Acknowledgement – Co-drafted with Chat GPT with illustration by DALL-E
Substance abuse is a serious concern that affects millions of people around the world. Recognizing the signs and symptoms early can be crucial in helping someone seek the help they need. In this blog post, we'll discuss some common symptoms and warning signs of substance abuse, as well as some resources for support and treatment.
Changes in appearance: A person struggling with substance abuse may experience sudden weight loss or gain, poor hygiene, and disheveled clothing. Their eyes may also appear bloodshot or have dilated or constricted pupils.
Sleep disturbances: Substance abuse can lead to changes in sleep patterns, including insomnia or excessive sleeping.
Impaired coordination: Slurred speech, unsteady movements, and poor coordination can all be signs of substance abuse.
Frequent nosebleeds or a runny nose: This may be a sign of snorting drugs, such as cocaine or prescription opioids.
Track marks or skin infections: These may indicate intravenous drug use.
Mood swings: Substance abuse can lead to erratic behavior, including sudden mood swings, irritability, or unexplained outbursts.
Changes in social circles: A person struggling with substance abuse might abandon old friends and spend time with a new group that also engages in drug use.
Secretive behavior: The person may become more secretive, hiding drug paraphernalia or lying about their whereabouts.
Neglecting responsibilities: Substance abuse can interfere with daily responsibilities, such as work, school, or personal relationships.
Financial problems: Spending a significant amount of money on drugs or alcohol, or frequently borrowing or stealing money, may be a sign of substance abuse.
Anxiety or paranoia: Substance abuse can lead to increased anxiety or paranoia, especially when the person is not using the drug.
Depression: Substance abuse often co-occurs with depression and may even exacerbate depressive symptoms.
Memory problems or cognitive decline: Persistent drug use can lead to memory problems or a decline in cognitive functioning.
Loss of interest in activities: A person struggling with substance abuse may lose interest in activities they once enjoyed, such as hobbies or social events.
Cravings and withdrawal symptoms: A person who is addicted to a substance will often experience intense cravings for the drug, as well as withdrawal symptoms when they try to stop using it.
Recognizing the symptoms and warning signs of substance abuse is the first step toward helping someone get the support and treatment they need. If you suspect that someone you care about is struggling with substance abuse, consider reaching out to a professional for guidance or encouraging the person to seek help.
Remember, recovery is possible, and there are many resources available to help individuals struggling with substance abuse. Some options include therapy, support groups, and medication-assisted treatment. Early intervention is key to overcoming addiction and regaining control of one's life.
Shahzadi, M., Hafeez, S., Abbas, Q., Ehsaan, S., & Khan, M. U. (2023). The Leading Role Of Evidence-Based Practices In The Treatment Of Patients With Substance Use Disorders: A Systematic Review. JPMA. The Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association, 73(8), 1675–1683. https://doi.org/10.47391/JPMA.7136
Klamert, L., Craike, M., Bedi, G., Kidd, S., Pascoe, M. C., & Parker, A. G. (2023). Behaviour change techniques in physical activity-focused interventions for young people at risk of problematic substance use: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Early intervention in psychiatry, 10.1111/eip.13467. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1111/eip.13467
Find out more about mental health and substance abuse at NAMI Montana's website.
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