appearance, it may be an indicator that something is amiss. Lack of personal hygiene and care can be a result of drug abuse. Weird odours on breath, body, and clothes may be a factor of using drugs. The overall appearance deteriorating is alone not a warning sign, but it can be a cause for concern.
Speech, coordination, and cognitive concerns
Slurred speech can definitely be a cause for concern when it comes to drug use. The user may not even know they are speaking in such a manner under the influence. A lack of coordination under the influence has caught may impaired drivers. It is difficult to control their body if they are under the influence. Cognitive abilities diminish while a person is abusing drugs, and this lack of cognition is apparent when carrying on a conversation with them.
Relationship and friendship troubles
When a person uses drugs, the person tends to hang around those who use or they will have to keep the newfound relationships a secret. Sudden changes in friends or secretive behaviours may be an indicator of substance issues. The secretive behaviors may cause the user's partner to become suspicious, creating difficulties in the relationship.
Legal, financial, and other consequences of use
Driving while under the influence can cause a host of legal and financial difficulties. Substance users exhibit aggressive behaviour which can cause the users to be embroiled in violent situations that cause legal problems. Money becomes a major issue. Users may get caught stealing money or ask to borrow money frequently. If the user happens to have children, social services may get involved because they have been neglected. Jobs may be lost due to the neglect of duties. Drug addictions become a pervasive problem in every aspect of a person's life.
Behaviours that led to addiction
Drug use and drug addiction may not always be the same thing. A person can have behavioural warning signs that they are transitioning into addiction. Drug tolerance, especially with illegal or non-prescribed narcotics, can cause the user to spiral into other dangerous behaviours. Users are unable to quit despite the increasing negative legal and financial consequences. The activities and hobbies they once enjoyed are now abandoned for using the drug.
The need for more
With increased tolerance and reckless abandon, users always search for the next high. It seems to preoccupy their time. If they seem distant or like they are always trying to cut off the conversation, then you may have cause for concern. This distraction coupled with other warning signs could lead to a life interrupted.
The Mind Game
The drug alters a person's personality. One sign to look out for is a drastic change from the person they used to be. Fearful, anxious, increased energy, lack of motivation, mood swings, and or irritability are just a few of the changes a user may have before, during, or in between fixes. They do not see how the drug is affecting their minds, but those people who love them do.
Treatment for Drug Addiction
Drug withdrawal is one of the major drawbacks to treatment. A user needs to want to get clean and be monitored under a professional's care while doing so. Their body will be at risk for heart attacks and more, depending on the substances. The withdrawal comes from when a users body have developed a dependence on the drug and now requires it to be in homeostasis, which is a normal level of functioning.
Treatment centers fully understand how to help the users through this difficult time on the road to recovery. If your loved one exhibits any of these symptoms, have a non-confrontational conversation. Encourage them to seek treatment and show them the consequences of their use.