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Drug Addiction Symptoms

When an individual has a drug addiction there are many symptoms to be aware of. The drug addiction symptoms listed below are only a few in a long list of possible symptoms. Possessing only a few of these symptoms does not always imply that the individual in question is suffering from a drug addiction. Although, if the individual possess several and the possibility of drug addiction is a concern continue to be aware and supportive in their road of drug addiction recovery.

Drug addiction symptoms:

  • Slow or staggering walk; poor physical coordination.
  • Changes in sleeping habits -- inability to sleep, awake at unusual times; or unusual sleepiness, laziness, sleeping at strange times.
  • Red, watery eyes; pupils larger or smaller than usual; blank stare.
  • Cold, sweaty palms; shaking hands.
  • Puffy face, blushing or pale skin.
  • Smell of substance on breath, body or clothes.
  • Runny nose; hacking cough.
  • Unexplained nausea, vomiting or excessive sweating.
  • Tremors or shakes on hands, feet or head.
  • Irregular heartbeat.
  • weight loss.

 1. Tolerance, as defined by either of the following:

(a) A need for markedly increased amounts of the substance to achieve intoxication or desired effect.
(b) Markedly diminished effect with continued use of the same amount of the substance.
2. Withdrawal, as manifested by either of the following:
(a) The characteristic withdrawal syndrome for the substance .
(b) The same (or a closely related) substance is taken to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms.
3. The substance is often taken in larger amounts or over a longer period than was intended.

4. There is a persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control substance use.

5. A great deal of time is spent in activities necessary to obtain the substance (e.g., visiting multiple doctors or driving long distances), use the substance (e.g., chain-smoking), or recover from its effects.

6. Important social, occupational, or recreational activities are given up or reduced because of substance use.

7. The substance use is continued despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem that is likely to have been caused or exacerbated by the substance (e.g., current cocaine use despite recognition of cocaine-induced depression, or continued drinking despite recognition that an ulcer was made worse by alcohol consumption).

There are several different levels of alcohol and drug use that a person goes through prior to the final stage of Addiction/Dependence. Nearly everyone uses or has experimented with alcohol and other drugs. For our purposes we will concentrate on establishing four different and distinct categories or stages of addiction, they are: Use, Misuse, Abuse and Dependency/Addiction.

These are defined in the following way:

  1. Use - The ingestion of alcohol or other drugs without the experience of any negative consequences. If a high school kid had drunk a beer at a party and his parents had not found out we could say he had used alcohol. This can apply to any drug.
  2. Misuse - When a person experiences negative consequence from the use of alcohol or other drugs it is clearly misuse. A large percentage of the population misuses drugs or alcohol at some point in their lives, however this does not imply that the negative consequences are minor. For example, a 40-year old man uses alcohol on an infrequent basis, his employer throws a surprise party and the 40-year old man drinks more than usual and on the way home he is arrested for DUI. He does not really have a problem with alcohol but in this instance the consequences is not minor.
  3. Abuse - Continued use of alcohol or other drugs in spite of negative consequences. Lets go back to the 40-year old man who was arrested for DUI. If he had no substance abuse problem he would abstain from alcohol, getting a DUI would be enough of a deterrent. However, shortly thereafter this man goes to another party and there he drinks in excess and then gets behind the wheel of his car, this would be considered abuse.
  4. Dependency/Addiction - The compulsive use of alcohol or other drugs regardless of adverse or negative consequences. For example, a man received three DUI's in one year. He was on probation and would be sentenced to one year in prison if he was caught using alcohol but he continued to drink. The man would be clearly addicted to alcohol because the negative consequences did not impact or deter his use.

In the event that an individual is clearly in the first or second stage (use or misuse) there are no indications that he will naturally progress to the final stages. However, once the individual has reached the abuse stage there is a high probability that they will progress into dependency on the drugs or alcohol and professional help should be sought out.

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