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What are the Signs of Drug and Alcohol Abuse?

Drugalcohol1-300x212The signs of drug and alcohol abuse may be clear to you and no one else, clear to others and not to you, not clear to anyone or clear to everyone including yourself.

I have seen all those combinations over the years in my practice.

For over 50 years I have been exposed to people with alcohol and drug problems and drug addicts. People with alcohol and drug addictions often do not know or cannot recognise they have a problem. The problem may not only affect their life but the lives of those around them.

Signs and symptoms of drug and alcohol abuse

Withdrawals – feeling of terrible physical discomfort when you are not taking the substance.

Aches and pains – muscles hurt and feel very uncomfortable when you are not taking or are withdrawing from the substance.

Vomiting – can occur during withdrawal and in alcoholics during drinking.

Excess perspiration – occurs both during the use of the substance or particularly when not taking the substance.

Shivers and tremors – the body shakes when you are not taking the substance.

Emaciation – due to lack of nutritional intake and quality of nutritional intake. Low body weight and loss of body muscle.

Cirrhosis of the liver – alcohol severely damage the liver; it becomes fatty and unable to function properly.

Poor wound healing – substance abusers have very poor wound healing because their bodies are under stress. Sometimes wounds do not heal at all, leading to infection and  in some cases, death.

Loss of cognitive processes – substance abuse kills off brain cells. People are unable to process information like they once were able to do to such an extent they may be classified as disabled.

Loss of spatial awareness – inability to judge distances, may crash the car, fall over and are unable to find balance.

Accident prone – having physical accidents, can leave the gas ring on, flood the house, and so on.

Regret – that you took the substance.

Reported misbehaviour – other people were unhappy with the way you behaved under the influence of the substance.

Amnesia – unable to remember periods of time.

Legal transgression – go into trouble with the law while under the influence of the substance.

Anger and aggression – appears in those abusing alcohol and steroids and can occur during taking the substance and at times when they are not taking it. Other substance abusers may become angry and abusive when their supply of the substance is threatened.

Paranoia – a sense that some people may be against you.

Lying – many addicts do not tell the truth about themselves. They have a poor sense of reality. They are disconnected from the real world.

Theft – many addicts steal to feed their addiction.

Dissociation – unable to perceive what is real and what is not real.

Unable to work – the inability to hold down a regular job.

Financial instability – unable to manage money.

Poor social skills – many substance abusers never had good social skills in the first place. Many lose their social skills when they become addicted.

Loss of friends and relatives – people can only take so much bad behaviour and eventually they may desert a substance abuser.

Loss of social status – people can not only lose their job but also all their money.

Social exclusion – when people may know you have a substance problem and do not want you in their spaces.

Unemployable – employers do not want to employ people with substance abuse problems. Their business insurance is unlikely to cover them if there was an accident in the workplace.

Homelessness – due to inability to manage their money, many substance abusers become homeless.

Hopelessness – a sense that recovery is not possible and if it is, there will be no real rewards.

Fortunately, most of these scenarios have the potential to be reversed when the person becomes clean and sober.

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