SIGNS & SYMPTOMS OF DRUG ADDICTION & ALCOHOLISM

Because of the multitude of addictions, there is not a single set of parameters that one looks for when seeking to look for the medical, psychiatric and emotional signs and symptoms of drug addiction and alcoholism. Each addiction creates its own set of problems. Looking for someone who has any of the following incomplete list of the signs and symptoms of drug addiction and alcoholism may indicate a substance abuse problem.

MEDICAL SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF DRUG ADDICTION AND ALCOHOLISM

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Agitation
  • Headache
  • Tremor
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • Weight loss
  • Poor appetite
  • Apparent intoxication
  • Incoordination
  • Yellowing of eyes and skin
  • Broken capillaries (especially in the nasal area)
  • Unexplained bleeding and bruising
  • Increase in abdominal size
  • Blackouts
  • General memory problems
  • Poor hygiene
  • Flushed skin
  • Rapid aging

This category includes the natural, semi-synthetic, and synthetic opiates (opioids), like morphine, codeine, heroin, Demerol (meperidine), Oxycontin (oxycodone), Vicodin (hydrocodone), Dilaudid (hydromorphone), methadone, fentanyl (Duragesic, Actiq), and buprenorphine (Subutex/Suboxone).

  • Sedation or drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Poor appetite
  • Sweating
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Obvious intoxication
  • Nodding off
  • Decreased respirations
  • Constricted pupils
  • Chronic constipation
  • Effects of infections obtained through illicit drug use, like Hep. C. HIV, and other STDs
  • Infections from injection site reactions, including abscesses, pneumonia, sepsis and a weakened immune system
  • Destruction of veins and skin from chronic IV drug use
  • Pulmonary embolism from infections and contaminants in the drug after being prepared by the user

This category includes amphetamine, methamphetamine, cocaine, diet pills and some other synthetic drugs like XTC (MDMA).

  • Fatigue
  • Scarring, abscess, or other infections from IV use
  • Poor hygiene and grooming
  • Agitation
  • Increased alertness
  • High energy
  • Dilated pupils
  • Rambling speech
  • Irritability
  • Delusions and hallucinations
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Sweating
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Poor appetite and weight loss
  • Nasal congestion, bleeding from nose, damage to nasal structure from snorting
  • Skin picking and skin infections and scarring from picking
  • Poor dentition (poor oral hygiene and loose of teeth and gum tissue)
  • Seizures and psychosis in overdose
  • Abnormal mouth movements

This category includes benzos like Valium (diazepam), Ativan (lorazepam), Xanax (alprazolam), Klonopin (clonazepam), and others, and barbiturates like Phenobarbital, Amytal (amobarbital), secobarbital (Seconal), and butalbital (Fiorinal).

  • Lethargy
  • Fatigue
  • Apparent intoxication
  • Slurred speech
  • Incoordination
  • Poor concentration, memory problems, and blackouts
  • Involuntary eye movements
  • Poor inhibition
  • Dizziness
  • Decreased respirations
  • Blood pressure and heart rate abnormalities – especially decreased blood pressure

Marijuana can be smoked, eaten, used as an oil, vaporized in an e-cigarette, and other ways.  There are creams, oils and ointments on the market.

  • Changes in visual, auditory and taste perception
  • Hunger
  • Dry mouth
  • Red eyes
  • Increased blood pressure and heart rate
  • Poor reaction time
  • Paranoia and sometimes hallucinations
  • Body smells like “pot”
  • Decreased mental sharpness
  • Reduced interest in the outside world, including friends, family and work

Drugs like Spice and K-2 (synthetic “marijuana”) and synthetic stimulants (cathinones, bath salts) are included in this group, as is flakka.

  • Agitation and irritability
  • Increased energy
  • Relaxation
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Increase heart rate and blood pressure
  • Vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Panic attacks
  • Violence and psychosis

PSYCHIATRIC/EMOTIONAL SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF DRUG ADDICTION AND ALCOHOLISM

 

  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts, gestures, or attempts
  • Poor sleep patterns
  • Changes in mood and personality
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Poor attention span
  • Psychosis
  • Hallucinations or delusions
  • Paranoia
  • Isolation
  • Poor self-esteem and low self-worth
  • Impulsiveness
  • Lack of fulfilling family, work and school obligations
  • Legal problems
  • Financial problems
  • Violence in and outside of the home
  • Cravings

 

 

This category includes the natural, semi-synthetic, and synthetic opiates (opioids), like morphine, codeine, heroin, Demerol (meperidine), Oxycontin (oxycodone), Vicodin (hydrocodone), Dilaudid (hydromorphone), methadone, fentanyl (Duragesic, Actiq), and buprenorphine (Subutex/Suboxone).

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Apathy
  • Fear
  • Poor spatial memory
  • Impaired working memory
  • Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness
  • Euphoria
  • Cravings
  • Insomnia
  • Lack of financial, housing, and work stability
  • Sudden mood changes
  • Changing close relationships, or getting into frequent arguments with loved ones
  • Lack of responsibility in taking care of obligations
  • Sexual dysfunction

 

 

This category includes amphetamine, methamphetamine, cocaine, diet pills and some other synthetic drugs like XTC (MDMA).

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Obsessive-Compulsive disorder
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Mania or hypomania
  • Cravings
  • Paranoia, hallucinations, or delusions
  • Psychosis
  • Euphoria
  • Feelings of grandeur and super-human strengths of abilities
  • Poor hygiene
  • Increased motor activity, jitteriness
  • Sexual acting out with resultant STDs or unwanted pregnancies

 

 

This category includes benzos like Valium (diazepam), Ativan (lorazepam), Xanax (alprazolam), Klonopin (clonazepam), and others, and barbiturates like Phenobarbital, Amytal (amobarbital), secobarbital (Seconal), and butalbital (Fiorinal).

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Insomnia
  • Erratic behavior
  • Sleep walking, sleep eating, or sleep driving without having a memory of the event
  • Hiding pills or doctor shopping
  • Other illegal behaviors
  • Failure to meet obligations
  • Delirium
  • Short- and Long-term memory impairment
  • Organizing behavior around obtaining the drug(s)
  • Agitation
  • Disinhibition
  • Feelings of anger and violence

 

 

Marijuana and other THC-containing compounds: Marijuana can be smoked, eaten, used as an oil, vaporized in an e-cigarette, and other ways. There are creams, oils, and ointments on the market that contain THC.

  • Euphoria or other pleasant effects
  • Anxiety
  • Disinterest and apathy
  • Distortion of reality (time, place, people, and events)
  • Emotional withdrawal
  • Changing interests or dropping all interests
  • Fatigue

 

 

Drugs like Spice and K-2 (synthetic “marijuana”) and synthetic stimulants (cathinones, bath salts) are included in this group, as is flakka.

  • Periods of extreme hyperactivity
  • Psychosis
  • Euphoria
  • Increased energy and alertness
  • Increased sensory experiences
  • Increased sex drive
  • Agitation
  • Aggression
  • Anxiety
  • Panic Attacks
  • Delusions, paranoia, and hallucinations
  • Inability to manage one’s obligations
  • Suicidality
  • Self-injurious behavior
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Changing set of friends, or frequent arguments with family members
  • Altered perceptions
  • Confusion

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