How to Spot the Early Warning Signs of Substance Abuse
June 29, 2021
Drug addiction, also called substance use disorder, is a disease that affects a person’s brain and behavior and leads to an inability to control the use of a legal or illegal drug or medication. Substances such as alcohol, marijuana, nicotine, stimulants, and opiates are all considered drugs. Substance use disorders affect people from all walks of life and all age groups. These disorders can affect how we relate to others and make choices.
What causes substance use disorder?
A person’s genetic predisposition, the action of the drug, peer pressure, emotional distress, anxiety, depression, and environmental stress can all be factors.
Drug or alcohol abuse can have extremely harmful effects on both the mind and body. Those who are struggling with substance abuse can also unintentionally hurt those around them through their dysfunctional behavior. It is important to spot the warning signs of substance abuse early so that you or your loved one can get help. A strong support system can help to get through this difficult time. There are different warning signs associated with both drug and alcohol abuse.
General signs of drug abuse
According to the American Addiction Centers (AAC), it’s important to identify instances of substance abuse early on, so intervention can occur before addiction takes hold. General signs to look for include:
- Poor work performance. Person is always late to work, appearing tired, or disinterested in work responsibilities.
- Changes in physical appearance. Person is wearing dirty clothing or showing a lack of interest in grooming.
- Drastic changes in relationships.
- A noticeable lack of energy when performing everyday activities.
- Changes in appetite. Person has decreased appetite and is losing weight, or weight gain,
- Bloodshot eyes, poor skin tone, and the person appears tired or run down.
- Tremors, slurred speech, or impaired coordination
- Appearing fearful, anxious, or paranoid, with no reason
- Sudden mood swings, increased irritability, or angry outbursts
- Person gets defensive when asked about substance use.
- Altered behavior that results in an increased desire for privacy.
- Requesting to borrow money or spending more money than usual.
- Issues with financial management, such as not paying bills on time.
How to spot drug abuse in teens and young adults
Drug use among teens and young adults can be hard to spot. However, usually, when they are using drugs, you’ll start to notice them acting withdrawn, tired, depressed, or even hostile. An overall change in mood is common for teens and young adults that are using drugs. Parents can also listen and see if their kids are using slang terms for different drugs. If you suspect they are using drugs, then prompt intervention is critical.
General signs of alcohol abuse
According to the American Addiction Centers (AAC), alcohol is a legal drug that carries a significant risk of addiction. That’s why it’s important to look for these warning signs:
- Slurred speech.
- Impaired thinking.
- Loss of memory.
- Poor coordination.
- Taking energy away from work, family, or social life to drink.
- A person may be in denial about the extent of their alcohol use problem.
- A person may become distressed at the prospect of not having access to alcohol.
Get the help that you or your loved ones need with the new SmartHealth Center of Excellence Travel Benefit Program for Substance Abuse & Addiction Treatment.
Spotting these early warning signs of substance abuse will bring you one step closer to helping your loved one. If you or someone you know is struggling, here is how you can get help with SmartHealth’s new Center of Excellence Travel Benefit Program.
SmartHealth will assist with costs of travel and reduce out-of-pocket costs for addiction and substance abuse treatment at our new Center of Excellence treatment facilities in Michigan and Illinois. More information is available here on the new Center of Excellence web pages.