Drug Abuse: Symptoms, withdrawal signs

Symptoms of drug addiction

Substance abuse can have devastating consequences for our health and social life. One way to spot substance abuse is by observing symptoms of drug addiction in people we care about.

2006 National Household Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that 112 million Americans age 12 or older (45% of the population) admitted illicit drug use at least once in their lifetime. The survey also determined that marijuana and cocaine abuse were the most prevalent among persons age 18 to 25. Although the survey was done sometime ago one can only guess the catastrophic levels the problem of drug abuse has reached.

The most vulnerable group appears to be teenagers and younger crowd. Factors like curiosity, boredom, being above the crowd, susceptibility to pressure and easy access to drugs can drive teenagers to try out all kinds of drugs. Sometimes serious drug abuse can start with “seemingly harmless” glue sniffing or cannabis smoking that may seem to be controllable to teenagers and later go up to injecting heroin as addicts crave for more. One of the symptoms of drug addiction is craving for something that is no longer needed or should be taken in moderation.

It’s important to know that the symptoms of drug addiction listed below may not be entirely due to drug abuse. They may also be caused by stress, depression or other personal problems. It’s always important to consult your family doctor or mental health professional if you spot such symptoms.

General symptoms of drug addiction may indicate:

–    Urge to consume a drug frequently
–    Failure to stop consuming that drug
–    The manner in which the drug was obtained. Example: Stealing, robbing or evading prescriptions to get the drug at all costs

Generally parents also need to look out for various kinds of signs and symptoms of drug addiction. Different substances produce different symptoms of drug addiction.

Cannabis substances cause an addict to have difficulty concentrating, increased appetite, red eyes, slow coordination and reaction time.

Depressants such as barbiturates and benzodiazepines can have unhealthy symptoms of drug addiction. Since Benzodiazepines contain tranquilizers the symptoms can be feeling drowsy, garbled speech, memory problems, confusion, low blood pressure, feeling dizzy and depressive.

Another category of drugs that have more severe side effects are amphetamines, methamphetamine, cocaine and methylphenidate commonly known as Ritalin. The symptoms of drug addiction of this type of substances can be euphoria, loss of appetite, irritability, restless behavior, depressive mood as the effects of the drug wear off, nasal problems due to snorting cocaine, sleepless nature, losing weight, increased heart beat and blood pressure.

Always take note that one of the above signs does not necessarily mean one of the symptoms of drug addiction. Therefore try looking out for any evidence of drug abuse. Sometimes signs as needle marks on lower arm, leg or bottom of feet will confirm your suspicion. Also items used in drug abuse are pipes, bongs, cigars, rolling papers, roach clips, syringes, burned marks on tinfoil or spoons. Presence of these items together with the above symptoms of drug addiction could positively confirm your suspicion. Once you confirm your findings