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substance abuse problem

Having someone in one’s life who abuses drug and alcohol is a tragic experience for all involved. This is a situation that should not be wished on anyone. Having an addict within the family instills a great amount of risk and worry and hardship for all within the family, both addict and non-addicts alike.

If you think that one of your family members or close loved ones is addicted to drugs and alcohol then you will want to make absolutely certain if this is indeed the case or not. You will want to discover the truth of this as soon as possible so that corrective action can be taken in an effort to address the addiction problem. The National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine cites family intervention as being, “The most likely intervention technique for convincing an addict to go to rehab,” so it is important to look for these signs in your loved one and address them if they are present.

Signs of Substance Abuse

When parents and family members think that one of their loved ones are addicted but they are not certain, the first question that comes to mind is, “What are the signs and symptoms of substance abuse?” Some people are able to hide their substance abuse habits better than others, but no matter how a person approaches their efforts to hide their habit, there will still be signs.

One must keep in mind too their own personal intuition in their suspicions. If you strongly presume that your loved one is addicted to drugs and alcohol or is engaging in some kind of substance abuse then there is a good chance that you are right. With that being said though, it is still of the utmost importance to learn more about the signs and symptoms of substance abuse and to glean a better understanding of what exactly to look for.

People who abuse drugs and alcohol often try to hide their habits and just sweep everything under a rug instead. According to the Help Guide, an online resource for helping people to understand and address mental health, the signs of substance abuse break down into three categories. These are:

  • The physical signs of substance abuse.
  • The behavioral signs of substance abuse.
  • The psychological signs of substance abuse.

The Physical Warning Signs of Substance Abuse

The physical signs of substance abuse and addiction are often the easiest to see by far. These are the signs that are actually visible to the naked eye and which require very little judgment or speculation. They are what they are. They very simply showcase intensive substance abuse difficulties within the person by their very presence. Listed below are some of the physical signs of substance abuse:

  • The individual’s eyes do not look natural. Their eyes are bloodshot, their pupils are larger than usual, or their pupils are smaller than usual. Their eyes are clouded over and hazy. Different substances will affect the eyes differently, but the eyes are almost always affected by a person who abuses drugs.
  • The person will have noticeable changes in both eating patterns and sleeping patterns. Drug and alcohol abuse is a very unnatural thing to do to the human body. The body responds accordingly by taking drastic action to try to repair itself, and this often comes in the form of eating more or sleeping more to try to repair the damage done by substance abuse. Conversely, some substances kill appetite and create a buzz of energy (as is the case with upper drugs) where the individual does not want to eat or sleep for days even.
  • A person abusing drugs and alcohol will often experience sudden weight loss or weight gain, usually in the form of weight loss for upper drugs, and usually in the form of weight gain for downer drugs, but not always.
  • The individual will manifest a general deterioration of physical appearance and personal grooming habits. This is one of the most indicative signs of substance abuse. A person who no longer takes care of their physical appearance and who has abandoned physical grooming and hygiene habits too may be abusing drugs. If they have unusual smells on their body, clothes, breath, or possessions then that is another indicator of an ongoing substance abuse problem. Drugs and alcohol have a very unique smell to them and, as it is usually quite unnatural, it can be picked up on pretty easily.
  • The individual often slurs, trembles, mumbles, has the jitters, can’t sit still, has impaired coordination, and experiences other physical inabilities that could be directly indicative of substance abuse.

The Behavioral Signs of Substance Abuse

In addition to manifesting certain physical, life-like signs of substance abuse, the very way in which a person acts can also be an indicator of substance abuse. These are the most prominent ones to watch out for:

  • The person is not going to work and/or school as much, and their performance at both has grown quite poor. Drug and alcohol abuse takes a person’s life over and causes them to become quite focused on just the substance abuse habit.
  • The individual seems to always need money for one reason or another, and those reasons never seem to be very clear either. The individual just always seems to have a need for cash and may borrow or steal to get it, though the reasons for why they need it are never wholly explicable.
  • One notices that the person has changed significantly in their hobbies, the places that they go to, the people they hang out with, and the way they spend their time. On top of that, their activities are often secretive and unknown. A change like this, while not always indicative of substance abuse, if combined with the other, above manifestations is often a sure indicator of substance abuse habits.

The Psychological Signs of Substance Abuse

There are also the psychological signs of substance abuse. These are the mental and spiritual indications that a person has taken up drug abuse or alcohol abuse. Some of them are:

  • A sudden shift in personality or day to day attitude. Manifesting sudden mood swings, irritability, angry outbursts, and the like. While this is often confused with the person “just acting out,” when it is combined with other indicators in this and other categories it can be an indicator that the person has begun to abuse drugs and alcohol and is reacting to the psychological effects of those drugs.
  • The person appears to be unusually active, full of energy, never sleeping, always moving, very giddy, unnaturally gleeful. This can be a sign of abusing upper drugs.
  • Conversely, the individual may be manifest as being totally mentally unmotivated, lethargic, or spaced out and not there. They might be mentally dull and un-excitable. This is a sign of abusing downer drugs.

Substance Abuse

Once a person knows for sure that their family member or loved one is abusing drugs and alcohol, the next step is to address that substance abuse problem with the help of inpatient addiction treatment centers. If one’s family member or loved one is not willing to go to treatment, an intervention may be necessary. Thankfully, New Beginnings can offer services for all of the above. For more information, reach out to New Beginnings today at 855-338-5916.

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