Excessive drug use can occur in anyone's life regardless of where they live, their age, or their socioeconomic status. Some individuals take drugs to relieve stress, others to fit in, and some overuse prescription drugs to obtain relief from chronic pain-the reasons are many and as varied as the people who use. Trying to overcome a drug use problem can be challenging, but many people get help to end drug use and have a life that is permanently free from it.
There are many signs of drug use that can be noticeable to family and friends of a substance user. Recognizing a drug use problem is not always as simple as people may think. Some individuals go to great lengths to conceal their drug use, whether illicit or prescription drugs. It is a common misconception that just because a doctor prescribes a drug, it can't be misused. Many people think that prescription drugs are not dangerous, but any drug- whether by prescription or not-can hurt you if you take it incorrectly or excessively.
There are a number of signs of drug use including medical, physical, and behavioral signs. Medical symptoms of drug use are changes that the body experiences from drug use. Taking drugs consistently over time can lead to developing tolerance. Tolerance can interfere with the effects that the drug has on the body and it requires more of the drug to achieve the same effects. Therefore, many people increase the amount of the drug or drugs they take, which can be dangerous and may result in a drug overdose.
In addition to tolerance, some individuals experience certain physical signs of drug use such as nausea, vomiting, insomnia, drowsiness, dizziness, constipation, weight loss, vision problems, or respiratory problems. Heavy or chronic users may develop a physical dependence to the point that they suffer physical symptoms if they stop using the drug. These withdrawal symptoms vary by the drug being taken but may include flu-like symptoms, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and seizures. Some drugs are only safe to stop taking in a medical detox where an individual can be monitored to prevent life threatening conditions such as seizures. Always check with your medical provider to see if a medical detox is necessary.
It is not unusual for drug users to experience certain types of emotional or psychological symptoms such as depression, sudden mood swings, increased aggression, anxiety, or lethargy. The reason for these changes is due largely to the way that certain types of drugs affect the brain and other parts of the nervous system.
Other behavioral signs of drug use may include a breakdown in the drug user's relationships, the inability to function at work or school, neglecting responsibilities, as well as financial and legal problems. Sadly, some individuals will sell or pawn their personal belongings to get more drugs and resort to other types of behavior, that under different circumstances they would not, such as stealing medication from others or trading sexual favors for drugs to avoid withdrawal.
Getting your friend or loved one to recognize the signs of drug use and agree to get help can be difficult. Denial is another common sign of drug use. Only the person using substances can determine if they have a problem and are ready to make the commitment needed to make the necessary changes in their life to end substance use. Being available to help and ready to support that change may be the only thing you can do. You can't make someone realize they need to change and you can't force them. Most importantly, doing so means your loved one is likely to feel coerced and not be willing or ready to make the changes in their life that will lead to permanently resolving this issue. If you know someone who is in need of drug use assistance, Saint Jude Retreats offers a highly motivational Cognitive Behavioral Learning (CBL) program that can help them achieve a fulfilling life that is permanently free from drug use problems. Call 888.424.2626 to learn more today.