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Warning Signs of Drug Abuse

Use of recreational drugs, over the counter medications or prescription drugs can lead to substance use issues. It can frequently lead to problems at work, home, school, and in relationships, and leave the user feeling isolated, helpless, or shamed. If you’re worried about your own or a loved one’s drug use, it’s helpful to know the warning signs and more importantly, that help is available and treatment works.

Common signs and symptoms of drug abuse

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  • Neglecting responsibilities at school, work, or home
  • Risk taking when you’re using, such as driving, having unprotected sex
  • Legal trouble, such as arrests for disorderly conduct, driving under the influence 

Physical warning signs of drug abuse

  • Bloodshot eyes, pupils larger or smaller than usual
  • Changes in appetite, sleep patterns, physical appearance
  • Unusual smells on breath, body, or clothing, or impaired coordination

Behavioral signs of drug abuse

  • Drop in attendance and performance at work or school
  • Engaging in secretive or suspicious behaviors
  • Sudden change in friends, favorite hangouts, and hobbies

Psychological warning signs of drug abuse

  • Unexplained change in personality or attitude
  • Sudden mood swings, irritability, spaced-out, or angry outbursts
  • Appears fearful, anxious, or paranoid, with no reason

Recognizing there’s a problem is the first step on the road to recovery, which often takes tremendous courage and strength.  If you’re ready to face your addiction and are willing to seek help, you have the opportunity to build a satisfying, drug-free life for yourself.

For immediate help and information on treatment, contact the Redline
Phone: (800) 889-9789

Source: The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Inc.
The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD) is a voluntary health organization dedicated to fighting the nation’s #1 health problem – alcoholism, drug addiction, and the devastating consequences of alcohol and other drugs on individuals, families, and communities.