What Are The Symptoms of Drug or Alcohol Addiction?

If faced with the difficult situation of suspecting a loved one of drug abuse, the first thing you will wonder is what you should do. It’s normal to want to ask or accuse them of what you know, but it’s not always the best idea. A good idea would be to talk with a professional about what you know, in order to see if he or she can determine whether a problem does exist and if so, can he or she provide good information about seeking treatment.
It’s important to know the signs and symptoms of drug use. Reasons why the following symptoms could be displayed may be due to a mental or physical health problem. Teenagers, for example, through adolescent development, sometimes display many actions of an addict even though they have never touched a drug. However, this behavior does warrant attention especially if the behavior persist or occurs in in patterns.

Physical Signs

  • Awake at unusual times/can’t sleep
  • Abnormal or unusual laziness
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Lazy or sleepy looking eyes
  • Face appears pale, blushed or puffy
  • Odd body odor, breath clothes smell different as well.
  • Poor coordination, staggers or walks slow
  • Hands, Feet, or head tremors.
  • Twisting back and forth of the jaw
  • Cough that seems hacking/Runny nose
  • Excessive sweating, nausea, vomiting
  • Rubbing nose too often
  • Appetite lessened or increased.
  • Cold or sweaty palms
  • Needle marks on legs, feet or lower arm
  • Hyper, talking excessively
  • Physical health and hygiene deteriorating
  • Pupils constricted or dilated, red, water eyes

Behavioral Signs

  • Being paranoid
  • Secretive or suspicious behavior
  • Being giddy or silly
  • Activity and hobby change
  • Diminished grades, performance, and work at school. Being late or skipping.
  • Loss of interest in usual habits, family, home life.
  • Forgetfulness; can’t pay attention very well.
  • Mood change, irritability, and nervousness.
  • Jaw is sore from teeth grinding, due to drug usage, such as cocaine or ecstasy.
  • Missing medication or forgetting about taking it.
  • Stealing and always needing money.
  • Changes in friends or girl/boyfriends, usually following “drug users”.
  • Notice increased amount of spray cans in trash.
  • Has a fake I.D. card
  • Have car accidents
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia
  • Changes in dressing/grooming
  • Won’t socialize as often or at all, can’t reach on phone as often.
  • Behavioral changes such as temper tantrums, resentfulness, and being over sensitive.
  • Lack of self-esteem, motivation, and energy.
  • An “I could care less” attitude.
  • Personality change and overall change without a good reason.

Specific Drug Signs of Intoxication

  • Depressants (barbiturates and tranquilizers) – Drunk appearance, as if from alcohol but without the associated odor of alcohol, clumsiness, poor judgment, slurred speech, sleepiness, difficulty concentrating, and contracted pupils.
  • Marijuana – Red glassy eyes, loud talking, inappropriate laughter followed by sleepiness, weight gain or loss, loss or increase of interest, and less motivation.
  • Alcohol – Clumsiness, difficulty walking, slurred speech, sleepiness, poor judgment, dilated pupils, loss of time, no appetite, and stomach pain.
  • Stimulants – (cocaine, crack, methamphetamines) – Talking a lot, feeling depressed, lots of sleeping at strange times, euphoria, loss of weight, hyperactivity, feeling irritable and anxious, not eating or sleeping much, pupils dilated, and mouth and nose dry.
  • Heroin and opiates (oxycodone, hydrocodone, and morphine) –Sleeping at unusual times, needle marks, coughing and runny nose, sniffles, twitching, sweating, no appetite, vomiting, contracted pupils, and unresponsive pupils to light.
  • Inhalants – (glues, vapors, and aerosols) – Impaired vision, eyes watery, poor or selective memory and thought, nose secretions, nose and mouth rashes, poor muscle control, nausea, headaches, intoxicated appearance, anxious, drowsiness, and irritability.
  • Hallucinogens (LSD and PCP) – Dilated pupils, irrational and bizarre behavior including paranoia, aggression, hallucinations, mood swings, detachment from people, confusion, absorption with self or other objects, and slurred speech.