In many cases, family members and friends provide the push required for a person with drug or alcohol problems to commit to substance treatment.
In the United States, roughly 8 percent of all people age 12 or older have diagnosable problems with excessive drug or alcohol use[i]. This high rate of occurrence makes it likely that almost everyone knows someone who is affected. However, not everyone knows what to look for when they suspect that a friend or loved one is engaged in substance abuse. A brief explanation of the likely signs will make it easier to determine who needs help.
People who begin abusing drugs or alcohol may also go through a range of other life changes. Examples include:
Friends and family of people involved in substance abuse may also notice the theft of money or the unexplained disappearance of valuable items.
Each form of substance abuse produces its unique telltale signs. Alcohol is the world’s most widely consumed addictive substance. Indications of alcohol use and abuse include[iii]:
In people who abuse cocaine or other stimulant drugs or medications, signs of a developing pattern of abuse may include such things as[iv]:
In some ways, the signs of abuse in people who consume opioid drugs or medications are the opposite of the signs in people who consume stimulants. However, the indicators can also be quite similar. Things to look for include:
Many people view marijuana/cannabis as a harmless recreational drug. However, excessive consumption of this drug can lead to serious problems with abuse and/or addiction. Possible signs of marijuana/cannabis abuse include:
Benzodiazepines are a group of widely prescribed tranquilizer/sedative medications. Other members of this medication category include barbiturates and hypnotics. A person who abuses a tranquilizer can show signs such as:
Club drugs are a loosely defined group of substances that includes MDMA (Ecstasy, Molly), ketamine, Rohypnol (flunitrazepam) and GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyric acid). While these substances differ from each other, they can produce similar signs of abuse in users. These signs include:
Inhalants are widely used commercial products that sometimes get turned into targets of improvised substance abuse. While other forms of abuse occur more often in adults than teenagers and children, inhalant abuse occurs most often at a young age. Signs of inhalant abuse include:
Not everyone who shows signs of substance abuse is actually involved in substance use. Detection of problems in teenagers can be especially difficult, since teens naturally go through periods of defiance, mood changes and behavioral changes. However, anyone who suspects a pattern of abuse in a friend or loved one should not discount this possibility. In many cases, family members and friends provide the push required for a person with drug or alcohol problems to commit to substance treatment.
Transformations Treatment Center provides premier services for people affected by drug or alcohol problems. Whether the extent of these problems is mild, moderate or severe, our staff of certified addiction specialists is here to help.
In addition to primary substance treatment, we feature individualized programs for people affected by secondary issues that can complicate the treatment process. These issues include PTSD associated with military service or the aftereffects of trauma and sexual abuse. No matter what kind of assistance you or your loved one need, our goal is to create the smoothest possible transition from addiction into sobriety and a substance-free daily routine.