Home Lifestyle Health Understands the signs and symptoms of substance abuse disorder

Understands the signs and symptoms of substance abuse disorder

Understands the signs and symptoms of substance abuse disorder

Any type of addiction starts with only trying and experimenting with the substance once in a fun way. But, some people do not stop at once and keep trying which takes the form of addiction. While any substance can be misused, some substances are more likely to cause possession and addiction compared to others. It is imperative to spot signs of substance abuse in the early stage so that treatment may begin before addiction goes over-controlled.

According to the National institute on alcohol abuse and alcoholism, approximately 21 million people in the USA suffer from substance abuse disorder.

What is substance use disorder?

Substance use disorder (SUD) is a complicated condition in which a person uses a substance without thinking about the negative repercussions. It is a disorder that disturbs a person’s brain and their behavior, causing them to lose control over their drug or medicinal usage, whether legal or illicit. This includes substances like alcohol, nicotine, opioids, marijuana, and high-dose medications, among others.

Considering the signs and symptoms of substance misuse will assist you in determining whether or not there is a problem and when treatment is required. Since substance use can harm your loved one’s physical, mental, and emotional health, it is crucial to recognize the early signs and symptoms. Let us check the symptoms:

Initial signs and symptoms of substance use disorder

One thing to keep in mind is that the disorder is not only caused by a person’s behavior or lack of willpower but also due to some biological factors which are out of control. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of a substance use disorder can be the first step in receiving help and treatment.

Physical signs of substance use disorder:

  • Smaller or larger pupils with red eyes
  • Unexpected weight loss or weight gain
  • Change in eating habits
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia
  • Change in complexion like paleness or marks over the body
  • Shivers or unclear speech
  • Lack of personal hygiene
  • Runny nose
  • The strange odor from body, clothes, or even breathing

Psychological signs of substance use disorder:

  • Change in personality and behavior
  • Anxiety
  • Lack of motivation
  • Mood swings
  • Excessive energy or restlessness
  • Feeling “spaced out”
  • Aggression
  • Mental instability

Behavior signs of substance use disorder:

  • Misperception, misunderstandings, and hallucinations.
  • Change in attitude
  • Irritability
  • Not listening to anyone
  • Becoming secretive or suspicious
  • Uncontrolled use of the substance
  • Not performing or enjoying their favorite activities
  • Not taking care of duties at work, school, or home
  • Problems in relationships with family friends or loved ones
  • Cause trouble to others
  • Doing bad things such as rough driving, accidents, fighting, etc.
  • Lack of involvement in everything
  • Experiences financial insecurities which result in financial problems such as frequently asking for money, stealing money, etc.
  • Noting that their life revolves around substance abuse and recovery, e.g., always thinking about using or preoccupied with how to acquire the substance more.

Along with the general signs, specific signs of abuse are also linked with specific drugs or substances:

Signs of alcohol abuse:

  • Lying or hiding about their drinking habits
  • Regular bloodshot eyes
  • Blacking out or Dizziness
  • Guilt or loneliness
  • They start each day with a drink, feel terrible about their drinking, and some want to cut down on their consumption.


  • Inflamed eyes and droopy eyelids
  • Increased appetite
  • Fearful and doubtful
  • The person seems awkward and absent


  • Constipation or other intestinal issues
  • Fatigue and slower reaction in everything
  • Drowsiness, memory issues, and lack of concentration
  • Mood swings


  • Increased energy and fast breathing rate
  • Nasal blocking and damaged mucus membrane
  • Change in behavior and aggression
  • Argumentative behavior

Club drugs:

  • Tightened teeth and unclear speech
  • Increased  body temperature
  • Poor coordination
  • Excessive sweating
  • Unsteadiness

Physical, psychological, and behavioral signs and symptoms of substance use disorder might vary significantly from person to person. It also depends on the drug, the length and intensity of its usage, and the personality of the individual.

Final Thoughts:

Early intervention of these symptoms can save a person’s life from further destruction. Serious withdrawal effects, such as delirium tremens (DTs), a disease that can include hallucinations and life-threatening convulsions, are possible for individuals who have severe addiction. Therefore, the person abusing any substance should never try to quit the substance on their own; rather, medical detox is essential. Various substance abuse treatment centers situated in the country can help the person stop the abuse and recover from it.

The best substance abuse centers should be researched for your loved ones. To address the underlying issues associated with substance misuse, treatment should include both medical detox and counseling.

Understand the problems of your loved ones, family members, or friends. Stay with them, encourage them to seek help, and assist them in getting over their addiction through the rehabilitation process. Entrust them that they are not alone in the journey and motivate them to get better each day.

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