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Signs of drug abuse if you think someone might be abusing drugs

They are certain they can quit anytime (but, well, they can’t)
When you approach your friend, family member, colleague or anyone you suspect of drug abuse or drug addiction, they may actually, at least partially, agree with you that they do tend to over-do it sometimes. (More often than not, they will respond with defensiveness and not agree with you, but either could happen.)

But the agreement ends there: They are certain they can stop or quit anytime. You know this doesn’t seem possible.

Often, unfortunately, it is easier for an addict to abuse the drug than to face life’s problems and issues head-on. Signs and symptoms of withdrawal are almost immediate. When or if the person who says “I can quit any time” actually tries to quit on his or her own, the results are less than positive.

Symptoms of withdrawal are obvious
As stated in #6, the stronger the addiction, the worse and more immediate the withdrawal symptoms when the addict is not taking the drug. When the drug is absent, detox and related withdrawal symptoms can begin almost immediately.

Withdrawal symptoms vary from user to user and drug to drug, but some telltale signs could include:

  • Mood swings
  • Restlessness
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue and/or insomnia
  • Shakes
  • Defensiveness
  • Chills
  • Sweating
  • Even psychotic behavior, seizures

You’re certain that their behavior seems “off” even if you can’t quite put your finger on what the problem or issue is
There are so many possible “off” signs of drug addiction, some include:

  • Intense mood swings
  • Significant changes in sleep patterns (e.g., insomnia, chronic fatigue)
  • Possibility increase in alcohol consumption
  • Pre-occupation with procuring drugs, seeing doctors for additional prescriptions

Mentally, they don’t seem “all there” anymore

  • In school or at work, performance is lower than usual, sometimes significantly so, and in addition:
  • They may exhibit anti-social behaviors
  • They may also partake in illegal activities in order to get more drugs (e.g., stealing)
  • They are unable to face the ups and downs of life – or even a regular day – without their drug(s) of choice
  • They seem more anxious, stressed out, or down than usual
  • They seem strung out, burned out
  • They exhibit violent behavior
  • They mention suicide
  • Seem apathetic, lethargic, lacking motivation to even get through the day or regular activities

School doesn’t work for them anymore, work doesn’t work for them anymore
There could be some emotional signs and changes at school or at work that seem excessive or totally out of character for someone you feel is a drug addict. For those in school, work or a similar environment, these emotional symptoms of drug addiction or abuse could include:

  • Lower grades or performance reviews
  • Unexplained absences
  • Dropping out of regular activities
  • Speaking out, disrespectful to teachers/bosses, dismissive of rules
  • Becoming a “discipline problem”

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