Substance Use Disorder Signs and Symptoms - Recovery Research Institute

The most significant warning of signs of drug use is a very noticeable change in their behavior and lifestyle. Although everything is a gradual process, many negative or problematic changes are perceived in the subject, making him/her a stranger. This is undoubtedly the first alarm signal that we must explore.

Likewise, some attitudes or circumstances can serve as clues to know if a person uses drugs at first sight. However, although here we will point out the most common, and in a very general way, it should be noted that everything depends on the type of consumed drugs and the stage of consumption in which it is (use, abuse, or addiction).

Physical changes

The most significant physical changes that alert about a substance’s consumption are based on a visible decrease in the subject’s physical aspect.

Neglected physical appearance, lack of hygiene, and signs of fatigue

Alteration of eating habits: lack of appetite, which is reflected in constant thinness, or moments of binge eating.

Altering sleep phases: their rest schedules are out of control; they have trouble falling asleep; they have disturbing dreams or nightmares.

A person may look paler than usual; it shows dark circles under the eyes.

Pupils are dilated, eyes are red or yellowish, and even glassy. The sudden use of eye drops or sunglasses at the wrong time can be very significant.

You suffer from nosebleeds or runny nose. Your colds are permanent, as is your tic of sipping your nose.

Their sweat is more potent, impregnating their clothes with intense odors and darker sweat stains challenging to remove.

On a communicative level, there is more incredible difficulty in speaking and explaining oneself more concretely. Their speech becomes pasty.

Burns may appear on their hands. Or signs of pinpricks on their arms.

Certain constant discomforts such as headache, throat problems, etc.

Personality changes

One of the most mentioned signs of drug use in individuals is their mood swings and a more irritable and susceptible character. That is to say; they tend to create arguments in the face of any situation or insignificant comment.

Sudden and exaggerated mood swings

He maintains a suspicious and sullen behavior, which leads him to move away from family life.

Depressive states, abulia, or dysphoria. The person is sad, introverted, and elusive.

Anxious states, visible nervousness.

An apparent passivity is perceived that can lead to irresponsibility.

Prolonged confinement in their room.

The tendency to lie frequently and to hide information and objects.

Changes in habits

The most representative changes in behavior or habits are the lack of interest in their daily responsibilities and abandonment of their previously performed hobbies.

The decrease in academic or work performance

Disinterest in having an active routine

Away from old friendships and family life

Disappearing from the home at unusual times or disappearing for days

Cognitive problems

Difficulty concentrating or paying attention

Short-term memory impairment

The poverty of thought and communication

Social problems

His evil character and state of irritation are evident in his relationships with family, friends, or colleagues.

Controversies with family members are constant, making evident deterioration in family relationships. This dynamic can be repeated with his friends.

The tendency to isolate oneself for hours or days

Frequents new friendships and progressively abandons old friends.

Work or academic problems: absenteeism, irresponsible behavior, layoffs, etc.

Conflicts with authority figures: parents, bosses, etc.

Legal problems: arrests, fines, etc.

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