Drug abuse can touch people from any walk of life, regardless of age, race, gender, or socioeconomic status. When someone you love begins using drugs recreationally or at higher doses than a doctor prescribes, physical dependence, tolerance, increased usage, and addiction can develop. In some cases, the user might not even recognize that their drug use is a problem. It may be up to friends and loved ones to communicate the problem after identifying the signs of drug addiction.
If your loved one’s drug use has developed into an addiction, it can be challenging for them to stop using substances without professional treatment. That said, getting treatment is imperative, as drug addiction can have a devastating effect on the mind and body, and, in worst-case scenarios, be deadly. If you or someone you love is battling an addiction to drugs, there’s no shame in admitting that you need treatment. For more information about available treatment options, visit Treatment Connection today.
Signs of Drug Addiction
The symptoms of drug abuse largely depend on the type of drug that your loved one is abusing. Some substances, such as alcohol or benzodiazepines, are depressants or downers, meaning that they reduce your brain’s stimulation. However, others are uppers, more commonly known as stimulants, indicating that they give you more energy and alertness. Stimulants include drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamine. Other drug categories include hallucinogens, such as LSD and PCP, and narcotics, or opioids, like prescription painkillers and heroin.
Signs of Depressant Abuse
Because depressants cause brain impairment, many of the signs of depressant abuse include impaired faculties. For instance:
- Slower brain function
- Poor concentration or confusion
- Impaired memory
- Lower blood pressure
- Slower breathing
If your loved one shows these signs of drug addiction, it’s vital to seek treatment as soon as possible. Because substance abuse brings tolerance, they’ll need more of the same substance to get the same effect, which could lead to overdose.
Signs of Stimulant Abuse
Stimulant abuse can quickly lead to addiction. After the initial high, the crash soon follows, leading to depression, exhaustion, and apathy. As a result, the user feels like they have to use the drug again to feel “normal.” These signs of drug addiction include periods of manic energy, followed by periods of sluggishness and depression. You may also see:
- Dilated pupils
- Rapid heartbeat
- Hyperactivity or restlessness
- Loss of appetite, leading to weight loss
- High blood pressure
Signs of Hallucinogen Abuse
Hallucinogens, as the name suggests, are drugs that cause profound distortions in how a person perceives reality. In other words, they cause hallucinations. Low doses of hallucinogens can cause numbness and confusion, as well as seeing things that aren’t there. However, higher doses can lead to memory loss and physical symptoms, such as changes in heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and respiration. They may also show psychological distress, such as anxiety, paranoia, or extreme panic or aggression. If your loved one uses hallucinogens along with depressants, it can lead to breathing problems and could result in death.
Signs of Narcotic Abuse
Narcotics, more commonly known as opioids, are usually medications that doctors prescribe for pain relief after a major injury or surgery. However, opioids bind to the opioid receptors in the brain, causing your body and brain to think they’re critical for survival. Furthermore, it’s easy to develop tolerance, so you need more of the substance to get the same effect. Signs of opioid addiction include:
- Being unable to control your opioid use
- Having cravings for opioids
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Sudden weight loss
- Decreased libido
- Lack of hygiene
Get Treatment Today
If your loved one is showing the signs of drug addiction, help is available. Using the Treatment Connection website allows you to search for treatment providers in your area anonymously. You can also determine what type of treatment most likely fits your loved one’s needs and submit confidential referrals to mental health treatment providers. To learn more about your loved one’s addiction treatment options, visit Treatment Connection.