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10 Signs that Suggest Substance Abuse

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10 Signs that Suggest Substance Abuse

Substance abuse or addiction is an issue that affects many Americans. Whether it is addiction to prescription or street drugs, the effects can be devastating for the person suffering from it as well as his or her loved ones. Early treatment is crucial to avoid having life lasting consequences. Therefore, we have prepared a list of signs or symptoms that indicate substance abuse.


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  1. Not using medication as prescribed by the doctor. This happens when someone uses a prescribed medication for a longer time than it was prescribed for or takes larger doses. Also, when mixing the drug with alcohol or other drugs to “enhance” its effect.
  2. Having more than one source to get prescribed medications. Having more than one doctor to prescribe drug, asking others for their own medications and/or looking in other people’s cabinets for these drugs are signs of this.
  3. Special attention on the drug. If someone keeps talking about a drug or is constantly on the lookout for it, it is a sign of substance abuse.
  4. Using the drugs on a daily basis. When a person needs to get high for his or her everyday routine, it is an indication of dependency. It is even more worrisome if the person does not want to take the drug but ends up taking it anyway.
  5. Change in interests and/or daily routine. This is when suddenly the person is not interested any longer in what he or she used to. Also, when the subject stops doing quotidian activities, such as going to school or to work.
  6. Trouble in relationships. Sudden mood changes, irritability and isolation are symptoms of excessive use of drugs.
  7. Change in in sleep and/or appetite. Although it may be a symptom of a different illness, sudden changes in the amount of food eaten and of hours of sleep might suggest addiction.
  8. Change in appearance and hygiene. It can be physical changes such as weight loss and red eyes. People who do not care anymore about how they look or their hygiene could also be suffering from substance abuse.
  9. Different social circle. It is normal to expand one’s social network or stop talking to certain friends. But when someone stops seeing his or her friends and start hanging out with people with whom they only do drugs, he or she may be suffering from addiction.
  10. Not being open with the doctor. If someone is taking prescription medications and hides it from the doctor, it suggests that that person may be abusing the use of these medications.

Though these are some of the most recognizable signs of substance abuse, there may be other particular signs that are not that easy to spot. Keep in mind that some of these symptoms may not be related to drug abuse but to other conditions. As in any psychological condition, communication and professional assistance are crucial to fight addiction.

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