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Article Summary

Drug Abuse Signs

When people take drugs, there are both mental and physical effects. Depending on the type of drug taken, the user will experience different effects. Recognizing the different drug abuse signs caused by each drug is a way of determining if the person is on drugs or not. It is important to learn the signs of drug abuse and to beware if you see these signs. Drug addiction is not something anyone sets out to achieve. The drug abuser becomes caught in a self-made trap that appears inescapable. That is where loved ones can help. With a clear understanding of drug abuse signs they are able to plan an intervention and handle their loved ones condition.

Getting a loved one to the point where a drug abuse or dependence diagnosis can be made is often a difficult task. People with drug and alcohol problems are often secretive about their use, or blind to the idea that a problem exists. It is helpful then to have a list of behaviors that one can look for that, when present, may suggest that someone exhibits drug abuse signs.

Drug Abuse Sings for Specific Substances:

  • Alcohol: Clumsiness, difficulty walking, slurred speech, sleepiness, poor judgment, dilated pupils, possession of a false ID card
  • Depressants: (including barbiturates and tranquilizers) Seems drunk as if from alcohol but without the associated odor of alcohol, difficulty concentrating, clumsiness, poor judgment, slurred speech, sleepiness, and contracted pupils
  • Hallucinogens: Dilated pupils, bizarre and irrational behavior including paranoia, aggression, hallucinations, mood swings, detachment from people, absorption with self or other objects, slurred speech, confusion
  • Heroin: Needle marks, sleeping at unusual times, sweating, vomiting, coughing and sniffling, twitching, loss of appetite, contracted pupils, no response of pupils to light
  • Inhalants: (Glues, aerosols, and vapors ) Watery eyes, impaired vision, memory and thought, secretions from the nose or rashes around the nose and mouth, headaches and nausea, appearance of intoxication, drowsiness, poor muscle control, changes in appetite, anxiety, irritability, an unusual number of spray cans in the trash
  • Marijuana: Glassy, red eyes, loud talking and inappropriate laughter followed by sleepiness, a sweet burnt scent, loss of interest, motivation, weight gain or loss
  • Stimulants: Hyperactivity, euphoria, irritability, anxiety, excessive talking followed by depression or excessive sleeping at odd times, may go long periods of time without eating or sleeping, dilated pupils, weight loss, dry mouth and nose

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