How to Identify Drug Abuse

Identifying drug abuse early increases the chances that a person can be successful in quitting. Read on to find out more about signs that a person is struggling with drug abuse. Details here.

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Substance abuse treatment can be more successful when an alcohol addiction problem or a drug problem is identified in the early stages. If a person enters treatment early, before they hit rock bottom, they’ll typically have an easier time overcoming their addiction. How can you identify drug abuse? And what do you do next? More here, with a section for your questions at the end.

Identifying drug abuse

Overcoming drug abuse is one of the best things that a person can do for themselves. Not only will they be able to start working on a healthier lifestyle, but they’ll also have a safer and more stable home life. So, when identifying drug abuse, how do you start?

How to tell if someone has a problem with drug abuse

If you need to tell if someone has a problem with drug abuse or drug addiction, there are a number of physical and behavioral signs that you should watch for. Some of the most common signs are listed below.

  • anxiety and irritability
  • changes in attitude or friends with no identifiable cause or reason
  • confusion
  • constant need for money
  • hyperactivity or lethargy
  • mood swings
  • needle marks
  • physical withdrawal symptoms when not taking the drug
  • poor work or school performance
  • preoccupation with doing or obtaining drugs
  • problems with coordination
  • red eyes
  • runny nose
  • tremors and shakiness
  • unusual weight loss or weight gain

Before a person can enter drug abuse treatment, they must first be diagnosed with a drug addiction. This can be done by a general doctor or an addiction specialist, such as a licensed counselor or psychologist. After undergoing a physical examination, a person will then answer questions about their drug use. The physical examination and the answers to the questions will be used to help a doctor make a diagnosis.

Identifying drug abuse…now what?

FIRST, Select a treatment program. Getting a person into treatment when they are ready to address drug abuse is crucial. Once they are ready to enter treatment, they can meet with an addiction treatment for an assessment. But you probably need to do some ground work (research) first. Depending on a person’s individual situation, their addiction treatment plan might include inpatient or intensive outpatient treatment, followed by a stay in a halfway house. Recovering drug abusers can also expect to go to outpatient meetings for months or years after they complete their initial treatment.

SECOND, Plan an intervention. Unfortunately, many drug addicts may be in denial about having a problem. In this case, they are unwilling to admit to themselves or others that they are addicted to drugs at all, and most likely believe that they can stop whenever they want. This typically isn’t the case, and they usually need to be convinced to go into drug rehab. This is when a planned and supervised intervention can help. During an intervention, a drug abusers loved ones gather together and confront them about how their drug abuse affects everyone around them. Speak with an addiction treatment center or a professional interventionist for more info.

Help for drug abuse questions

Helping a loved one take the steps to overcome a drug abuse problem can be confusing, frustrating, and heartbreaking. Keep in mind that you’re not alone – we’re here to help you and your loved one every step of the way. So, please feel free to leave your concerns and questions about help for drug abuse in the comments section below, and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

Reference Sources: NIH: Signs of Drug Abuse and Addiction
Saint Paul Minnesota: Drug & Alcohol Abuse (signs & symptoms)
ABC Commission North Carolina: Signs and Symptoms of Drug Abuse
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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