There are several signs and symptoms of substance abuse. However, these also can be typical young adult behavior. These are also an indication of mental health issues such as anxiety or depression. Ask your loved one if they have been offered drugs or if they have been using drugs or alcohol.
It is natural for personality changes to occur during the young adult era. At this time, individuals develop their own individuality. It is vital to search for peculiar, unexplained personality changes that don’t make sense from out of character withdrawal, hyperactivity, and overexcitement, boisterous, loud behavior, losing conscience or inhibitions, sudden lack of motivation.
Common health-related symptoms that arise from substance abuse are constant sickness, excessive thirstiness, memory loss, headaches, seizures, vomiting, recurrent nosebleeds, erratic sleeping habits, unexplained exhaustion/tiredness.
Usually there are physical symptoms of alcohol and drug use on an individual’s body. This can include different smells on clothing, to tooth decay and/or gum problems, eyes that appear irritated, redness on the face, or the appearance of irritated skin, facial or hand burns, bruises or cuts, peculiar body sores, and also unexplained weight gain or weight loss.
Stimulants and depressants are created to help improve the emotions of individuals. Often, alcohol and drugs can activate challenges in handling anger, mood swings, and depression.
Drugs tend to also cause an imbalance psychologically from the individual losing their ability to concentrate or focus, act compulsively, perform paranoia-spurred actions, as well as hearing voices.
Addiction red-flags in the house include prescription medications, alcoholic drinks that are missing, household cleaners and other products, much use of perfumes or air fresheners/odor-neutralizers, and doors that are locked.
Warning signs for addiction include complaints and problems reported by teachers or peers, unexplained absences, and lateness.
When looking at their living space or their possessions, be concerned if the individual has improvised drug apparatuses, steals, and sells personal belongings for cash.
Acceptance for new friends is a common motive for young individuals to begin using drugs or drinking. With relationships, look out for new friends they refuse to have you meet, a quick separation of long-term ties with their friends and family members, and increased flirtatious or promiscuous behavior.
Substance abuse is often the highlight of life for addicts, overpowering their previous hobbies. Changes that warrant attention include disappearances, breaking promises, or making excuses, and lost interest in most or all of their favorite activities.
Sources: CDC, The Partnership for a Drug Free America
Individuals who show these 10 warning signs of addiction may be suffering from a drug or alcohol problem. If you think a loved one requires help, please call Sobertec today.
If the answer is yes to some or all of these problems, your loved one may have a substance use problem. Substance abuse affects people of all socioeconomic statuses, backgrounds, and ages.
DSM-5 Substance Use Disorder
To be diagnosed with Substance Use Disorder, the patient must meet at least 2 of the 11 criteria for the diagnosis. A patient that meets 2-3 of the criteria indicates mild substance use disorder, while a patient meeting 4-5 criteria is indicative of moderate, and 6-7 of the criteria is indicative of severe (APA, 2013). The criteria are very similar to those outlined in DSM-IV for abuse and dependence combined.
Regarding Substance Use Disorder, this is the most current DSM version. DSM-5 was released in May 2013. In this version of the DSM, Substance Use Disorder is the singular diagnosis which combines Substance Dependence and Substance Abuse.