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Recognising the signs of addiction and drug abuse is the first step for helping either yourself to get clean, or to assist in getting someone that you care about into a rehabilitation programme.

Many people who have an unhealthy relationship with drugs can show various symptoms when they are suffering from drug abuse. Although different drugs give different side effects, and the signals very from person to person, it is important to have an understanding of the signs of addiction.

There are three main categories when individuals show signs of addiction to drugs. These aspects are behavioural, physical and psychological aspects. If a loved one is showing any of the signs and symptoms, they may require professional help.

Physical changes and warning signs of drug abuse

Physical signals of drug addiction may depend on which substance is being used. Common physical signs for a range of drugs can include, but are not limited to:

• Bloodshot eyes, and/or pupils large or smaller than usual
• Sweating or shaking
• Changes in appetite and sleeping patterns
• Changes in personal grooming habits
• Deterioration of physical appearance
• Cold-like symptoms; runny nose or sniffling
• Sudden weight loss or weight gain
• Tremors, slurred speech, impaired coordination
• Unusual odours on the breath, body and clothing

A drug abuser may also show signs of psychological distress, such as anxiety, depression, and hallucinations. If you have noticed any of these changes, contact our professional drug rehab clinic on 0800 955 09 45 today.

Behavioural warning signs of drug abuse

Signs of drug abuse aren’t always that obvious, and don’t manifest themselves in very physical ways, such as fighting, or harming others. Behavioural symptoms aren’t always that easy to spot if you aren’t very close to the individual. BUT – it’s a good idea to ‘keep tabs’ on them if you suspect drug abuse. Common behavioural signs can include, but are not limited to:

• Causing difficulties in relationships
• Engaging in secretive or suspicious behaviour
• Getting into legal trouble, fighting, accidents, illegal activities, and even driving under the influence
• Neglecting responsibilities at work, school and home – including neglecting children
• A sudden change in choice of friends where they meet/congregate, and hobbies that they take part in
• An unexplained need and want for money – and financial problems. They may borrow and/or steal money
• They may use drugs under dangerous conditions (this could be using dirty needles, or perhaps driving while using drugs)

Behavioural warning signs of drug addiction

Any drug use doesn’t automatically lead to abuse, and there is no specific point at which drug use moves from casual to problematic. Drug abuse and addiction is less about the type or amount of the substance consumed or the frequency of your drug use, and more about the consequences of that drug use. If the drug use is causing problems in that person’s lives, they are more likely to be suffering from drug addiction. Signs can include, but are not limited to:

• Using drugs to avoid or relieve withdrawal symptoms (such as nausea, restlessness, insomnia, depression, sweating, shaking and anxiety)
• Increased drug tolerance (or the need to use more of the drug to experience the same effects the individual used to achieve with smaller amounts
• Loss of control over drug use (using more that they first desired, the inability to stop
• Their life revolves around drug use; they always think of using, working out how to get more
• They abandon enjoyable activities such as sport and socialising to use drugs
• They continue to use drugs regardless of previous negative consequences such as infections, depression, blackout and mood swings

Psychological warning signs of drug abuse

Prolonged use of drugs can have sustained effects on that individual’s manner. They may:

• Appear fearful, anxious and paranoid for no reason
• Have lack of motivation and seem tired and spaced out
• Have periods of strange sudden energy, or ‘nervous energy’
• Show signs of mood swings, angry outbursts or increased irritability
• Have an unexplained change in personality or attitude

Withdrawal symptoms

Many suffering from drug abuse can experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop taking drugs. Common withdrawal symptoms may include:
• Sweating
• Anxiety and depression
• Restlessness
• Flu-like weakness and aches and pains

Withdrawal symptoms can be extremely difficult to endure. At The Providence Projects we offer comprehensive detox programmes, with experienced experts who understand the physiology and psychology of withdrawal.

Neglecting responsibilities

A drug problem can build up slowly, especially if a user increases their drug use over time. Over time obtaining drugs and using them becomes increasingly important. Prioritising drugs can often lead to day-to-day responsibilities being put aside. If a loved one is neglecting their job or family responsibilities, this may be a sign that drug use is now a physical need rather than a voluntary choice. The Provide Projects offer private drug rehab programmes to help every individual recover from their drug addiction.

What to do if someone is suffering from drug abuse

If you think that someone has a drug problem, don’t ignore it and hope it will go away. There are several things you can do:

Say something. Try and talk to the individual about your worried and concerns, and offer your help and support. The earlier that the individual seeks help, the more chance they have of full recovery. Don’t wait until they get worse to intervene. Be prepared for that person to reject any help and to be in denial.

Don’t go it alone. It’s easier to help someone with addiction when you have help. Ensure that you have others that you can talk to and can lean on for support. Also bear in mind that drugs can make people behave aggressively and out of control. Don’t put yourself in any dangerous situations.

Never blame yourself. Supporting someone with a drug addiction is a huge thing to do; you can encourage treatment but remember you can’t force an addict to quit drugs. No one can control anyone else’s decision. Let that person accept that they have an addiction, and support them on their recovery.

If you would like more information about drug addiction or alcohol addiction, please contact our experience team of experts at The Providence Projects, a private rehab in Bournemouth on 0800 9550945.

Bradley Hill

Bradley Hill recommends Providence Projects
5 December 2018  

The Providence project was an amazing place and was a turning point in my life. I was a client for six months in 2011, successfully completing the primary and secondary stage. I had nearly no understanding of my illness or how to cope with life in life’s terms until I went there and with the support of all the staff, began to manage my feelings and emotions and gain coping mechanisms to live life clean and sober. Everything about the Provy is designed to give you the best therapeutic care possible, and at the core of this is all the staff, some of the most amazing peo... See more


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