Signs and Symptoms of Drug Use
There are many signs, both physical and behavioral, that indicate drug use. Each drug has its own unique manifestations but there are some general indications that a person is using drugs:
- Sudden change in behavior
- Mood swings; irritable and grumpy and then suddenly happy and bright
- Withdrawal from family members
- Careless about personal grooming
- Loss of interest in hobbies, sports, and other favorite activities
- Changed sleeping pattern; up at night and sleeps during the day
Effects Related to Frequently Used Drugs
"Wired"--sleeplessness for days and weeks at a time, total loss of appetite, extreme weight loss, dialated pupils, excited, talkative, deluded sense of power, paranoia, depression, loss of control, nervousness, unusual sweating, shaking, anxiety, hallucinations, aggression, violence, dizziness, mood changes, blurred vision, mental confusion, agitation. More meth addiction info.
Changes in mental and physical stimulation, altered perception of sound, light, touch. Stimulation of physical energy with related decrease in appetite and increase in body temperature. Increase in emotional response and sensual reactions. Teeth clenching, muscle cramping, nausea, chills and sweating. Body may overheat which can lead to fatalities.
Impaired thinking, confused, anxious, depressed, short tempered, panic attacks, suspiciousness, dilated pupils, sleeplessness, loss of appetite, decreased sexual drive, restlessness, irritability, very talkative, scratching, hallucinations, paranoia.
LSD (Acid) Effects:
Dilated pupils, skin discoloration, loss of coordination, false sense of power, euphoria, distortion of time and space, hallucinations, confusion, paranoia, nausea, vomiting, loss of control, anxiety, panic, helplessness, and self destructive behavior. LSD abuse signs and symptoms and more LSD info
Sometimes violent or bizarre behavior (suicide has often occurred), paranoia, fearfulness, anxiety, aggressive or withdrawn, skin flushing, sweating, dizziness, total numbness, and impaired perceptions.
Short-lasting euphoria, giggling, silliness, dizziness. Then come the headaches and full-blown "faintings" or going unconscious. Longterm Use: Short-term memory loss, emotional instability, impairment of reasoning, slurred speech, clumsy staggering gait, eye flutter, tremors, hearing loss, loss of sense of smell, and escalating stages of brain atrophy. Sometimes these serious longterm effects are reversible with body detoxification and nutritional therapy; sometimes the brain damage is irreversible or only partially reversible.
Chemically enforced euphoria. "Nodding," which is a dreamlike state, near sleep, drifting off for minutes or hours. For long-time abusers, heroin may act like a stimulant and they can do a normal daily routine; however, for others, it leaves them completely powerless to do anything.
Compulsive eating, bloodshot red eyes that are squinty (they may have trouble keeping them open), dry mouth, excessive and uncontrollable laughter, forgetfulness, short term memory loss, extreme lethargy, delayed motor skills, occasional paranoia, hallucinations, laziness, lack of motivation, stupidity, sickly sweet smell on body, hair, and clothes, and strong mood changes and behaviors when the person is "high". More marijuana info
Depressants (Tranquilizers and Barbituates):
Decreased inhibition, slowed motor coordination, lethargy, relaxed muscles, staggering gait, poor judgement, slow, uncertain reflexes, disorientation, and slurred speech.
Prescription drugs: Signs and Symptoms of Prescription Drugs
Naturally, the signs of abuse of these drugs will vary by the type of prescription drug being abused. A person abusing prescription opiates (pain relievers), in addition to not feeling pain at normal levels, may be drowsy and confused. They may complain of nausea or look for remedies for constipation. Pupils will be constricted. If they nod off, their breathing may be unnaturally slow. If they try to stop using this drug, they are likely to manifest muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting and chills for several days.
A person abusing benzodiazepines is using a drug intended to treat anxiety and sleeplessness. Valium (diazepam), Xanax (alprazolam), Halcyon (triazolam) and Ativan (lorazepam) fall into this category. These drugs are addictive and can be very dangerous to withdraw from without medical assistance.
Other drugs used for these purposes are similar in function but different in chemistry like Ambien and Lunesta. A person abusing any of these drugs may appear unnaturally relaxed and drowsy.
Further, a person abusing sedatives or tranquilizers may show these signs:
- Person may be depressed, tired, aggressive, agitated, paranoid or suicidal
- There may be headaches and dizziness
A person abusing stimulants such as Ritalin, Adderall and Desoxyn may manifest anxiety, delusions, flushed skin and chest pain with heart palpitations. Their sleep may be irregular, with long hours spent awake before they catch up.