Why do some drug users become addicted, and others don’t?
Vulnerability to drug and alcohol addiction differs from person to person. If you or a loved one affected has a family history of addiction, had traumatic experiences in childhood, suffer from depression and anxiety, or experimented with drugs earlier, you may be at a great risk of suffering from drug addiction.
How drug abuse and addiction can develop
People who experiment with drugs do so because the substance being abused either makes them feel good, or stops them from feeling bad about a situation they are in. In many cases, however, there is a fine line between regular drug use, drug abuse and addiction.
Frequency or the amount of drugs consumed while in themselves don’t constitute drug abuse or addiction, it can often be an indicator of a drug-related problem.
Signs and symptoms of drug abuse and Alcohol addiction
Although different drugs have different physical effects, if you recognize yourself or a loved one having the following signs and symptoms of substance abuse and addiction, consider talking to someone about your drug use.
- You’ve built up a tolerance to a drug and need to use more of the drug to experience the same effects you used to attain with smaller amounts.
- You take a drug to avoid or relieve withdrawal symptoms and If you go too long without a drug, you experience symptoms such as nausea, restlessness, insomnia, depression, sweating, shaking, and anxiety.
- You’ve lost control over your use of a drug. You often do drugs or use more than you planned, even though you may want to stop using, you feel powerless.
- You spend most of your time using and thinking about drugs, figuring out how to get them, and recovering from the drug’s effects.
- You have abandoned activities you used to love, such as hobbies, sports, and socializing, because of using a drug.
- You continue to use a drug, despite knowing it is hurting you by causing major problems in your life such as experiencing frequent blackouts, infections, mood swings, depression, paranoia-but you continue to use anyway.
Warning signs that a friend or family member is abusing drugs
Drug abusers often try to conceal their symptoms and downplay their drug addiction problem. If you’re worried that a loved one might be abusing drugs, look for the following warning signs:
Behavioral signs of drug abuse
- A sudden unexplained dip in attendance or performance at work or school
- Unexplained need for money or frequent recent financial problems.
- Sudden change in behaviors or being overly secretive
- Sudden change in friends, favorite hangouts, and hobbies
- Frequently getting into trouble (fights, accidents, illegal activities)
- Psychological warning signs of drug abuse
- Unexplained sudden change in personality and or attitude
- Sudden frequent mood swings, irritability, or angry outbursts
- Unusual moments of hyperactivity, agitation, or giddiness
- Sudden lack of motivation; appears lethargic or “spaced out”
- Appears anxious, fearful, or paranoid, with no reason
- Physical warning signs of drug abuse
- Bloodshot eyes, unusual larger or smaller pupils
- Sudden weight loss or weight gain or unexplainable changes in appetite or sleep patterns.
- Deterioration of physical appearance and, or personal grooming habits
- Unusual smells on breath, body, or clothing
- Frequent tremors, slurred speech, or impaired coordination
Recognizing that you or a loved one has a problem is the first step on the road to recovery from drug or alcohol addiction, one that takes tremendous courage and strength.
Don’t try to go it alone; If you’re ready to make a change and willing to seek help for yourself or a loved one, you can overcome your addiction and build a satisfying, drug-free life for yourself.
Whether you choose to go to rehab, rely on self-help programs, get therapy, or take a self-directed treatment approach, support is essential.