Opiates and other illegal drugs are highly addictive and people who are using them either for pain management or recreational use can easily get addicted without even realizing it. I know. It happened to me. There are many causes of addiction. For some people drugs provide a means to escape the harsh realities of life, and unfortunately for many addicts, the addiction was a result of experimentation that spiraled out of control. For most addicts today, it starts with a well meant prescription for painkillers. That was how it started in my case.
By being aware of some of the signs and symptoms of addiction, you might be able to get a loved one help early on, when it will be easier for both them and you to deal with.
Signs and Symptoms
- Physical signs of drug addiction will include confusion, change in responsiveness, decreased heart rate, slow respiration, increased blood pressure, frequent illness, blackouts, clammy and hot skin, sexual dysfunction, and sleepiness.
- A drug addict will display sudden changes in their behavior, such as mood swings, depression, aggression, violence, and unexplained anxiety.
- Drug addicts will start withdrawing themselves from family and spend more time in isolation. All of a sudden they will display a loss of interest for hobbies that they used to enjoy doing.
- There will be a noticeable decrease in the quality of their work in the office or performance in school.
- People who are addicted to drugs will have unexplained expenses and will seem to require more money than usual. If your teen asks for more allowance or if your loved one seems to be spending more money for unexplained expenses, then it is possible that they are using the money to purchase more drugs.
- Drug addicts will try to hide the addiction the best that they can and they will start to lie about their activities and will be very secretive. They can start getting involved in illegal activities such as stealing or fraud in their effort to find ways to finance their addiction.
- It is very common for drug addicts to suddenly display risky or thoughtless behavior where they put the safety of themselves as well as others in danger as the drugs affect their judgement.
- Once addicted to drugs, the person will feel that you need to take the drugs in order to go about their usual activities. Their body will require the drug in order to function normally and its absence will start the appearance of various withdrawal symptoms. After some time, they use the drugs not to feel good but in order to prevent these withdrawal symptoms from coming up and just to feel “normal”.
- It is very common for addicts to continue with the addiction even if they are aware of how it is negatively affecting them, their work, and their relationships. Since their body has become dependent on its use, they will often find it nearly impossible to stop even if they are watching things crumble around them.
To you, much of their behavior may seem irresponsible and irrational. It is. However, that is what drug addiction will drive them too. They are no longer thinking rationally or responsibly. Nearly everything will revolve around getting their next supply of their drug of choice. Everything else becomes secondary. It did for me.