Substance Abuse & Addiction: Signs & Symptoms

Last Updated: Sep 20th 2019

Reviewed by Brittany Polansky

The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates the financial impact of drug abuse in the United States to be roughly $740 billion each year. The costs come from crime, healthcare services, and a lowered work productivity. It is estimated that there are over 20 million people over the age of 12 in the US with substance abuse concerns, but less than 3 million received treatment. Deaths from overdosing on substances has more than tripled in the last 20 years and over 5 million addicts visit emergency rooms each year. It is likely that someone you know suffers from addiction and could benefit from residential detox

 

Physical Symptoms of Addiction

There can be a wide variety of physical symptoms of substance abuse, depending on the substance. Common physical symptoms include:

 

  • Overly energetic or lethargic, depending on the drug.
  • Dilated pupils
  • Change in eating habits
  • Weight loss
  • Slurred speech
  • Lack of coordination
  • Insomnia
  • Sores or bruising at injection sites
  • Constant congestion
  • Intermittent flu like symptoms (from suffering from withdrawals)

 

Behavioral Symptoms

Changes in behavior can be a warning sign of addiction. Things to look for include:

 

  • Financial struggles
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Legal problems
  • Missing work or school frequently
  • Isolating oneself
  • Knowingly making poor choices
  • Sudden changes in friends

 

Emotional Symptoms

Often before outsiders notice physical or behavioral changes in their loved one, they may notice concerning behavioral changes. A partial list of emotional changes includes:

 

  • Argumentative behavior
  • Irritability
  • Defensiveness
  • Lack of coping mechanisms in times of stress
  • Lack of interest in prior hobbies
  • Easily confused
  • Low self esteem
  • Negative feelings about life

 

Addiction and substance abuse affect each aspect of a person’s life. Physically, socially, emotionally, and behaviorally they begin to deteriorate. When the warning signs and symptoms of addiction become recognizable to others the addict is deep into the addiction. It is imperative that they get help before they put themselves into even more danger.

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Brittany Polansky

Brittany PolanskyBrittany has been working in behavioral health since 2012 and is a Primary Clinician at our facility. She is an LCSW and holds a master’s degree in social work. She has great experience with chemical dependency and co-occurring mental health diagnoses as well as various therapeutic techniques. Brittany is passionate about treating all clients with dignity and respect, and providing a safe environment where clients can begin their healing journey in recovery.

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