Definition of substance abus – excessive use of a drug (such as alcohol, narcotics, or cocaine) : use of a drug without medical justification
Bridgewater, N.J. (October 4, 2013) – According to PsychCentral, “Often, addicts and alcoholics are the last to know they have a problem, because they cannot see the outward signs of addiction.”
Helpguide.org lists the many ways to identify a substance abuse problem:
- You’re neglecting your responsibilities at school, work or home (eg Flunking classes, skipping work, neglecting your children) because of your drug use.
- You’re using drugs under dangerous conditions or taking risks while high, such as driving while you’re on drugs, using dirty needles, or having unprotected sex.
- Your drug use is getting you into legal trouble, such as arrests for disorderly conduct, driving under the influence, or stealing to support a drug habit.
- Your drug use is causing problems in your relationships, such as fights with your partner or family members, an unhappy boss, or the loss of old friends.
Physical warning signs of drug abuse:
- Bloodshot eyes, pupils larger or smaller than usual
- Changes in appetite or sleep patterns. Sudden weight loss or weight gain.
- Deterioration of physical appearance, personal grooming habits
- Unusual smells on breath, body or clothing
- Tremors, slurred speech, or impaired coordination
Behavioral signs of drug abuse:
- Drop in attendance or performance at work or at school.
- Unexplained need for money or financial problems. May borrow or steal to get it.
- Engaging in secretive or suspicious behaviors.
- Sudden change in friends, favorite hangouts or hobbies.
- Frequently getting into trouble (fights, accidents, illegal activities)
Psychological warning signs of drug abuse:
- Unexplained change in personality or attitude
- Sudden mood swings, irritability or angry outbursts
- Periods of unusual hyperactivity, agitation or giddiness
- Lack of motivation: appears lethargic or “spaced out”
- Appears fearful, anxious, or paranoid with no reason.
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