Signs and Symptoms

There are countless reasons why persons start using legal and illegal drugs. Drugs affect and alter the ways persons think, feel and behave over a period of time. Some drugs can actually affect the function and chemical balance of the brain

No two people possess absolutely identical characteristics. Therefore, it would be highly unlikely to predict the exact outcome of one person’s drug use situation when compared to another person with similar characteristics. However, there are some noticeable signs and general symptoms which can provide clues as to whether a family member, friend or co-worker may be using a drug.

Behavioural Symptoms

Although drug use and abuse can cause significant changes to a person’s mood, behaviour and habits, there is no one behavioural symptom which may indicate that a person may be using a drug.

• Aggression
• Attitude Changes
• Dramatic Shift In Priorities
• Hyper-activity
• Increased Irritability
• Involvement in Criminal Activity
• Lethargy
• Posting Erratic Social Media Messages
• Withdrawal from Social Groups

Physical Signs

There is no one physical symptom that may indicate a person is using a drug. Abrupt or irrational changes in physical appearance may be an obvious or noticeable sign of drug use.

The impact of drug abuse is further impacted by variables such as the drug type, amount, potency, frequency of use, method of drug use (drinking / smoking / injection).

Bloodshot Eyes
• Constricted / Dilated Pupils
• Dental Health Issues
• Deportment Changes
• Poor Physical Hygiene
• Skin Changes
• Sleeping Problems
• Unusual Body Odour
• Unexplained Weight Changes

Over time when a person continues to use a drug for a long time, their body adapts to the presence and effects. When this happens he / she ends up using increased amounts of the drug or stronger drugs in order to feel the same effects. This situation is referred to as tolerance.

Increased tolerance may cause a person to abuse a drug and this in turn may lead to drug dependence or addiction. At this stage the person may end up taking a drug overdose which could prove to be fatal.

Alcohol Abuse

No two persons are exactly the same. Different factors such as biology, age, family history, type of alcohol and frequency of alcohol use, influence the way alcohol may affect you. Persons who abuse or misuse alcohol may experience or exhibit any or a combination of the following signs and symptoms.

• Anxiety
• Black out
• Blurred vision
• Dizziness
• Drowsiness
• Excessive vomiting
• Fatigue
• Forgetfulness
• Hangover
• Headache
• Slurred speech
• Sleepiness
• Stammering
• Violence

Alcohol abuse or misuse may cause persons to consume an increased number of drinks per week or even use stronger types of alcoholic beverages to feel the same effects or to perform everyday tasks.

This habit may lead to mental and physical health problems and eventually alcohol addiction.

Tobacco / Nicotine / E-Cigarettes Abuse

Persons who abuse or misuse tobacco may experience or exhibit signs of any or a combination of the following behaviours:

• Attention Deficit
• Appetite Increase
• Depression
• Hypertension / High Blood Pressure
• Irritability
• Insomnia / Sleep Problems

Marijuana Abuse

Persons who abuse or misuse marijuana may experience or exhibit signs of any or a combination of the following behaviours:

• A motivational Syndrome
• Appetite Increase
• Blackened Lips / Finger Nails
• Drowsiness
• Enhanced Sensory Perception
• Hallucinations
• Impaired Balance / Coordination / Memory / Reaction Time
• Respiratory Infections