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Can You Recognize the Physical Signs of Drug Addiction?

Drug addiction can cause physical symptoms and signs.

Drug addiction can cause physical symptoms and signs.

Struggling with drug addiction is a terrible situation that many people deal with alone. Isolation and feelings of helplessness or shame are all too common for those addicted to drugs. The good news is that nobody has to deal with drug addiction alone. If somebody that you love is addicted to drugs do you think you can recognize the physical signs of drug addiction? Are the physical signs of drug addiction always easy to spot? Here’s a look at the physical signs of drug addiction that are easy (and not so easy) to spot.

Physical Signs of Drug Abuse

Drug abuse and drug addiction are actually not the same thing but one does lead to the other. Drug abuse is described as the use of drugs without those drugs severely interfering with or controlling life activities. There are physical signs and symptoms associated with drug abuse, though not typically as severe as those associated with drug addiction they still result in problems for the user.

Drug abuse leads to the user neglecting certain (or most) responsibilities at work, at school or at home. For instance, a student abused drugs may skip class or may fail, a parent who abuses drugs may neglect their children, and a worker who abuses drugs may miss work, call in sick when they really aren’t or perform poorly at work.

When drugs are used under dangerous conditions such as while driving or if certain risks are taken when drugs are used you are also in danger. For instance, abusing heroin and using dirty needles or sharing needles places the drug abuser at risk of contracting AIDs, hepatitis, and many other diseases or infections.

Drug abuse often leads to arrest for various troubles such as disorderly conduct or DUI. Long term use of drugs that results in multiple arrests is likely more than just a drug abuse problem. If you continue to use drugs despite knowing that you have gotten in trouble because of the drugs on more than one occasion then you are likely suffering from a more severe case of drug abuse which has actually now turned into a drug addiction.

Physical Signs of Drug Addiction

Physically, drug addiction causes the desire or need to use drugs in order to prevent negative physical effects from occurring. These negative effects, known as withdrawal symptoms, cause the drug addict to feel nausea or restless, insomnia or sleeplessness may also occur, depression or anxiety is also common and the addict may sweat, feel shaky or even experience seizures as a result of NOT doing the drugs. These withdrawal effects occur because the body begins to rely on and get used to having the drugs in the system. Some drugs have more severe withdrawal symptoms than others but pretty much all come with some negative withdrawal effects.

Long term drug addiction results in a high tolerance of the drug. Over time it will take more and more of a drug in order to get the same or similar effects. This is also likely to cause overdose as you use more and more trying to get the same “first time” effect from the drugs.

Physically the drug addict may show signs of being sick from drug use. The addict may not eat properly and this shows by resulting in weight gain or most often weight loss. The addict may also have dark circles under their eyes, blotches on their skin and may even show signs of intravenous drug use. Infections are also common with intravenous drug abuse and boils or other skin problems can be visibly seen so often times the addict will wear long sleeves to cover such signs up.

Bloodshot eyes or pupils that seem to be over dilated or not dilated when they should be dilated are other common physical signs of drug addiction. People who abuse drugs may slack on grooming, they may not brush their teeth regularly anymore or they may not shower or brush their hair regularly. Tremors and slurred speech are also common physical signs of drug addiction.

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