Drug Use and Addiction 101 (Part 2)

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Be on the look out for these signs of drug abuse

Drug use has many long-term and short term effects, but ultimately, none of them are positive. Heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana, ecstasy, and many other substances can have their own unique drug abuse symptoms, as follows:

Addiction is About What it Does to Your Life

Marijuana (Cannabis) bloodshot, glassy eyes; unnecessarily loud talking; sudden outbursts of laughter; sleepiness; weight loss or weight gain; loss of motivation
Depressants (includes Valium, Xanax, Xyrem, Ketamine) inexplicably narrow pupils; slow, drunk-like or clumsy movements; inability to concentrate;  impaired judgement; slurred speech; overpowering sleepiness
Stimulants (includes amphetamines, cocaine, methamphetamine) dilated pupils; hyperactivity followed by overpowering feeling of sleepiness; odd sleeping habits; feelings of euphoria; excessive and fast talking; irritability and anxiety; long period of sleeplessness and no appetite; dry mouth; dry nose; making gagging sounds; weight loss
Inhalants (includes aerosols, solvents, glues) watery eyes; impaired vision; losing train of thought; memory loss; rashes around the nose and mouth; nose secretions; sudden headaches and nausea; seemingly intoxicated or sleepy; clumsiness; sudden change in appetite; cans or aerosols in the garbage
Hallucinogens (includes PCP and LSD) dilated pupils; paranoia; outbursts of anger or aggression; hallucinations; detachment from environment and people; becoming absorbed on self or other objects; incomprehensible or slurred speech; confusion; mood swings
Heroin pupils are contracted or unresponsive to light; needle marks on arms or other body part; unusual sleep habits; sudden inexplicable sweating; loss of appetite; vomiting; excessive coughing and sniffling; unusual twitching or shaking
The Faces of Addiction

Illegal Drugs (c) Arei-chan

Below are other guides that may help you if you know of someone whom you suspect is taking some kind of drug:

Physical Signs

  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Dilated or narrow pupils
  • Obvious change in eating and sleep habits
  • Sudden weight loss or weight gain
  • Deteriorating hygiene and grooming
  • Unusual or unpleasant smells on breath, body or clothing
  • Tremors
  • Slurred speech
  • Uncoordinated movements

Behavioral Signs

  • Failure to show up at school or work or in appointments
  • Diminished performance at school or at work
  • Sudden unexplained need for money leading to financial problems
  • Secretive behavior, unexplained itinerary, not going home
  • Change in friends and social circle
  • Change of interests
  • Involvement in fights, accidents, and other negative events or incidents

Psychological Signs

  • Sudden and inexplicable change in personality
  • Unpredictable and inexplicable angry outbursts, sudden mood swings
  • Times of unusual hyperactivity, giddiness, irritability or agitation
  • Lethargy or “spacing out”
  • Paranoia
  • Difficulty to recognize reality from illusions, hallucinations

Teen Drug Use Causes Physical, Emotional and Mental Damage

How you can seek help for yourself or someone you know

If you are the one who are addicted to drugs, it would help to look at your life and see the big picture. Ask yourself some questions, like: What is happening to your life? Am I neglecting my school, work or family? Am I posing a threat to the safety of my family, friends, or that of my own?

These are just a few questions; and it will not help if you will try to rationalize or even justify your drug use. The first step towards recovery is acknowledging that you have a problem and you cannot do it along. For change to happen, that change must not be on your own terms–or else, it would be futile, sooner or later.

For change to happen, it must happen NOW. Putting if off for “tomorrow” for just “one more fix or hit” will find you further and further sinking into the trap of addiction. For an addict, “tomorrow” may be too late.

The road to recovery may be rough and difficult, but one of the keys to a successful recovery is having a support group which may consist of family, friends, therapists or counselors, fellow recovering addicts, and people in your religious community.

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