man smoking cigarette looking half dead

5 Warning Signs of Drug Use Everyone Should Know

The 12-Step programme and other holistic treatment approaches are highly effective in aiding addicts through recovery, but it is a fact that the longer that the addiction has existed for the person, the more difficult and long the road to recovery will be. Perhaps the best way to combat addiction is to raise awareness and acceptance of the disease and becoming informed of how to identify addiction before it is too late. Read on for information on five major warnings signs of drug use to look out for and what to do if you recognise any of these signs in yourself or someone you know.

1. Drug-seeking

It might start out on the weekends only, or maybe a regularly attended happy hour, but it is not normal for people to spend excessive amounts of time and energy finding and getting their drug of choice. One should also be aware of their motivation for seeking drugs – is it as an escape from stress or hardship, a result of pressure put on by colleagues or friends, or due to physical cravings for the drug. People may experience intense urges or cravings for the drug as their addiction develops.

With the rampant increase in opioid addiction, identifying drug-seeking behaviour has become a much-discussed topic among physicians in particular. Individuals who are addicted to painkillers, for example, may exaggerate symptoms of pain or shop around to different doctors or pharmacies to get the drug that they want.

2. Increased tolerance and withdrawal

Tolerance is another sign of drug use that is relatively easy to monitor if you are paying attention. When a drug is used repeatedly over time, the body naturally builds up a greater resistance to the drug. This causes people to continually increase dosage in order to achieve the same intensity of affect that they remember from their early use. Take notice of any increases in resistance for yourself or people you know. Be wary of using prescription painkillers for an extended period or steadily increasing the amount taken. For recreational drugs, an easy way to identify increased tolerance is if you are spending more money on your high or needing to use other substances to intensify the effects of your drug of choice.

As individuals continue to use drugs over a period of time, changes in physiology inevitably occur and leave people feeling badly when the drug has left their system. This process is called withdrawal. The longer the drug is used, the more intense the withdrawal can get until the person is too scared to discontinue use because he or she knows it will cause them to feel horrible. As tolerance increase, withdrawal symptoms may become more apparent, particularly when individuals are not able to access large quantities of their drug of choice.

3. Neglecting responsibilities

In the early stages of addiction, a person might think that they are able to maintain a balance between their normal life and using drugs, but as addiction advances, drug use will take precedence over work, relationship or personal obligations. It is possible that when people start using new substances, they may choose to spend more time with others who have similar habits and the people in this group will defend or legitimise irresponsible behaviour for selfish reasons.

Take a second look if you notice that people you know seem to have lost interest in things that once really mattered to them or consistently call out of work or cancel appointments.

4. Impaired judgment

Drug use in any amount can lead to impaired judgment. This is largely due to the effect that drugs have on our brains and bodies. The good feelings that we might initially get from using drugs cause us to ignore logic and reason in many cases. Poor judgment as a result of drug use might cause us to get in fights with people we care about, engage in risky behaviour like unsafe sex or driving under the influence, and make us more likely to gamble compulsively.

In the middle to late stages of addiction, however, a person’s standards for acceptable behaviour will continue to decline if it means preserving their ability to get and use drugs. They may do anything to obtain more like stealing, lying, or committing crimes. People may start by borrowing small amounts of money from friends and family, then start asking for more or even stealing from people who once trusted them. This sort of impaired judgment is another major warning sign of drug use and addiction.

What to do if you identify these signs of drug use

When it comes to signs of drug use, it is rare that any of the above-mentioned signs exist on their own. In fact, some signs actually help to hide others like dissolving family relationship or canceling appointments so that no one can see the physical symptoms. The best way to stop the cycle of addiction before it spirals out of control is to know what to look for and what to do when we recognise these early warning signs.

The Dawn Drug Rehabilitation Centre Thailand

For more information about warning signs of drug use and guidance on how to determine whether certain behaviours are evidence of a serious addiction, contact The Dawn today for a consultation at no charge.