Casual consumption of alcohol and drugs can eventually lead to a substance abuse disorder. Over time, those with this condition become more desperate and often turn to illegal behaviors to cope and find the things they need.
Recognizing the signs of a substance abuse disorder early may lead to a more successful outcome for everyone involved.
Physical signs to watch for
The United States Department of Health and Human Services provides the physical signs to watch for in someone with this disorder. One of the most obvious signs of abuse is pupils that are smaller or larger than normal and regularly bloodshot eyes. The person may also have significant shifts in sleep patterns and appetite. As the abuse becomes more significant, many stop caring about their appearance.
Behavioral signs to watch for
It may be easier to notice the behavioral signs of substance abuse before the physical signs. The person is often unable to maintain a relationship and may start acting suspicious or secretive. Sudden financial problems or an unexplained need for money may show that they are getting desperate. They may also stop doing the things they used to enjoy and neglecting responsibilities at school, work or home.
Psychological signs to watch for
Drug and alcohol abusers may be anxious, paranoid and fearful. They may lack motivation, seem distracted and be tired all the time. Sudden mood swings, angry outbursts and increased irritability are also common psychological signs of substance abuse disorder.
The signs of substance abuse disorder vary based on the drug the person is abusing. Some common drugs that are abused include stimulants, heroin, hallucinogens, inhalants, depressants and alcohol.