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Drug Abuse The Early Signs

February 22, 2023

Drug Abuse: Know About the Early Signs of Substance Abuse Under 5 Minutes

Are you or a loved one currently grappling with a drug addiction? Maybe you are still unsure.

Substance abuse disorder (SUD) is a serious illness marked by a powerful urge to use. The significant changes in behavior result from how addictive substances modify the reward circuit via dopamine receptors in the brain. As dependency increases a person will continue to use regardless of the negative consequences that drug addiction poses.

Acknowledging that you have a drug addiction is a necessary component of recovery. The earlier you can identify a SUD; the less problematic detox and addiction treatment will be for you. Unfortunately for many, it can be difficult to admit that a problem exists. And with so many misconceptions about drug abuse treatment and addiction in general, it becomes difficult separating truth from fiction.

In this article, we will be discussing some of the ways you can quickly identify the signs of drug abuse, as well as what programs are available for those who need help.

Different Drugs Vary in Dependency

Depending on what drugs you are taking, the risk of developing addiction could occur relatively easily and be difficult to kick. Drugs such as alcohol, opiates, benzodiazepines, cocaine, and methamphetamine are among the most addictive and result in severe withdrawal symptoms.

If you or a loved one is abusing any of these substances, you should check yourself into a medical drug detox program as soon as possible.

What are the Common Signs of Drug Abuse?

The signs of drug abuse can vary from person to person, drug to drug, and can be harder or easier to see based on one’s severity of one’s addiction.

A functioning alcoholic, for instance, might try to hide their addiction by keeping their alcohol stashed away; they may also choose to drink in private. A poorly functioning alcoholic, on the other hand, might exhibit clearer signs of alcohol abuse by showing up to places blatantly drunk.

Despite the differences in these drugs, they can also modify the body and behavior in similar ways.
Here are some dead giveaways someone may be abusing drugs:

Physical Signs

  • Abnormal eating and sleeping patterns
  • Slurred and incoherent speech
  • Trouble paying attention
  • Slowed reaction time
  • Disheveled appearance
  • Tired appearance
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Pale skin
  • Behavioral Signs
  • Secretive and paranoid behavior
  • Frequently asking to borrow money
  • Having financial Troubles (missing rent or late on bills)
  • Difficulty holding down a job or keeping up in school
  • Frequently gets angry and agitated
  • Engages in risky or illegal activities

Behavioral Signs

  • Secretive and paranoid behavior
  • Frequently asking to borrow money
  • Having financial Troubles (missing rent or late on bills)
  • Difficulty holding down a job or keeping up in school
  • Frequently gets angry and agitated
  • Engages in risky or illegal activities

Signs of Prescription Drug Abuse

Addiction to prescription drugs can be dangerous and can occur whether they were previously misused or simply prescribed by a doctor. Commonly abused prescription drugs and their symptoms include:

Prescription Opioids

  • Shaking
  • Confused state
  • Nausea
  • Droopy eyes
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Sweating

Prescription Depressants

  • Lacking focus or forgetful
  • Slurred Speech
  • Lack of coordination
  • Dilated pupils
  • Slowed Reaction Time

Prescription Stimulants

  • Blood pressure and heart rate increase
  • Weight loss
  • Anxiousness
  • Shaking
  • High body temperature
  • Heavy breathing
  • Appetite loss
  • Hyperactive behavior
  • Irregular heart rate

Treatment for Drug Abuse

Medical Detox

Medical detox: the first stage in addiction treatment, supervises individuals coming off drugs in an around-the-clock medical facility.

In medical detoxification, a person is the safest and most comfortable environment to get clean. Acute withdrawal symptoms are often uncomfortable. If a person is in poor health or experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms, they can even be deadly. Detox centers can also benefit patients by prescribing medications to ease these withdrawal symptoms.

Inpatient Treatment

After leaving drug detox, inpatient care is the next stage of addiction treatment. During these 1–3 month programs, individuals gain access to evidence-based psychotherapies, group and individual counseling, and fundamental skills that will help them effectively manage their sobriety.

These live-in facilities typically provide 24-hour medical support, medication administration, and specialized treatment plans.

Outpatient and Intensive Outpatient Treatment (IOP)

Outpatient programs are for those stepping down from inpatient treatment or requiring the flexibility to stay at home and continue to receive addiction treatment. Like inpatient treatment, these programs offer some of the same services, including workshops and counseling, but for only a few hours a week.

IOPs, on the other hand, exist to bridge the gap for those who are stepping down from inpatient care but need more support than a traditional outpatient program can provide.
Advantages of an IOP include:

  • 9 hours or more a week of program involvement
  • In-depth case management with adaptable treatment plans
  • Extended range of evidence-based therapies and workshops in addition to counseling
  • Emphasis on addiction education
  • Life-training skills
  • Emphasis on improving psychosocial support by helping individuals obtain housing, employment, and financial support.

Residential Treatment

In a residential treatment program, individuals live in a communal recovery house with others receiving addiction treatment. Like other live-in programs, Residential drug and alcohol programs are demanding. Patients spend most of the day in group and individual therapy, and every part of the day follows a strict schedule.

These programs can be short-term (3-6 weeks) or long-term (6-12 months). They are ideal for individuals who have a severe substance use disorder or co-occurring mental health disorders and do not require the medical services of an inpatient program.

Inmate Drug Abuse Treatment

It was discovered that addiction treatment programs among the incarcerated population were effective at:

  • Reducing criminality
  • Improving conduct
  • Reducing repeat offenses
  • Improving family and community outcomes

There are several kinds of inmate drug abuse treatment programs assigned to treat various segments of the prison population. The most common programs center around addiction education and building skills like critical thinking and self-awareness. Inmates typically meet in a group setting and may be exposed to evidence-based therapies like cognitive behavior therapy (CBT).

If you or a loved one is seeking information on addiction or mental health resources please call (888) 564-4780.

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