Warning Signs of Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Group therapy holding hands


Drug abuse is a serious and deadly problem that affected an estimated 7.1 million people over the age of 12 in 2014, and is continuing to rise (SAMSHA). Illicit drug abuse and addiction is a problem that needs to be identified and treated as soon as possible, however recognizing drug abuse – in yourself or another person – before it’s too late, is easier said than done. The staff at Simple Recovery want to help you determine whether you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse, based on common warning signs to look for.

Signs of Abuse and Dependency
If you suspect someone you love is abusing drugs, here are a few key signs to watch for:

  • Mood swings – moving abruptly between euphoria, anger and depression
  • Changes in appearance – loss of interest in personal hygiene, loss or gain of weight
  • School or work problems – skipping work or classes, sudden drop in performance, loss of employment
  • Withdrawal from friends or family – spending more time alone in isolation
  • Loss of interest in activities – no longer participating in sports or hobbies
  • Changes in sleeping patterns – sleeping more during the day, up at night
  • Increased money spending – asking for money, money missing from family members or friends
  • Bloodshot eyes or dilated pupils – frequent use of eye drops to mask this symptom
  • Runny nose or persistent cough – due to snorting or smoking drugs
  • Unusual smells on breath, clothing, or in their personal bedroom or car

Do any of these signs sound familiar?
If so, don’t wait to talk to the individual about their possible drug and alcohol abuse. Encourage the person to seek help without accusing, blaming or punishing the individual for their behavior. Whether you provide direct resources for seeking help, or ask for the support of a third party, do not try to cover up the drug abuse by taking over the person’s responsibilities or making up excuses as to why the person does not show up at work or school.

Are You Struggling with Substance Abuse?
If you are concerned about your own substance use, here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you need more of the substance to get the same effects?
  • Do you find yourself using even if you promised yourself you wouldn’t?
  • Do you drink or use more than you originally planned?
  • Is much of your time taken up with thinking about getting or using the substance?
  • Have you lost interest in activities you once enjoyed?
  • Do you find yourself spending more time at home alone so you can use?
  • Do you take excessive risks after using? (driving while high, risky sexual behavior)
  • Have you found yourself borrowing or stealing money to purchase your substance?
  • Do you hide your use or effects of the substance from others?
  • Are you experiencing more conflicts in your relationships with others?

Do you feel bad or strange when you don’t use the substance for a period of time?If you have answered “yes” to at least some of these questions, you may be developing or have a substance abuse problem. It can be difficult to face substance abuse, but as soon as you do, you can begin seeking the support and treatment you need to overcome your dependency. Talk to a trusted friend or family member or contact a treatment facility that can help you take the first step on the recovery process.
At Simple Recovery, we work with men and women that are struggling with substance abuse and chemical dependency. Our treatment programs are designed to get you through the initial treatment phase and keep you on track for a successful recovery and long-term sobriety. To learn more about our programs, contact Simple Recovery today at 888-743-0490.
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