Here are some warning signs of substance abuse and addiction:

Alcoholism

  • Abdominal pain
  • Confusion
  • Drinking alone
  • Episodes of violence with drinking
  • Hostility when confronted about drinking
  • Lack of control over drinking—being unable to stop or reduce alcohol intake
  • Making excuses to drink
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Need for daily or regular alcohol use to function
  • Neglecting to eat
  • Not caring for physical appearance
  • Secretive behavior
  • Shaking in the morning

Drug Abuse

  • Cycles of being unusually talkative, “up” and cheerful, with seemingly boundless energy (often seen in cocaine and methamphetamines)
  • Increased irritability, agitation and anger
  • Unusual calmness, unresponsiveness, or looking “spaced out”
  • Apathy and depression
  • Paranoia and delusions
  • Temporary psychosis or hallucinations
  • Lowered threshold for violence
  • Abnormally slow movements, speech or reaction time, confusion and disorientation (often seen in opiates, benzodiazepines, and barbiturates)
  • Sudden weight loss or weight gain
  • Cycles of excessive sleep
  • Unexpected changes in clothing, such as constantly wearing long sleeved shirts, to hide scarring at injection sites
  • Suspected drug paraphernalia such as unexplained pipes, roach clips, or syringes
  • For snorted drugs, chronic troubles with sinusitis or nosebleeds
  • For smoked drugs, a persistent cough or bronchitis, leading to coughing up excessive mucus or blood
  • Progressive severe dental problems (especially with methamphetamines)

Remember, addiction is treatable and there are ways to feel better. Speaking up is the first step. You aren’t alone.

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