Excessive drug use can occur in anyone’s life regardless of where they live, their age, and their socioeconomic status. Some individuals take drugs to relieve stress, others to fit in with others, and some overuse prescription drugs to obtain relief from chronic pain. 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 it is illicit drugs 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. Medical signs of drug use are changes that the body experiences from drug use. Taking drugs consistently over time can lead to a tolerance developing. 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 result in drug overdose.

In addition to tolerance, some individuals experience certain physical signs of drug use such as nausea and vomiting, insomnia, drowsiness, dizziness, constipation, weight loss, vision problems, or respiratory problems

It is not unusual for drug users to experience certain types of behavioral signs such as depression, sudden mood swings, increased aggression, anxiety, or lethargy. The reason for the changes is due largely to the way that certain types of drugs affect the brain and other parts of the nervous system. This is not to be confused with an addiction disease.

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.

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 and it may take a lot of convincing to get them to see that they need help. If you know someone who is in need of drug use assistance, the St. Jude Retreats offers a highly motivational and education-based program that can help them achieve a fulfilling life that is permanently free from drug use problems.