SUD (substance use disorder) or substance abuse disorder is a medical condition that involves the uncontrollable use of drugs or substances despite knowing their harmful side effects. Individuals suffering from SAD focus all their time and effort on using particular substances like tobacco, alcohol, or illicit drugs to the extent where it starts to hamper their ability to function normally in daily life. And they continue to use them even when they know it is detrimental to their health. Moreover, individuals with substance abuse disorder also have impaired or distorted thinking. Continuously abusing drugs or alcohol introduces changes in their brain's functions. These changes can last before and after the effects of the substance wear off.
Often addicts don't acknowledge that they have a severe condition. In fact, family members and friends are the first to notice these changes. So, if you think that you, a friend, or a family member – or you - have substance abuse disorder, you need to look for a few tell-tale signs to be sure. Some of these signs and symptoms include:
You notice minor physical symptoms
Symptoms of drug abuse often include changes in physical appearance that become more noticeable over time. For instance, dilated or pinpoint pupils and red or bloodshot eyes are common signs of many types of drug usage. Moreover, changes in skin complexion or texture such as a flushed or washed-out tone and abnormal puffiness are also signs of an ongoing drug or alcohol addiction.
Some other physical signs of drug abuse include slurred speech, persistent itching in a particular part of your body, and frequent sniffling, to name a few. While these signs aren't definitive, if they are accompanied by defensive behavior, know that the addiction has become severe, and treatment may be necessary. Facilities such as Serenity at Summit or your local rehab that provide inpatient and outpatient services are your best bet for recovery.
You will experience weight changes
As mentioned above, long-term alcohol or drug abuse often leads to dramatic changes in an individual's physical appearance. In addition, alcohol and particular types of drugs suppress or increase a person's appetite, leading to visible changes in weight.
Such changes to a person's body's composition like sudden weight gain or weight loss, or loss of interest in maintaining personal hygiene, especially if there is no explanation, are also concerning.
You will notice a sudden loss of interest in everyday tasks
Drug or alcohol dependency will eventually take over your mind's reward system. If you feel that you're becoming complacent, do not enjoy hobbies you previously did, or you're apathetic towards your loved ones, chances are your addiction is taking over you.
Moreover, frequently not showing for get-togethers, dulling of talents, lack of enthusiasm, or a combination of these three, indicate an underlying drug or alcohol abuse issue.
You'll notice changes in your sleep habits
Drug or alcohol addiction tends to wreak havoc on your sleeping cycle. This is because depressants and stimulants present inside drugs alter the sleep hormones responsible for wakefulness and tiredness.
Therefore, someone abusing drugs will experience the effects of drugs when they enter or leave their body. So, if you're noticing that you're awake during the off-hours of your usual sleeping schedule, it is a tell-tale sign of drug dependency.
You'll go through frequent mood swings
Alcohol or drugs, when abused, will impair your ability to control your emotions. This can appear as sudden anger, misery, and irritability in situations you handled well in the past. So, suppose you're usually a calm, collective, and relaxed person, and you start to experience episodes of rage and depression. In that case, it can be a tell-tale sign that you need to get help for your drug or alcohol abuse issues.
You'll show private and reclusive behavior
Individuals abusing drugs usually isolate themselves from everyone and everything. It is because they fear and feel ashamed of the social stigma attached to drug abuse. But, on the other hand, some types of drugs can also bring about paranoia. Paranoia will lead to an individual becoming secretive and wanting to withdraw from their usual relationships.
Furthermore, reclusive behaviors that are tell-tale signs of drug abuse include avoiding answering questions, locking your door when you leave your room, spending too much time in your room, and not sharing details about the places you visit or people you see.
You'll show erratic behavior
This trait is a common sign and is very evident in most drug addicts. Depending on your choice of drug, you could experience feelings of power, paranoia, invulnerability, or euphoria. These sensations typically lead to dangerous or reckless behavior. Moreover, addiction also brings emotional and physical distress, resulting in violent or erratic behavior. So, if you're going through these synergetic symptoms, now is the time to get help for your drug addictions.
If you think that the signs mentioned above are becoming more apparent, consider seeking professional help. While you might find it difficult to talk about your drug addiction, in the beginning, consider surrounding yourself with supportive friends and family members. After all, they will provide you the support and guidance you need to rid yourself of your addiction issues.