The Signs & Symptoms of Drug Abuse

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Drug abusers continue using despite drug-related life disturbances.
Drug abusers continue using despite drug-related life disturbances.

According to New York University Langone Medical Center website, if you misuse drugs for a minimum of 12 months despite drug-related job, legal, family or health difficulties, you meet the criteria for a drug abuse diagnosis. You are classified as drug-dependent when you have, perhaps repeatedly, tried to stop using drugs, yet long-term, compulsive abuse continues. The symptoms include physical and behavioral cues.

  1. Physical Signs

    • Various drugs produce different physical signs and symptoms, according to the Mayo Clinic website. For instance, signs of marijuana use and dependence include bad memory, red eyes, elevated blood pressure, slowed reaction time, increased appetite and trouble concentrating. Decreased appetite, rapid speech, irritability, insomnia, weight loss and depression as the drug wears off are some of the symptoms of use and abuse of methamphetamine, cocaine and other stimulants. LSD use can trigger rapid heart rate, tremors and high blood pressure. Users and abusers of narcotics often experience constipation, slowed breathing, a reduced sense of pain and needle marks, if shooting drugs.

    Behavioral Signs

    • Denial commonly accompanies a drug problem, according to the Langone Medical Center website. Drug abusers continue to use despite drug-related arrests, such as impaired driving and relationship problems. If you feel like you need to use a drug regularly, potentially multiple times a day, the Mayo Clinic website identifies this as a problem. Mayo Clinic experts note that if you take part in unusual behavior, including stealing, in order to obtain drugs, a problem might be present. Other behavioral signals include spending money on drugs even though you cannot afford to, ensuring you always have an ample supply of drugs on hand, and feeling as if you need drugs to cope with problems.

    Drugs and Teens

    • The American Council for Drug Education advises that physical and behavioral signs in minors are not necessarily indicative of a drug problem. While changes in behavior are cues that your adolescent might be using drugs, they can also be the products of stress, depression and other emotional or physical problems.

      Physically, drug-using-or-abusing young people might exhibit changes in appetite, odd sleep patterns, red and watery eyes, smaller or larger than normal pupils, cold and sweaty palms, extreme hyperactivity, excessive talkativeness, runny nose, a hacking cough, nausea, vomiting, tremors and irregular heartbeat.

      From a behavioral standpoint, youngsters often start hanging out with new and different friends. Other signs include poor academic performance, tardiness or increased absences from school, loss of interest in family and family happenings, moodiness, paranoia, chronic dishonesty, unexplained need for money and a change in grooming habits.

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