Alcoholism: Risk Factors, Signs, and Symptoms

With the number of teens and adults abusing drugs on the rise, more and more families are being forced to face the war on drugs in their own homes. Whether it is to marijuana or meth, addiction is nothing to scoff at, and with early recognition of the signs and symptoms you can take the first steps toward recovery.

There are several drugs currently on the market that are listed as illicit or dangerous because of their highly addictive nature and extremely negative physical and psychological effects. These include marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and prescription drugs (when not prescribed by a doctor). While each one of these drugs has their own list of symptoms, there are many signs that are common to them all. Some of the most common physical signs include:

  • Cycles of excessive energy and excessive sleep
  • Restlessness
  • Sudden weight gain or loss
  • Slow movement, speech, and reaction
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Increased heart rate or blood pressure
  • Unexplained changes in clothing (ie: long sleeves to cover scarring from needles)
  • Increased sinus problems or nose bleeds from snorted drugs
  • Chronic cough, increased mucus and blood from smoked drugs
  • Sudden decrease in oral/ dental health

There are also long-term physical effects that include blockages in the heart valves, heart lining infections, chronic respiratory problems, and many more. However, even the physical symptoms are not restricted solely to the individual. Child abuse and neglect occur more frequently in homes where drugs are present.

Also, female drug addicts can cause permanent damage to their unborn children if they use while pregnant.
While the physical symptoms of drug abuse can be sever and life threatening, the mental and psychology effects can be just as damaging to the individual, and even more so to the family. Because consistent drug use alters the chemical make-up of the brain, the mood and personality are often severely distorted. The list of psychological symptoms often includes:

  • Increased irritability/ agitation
  • Depression
  • Apathy
  • Paranoia
  • Delusions, hallucinations
  • Low threshold for violence
  • Cycles of increased energy and unusual calmness

As a result of the combined changes in mood and personality and the ever increasing addiction, the addict’s judgment becomes exceedingly impaired. They will often be lead to steal money and items to sell to get more drugs. They may also feel the need to commit other crimes, such as burglaries, to fund their addiction.

Drug addiction is a nationwide epidemic that affects every individual, family, and community. By being aware of the signs and symptoms of drug addiction, we will be better equipped to recognize it when it comes knocking on our door. The sooner addiction is recognized, confronted, and treated, the more likely the individual is to recover and the better off our families and communities will be.


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