Signs and Symptoms of Substance Abuse
Here are some signs and symptoms to look out for if you are concerned
about the possibility of a loved one being involved with substance
abuse of any kind. Different drugs produce different effects resulting
in slight variations in outward indications. Some signs and symptoms
are specific to opiates and narcotics and distinct from those
experienced with Central Nervous Stimulants like Cocaine or depressants
The National Library of Medicine documents these telltale signs in drug-taking children that should alert parents:
* Change in friends.
Hanging out with a new group.
* Seclusive behavior - long periods spent in self imposed isolation.
* Long, unexplained absences.
* Lying and stealing.
* Involvement on the wrong side of the law.
* Deteriorating family relationships.
* Obvious intoxication, delirious, incoherent or unconscious.
* Changes in behavior and attitude.
* Decrease in school performance.
Always remember that any one of the above signs may not be enough to
indicate substance abuse but should be enough to suggest that there may
be a problem.
There are several other signs and symptoms that relate more
specifically to the mental and physiological effects of substance abuse.
An obvious sign of opiate and narcotic abuse is the tracks of needle
marks normally found on the upper arms of users. These needle marks
often turn into skin abscesses that may leave visible scars. People who
use this type of drug often cover up their arms even when the weather
suggests more appropriate wear.
Opiate and narcotic abusers will experience an accelerated heart rate,
constricted pinpoint pupils and a relaxed or euphoric state that may
lead to a dangerous level of respiratory depression resulting in coma
Other signs and symptoms of drug abuse are dilated pupils,
restlessness, hyperactivity, euphoria, slurred speech, disabled
co-ordination, decreased attention span and impaired judgment.
Government information from The National Library of Medicine in the Public Domain.