Drugs abuse or addiction is defined as the need to use a substance continually despite all the negative consequences that it can have on the health and the mind. It is a growing problem in current society, since people of any age and from any social condition can start using recreational or prescribed drugs occasionally and developing a subsequent addiction.
It can be very hard to recognize that you or someone in your family has developed a drug addiction, but there are some signs that can turn the alarms on.
1.- Neglecting responsibilities: When a person neglects his/her daily activities or uses drugs during school, work, or while performing personal obligations (like taking care of a child), he/she has developed an addiction. Not taking care of your responsibilities means that drugs are now the most important thing in your life.
2.- Changing your family and friends for unhealthy friendships: When a person starts using drugs, he/she tends to have increasing problems with his/her family and old friends because they try to make him/her to stop consuming, so the addict looks for new “friends” that have the same unhealthy habits and “support” him/her.
3.- Become lonely: In some cases, the person that has an addiction doesn’t look for new friends, they just go away from their loved ones and adopt a reclusive and private behavior to hide their drugs use or to avoid the reproaches.
4.- Spend the time looking for drugs: If a person wastes most of his/her time and energy looking for drugs, or using them, the problem can be bigger than you think because drugs have become his/her priority now.
5.- Financial troubles: An addict can spend a huge amount of money buying drugs, in some cases he/she can go out of his/her budgets, seek loans, or spend the family estate only to get more drugs.
6.- Physical signs of consumption: When a person uses drugs, he/she usually has bloodshot eyes, pupils become larger or smaller than usual, he/she experiences changes in appetite or sleep patterns, sudden weight loss or weight gain, deterioration of physical appearance and personal grooming habits, tremors, or impaired coordination.
7.- Buying drug “accessories”: If a person discovers and acquires new articles such as cigarette wrapping papers, pipes, syringes, burnt spoons, among others, it means that he/she considers drugs “a hobby” or “a recreational activity”.
8.- Considering “normal” a frequent drugs use: This is very common in the abuse of prescription drugs; the person usually uses more drugs than he/she initially took and thinks that it is normal. Likewise, a person that uses illegal substances starts thinking that it is normal and includes the habit in his/her daily activities.
9.- Withdrawal symptoms: When a person has physical or emotional symptoms during abstinence periods, it means that the body is so used to the drug that it “needs it” to function normally. These symptoms can be a headache, insomnia, irritability, anxiety, among others.
10.- Drug tolerance: If a person needs a higher amount of drugs to feel the same effect it means that the body has adapted to its presence. It is more usual when the drug has been used for a long period of time.
It is also important to remember that having just one of this signs doesn’t mean that you’re an addict, but if you or a relative of yours have one of them, it is important to look for help in order to determine if it really is a drugs problem and treat it as soon as possible.
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