Drug addiction is a chronic, relapsing disorder that consists of compulsive drug seeking and misuse despite adverse consequences. Substance use disorders are considered brain disorders because they involve functional changes to the brain matter associated with reward, stress, and self-control. These changes can last longer than intended and well past the point where a person has stopped taking drugs. 

Warning Signs of Drug Addiction 

Similar to other diseases, such as heart disease, addiction can lead to severe harmful effects which may have been preventable. If left without treatment, addiction can alter individuals physically and mentally for a lifetime, eventually leading to death. 

If you suspect you or a loved one is experiencing addiction to a substance, here are some signs to watch for: 

  • Changing friend groups often 
  • Spending a lot of time alone 
  • Losing interest in your favorite things 
  • Not taking care of yourself or others 
  • Constantly being tired or sad 
  • Eating more or less than usual 
  • Being hyper, energetic, talking fast, or saying things that don’t make sense 
  • Missing important appointments 
  • Having problems at work or school 
  • Having difficulties in personal or family relationships

If you or someone you know has an addiction to cocaine, you don’t have to feel ashamed. There are many others who are addicted to this drug and it can be tough to quit on your own. You can reach out to us here at Harmony Healing Center and we will help you to overcome the addiction.

Dangers of Drug Abuse and Addiction 

One of the main dangers of drug abuse is the risk of lethal overdose. There are many potential downsides to abusing drugs, but losing your life is the worst scenario. Risk of overdose increases when you isolate yourself and refuse to allow anyone to help. Most drugs affect the brain’s reward circuitry and provide surges of feel-good hormones, such as dopamine and serotonin, that reinforce the use of medications as pleasurable.

This leads to people repeating the behavior repeatedly to their detriment.

Commonly Abused Substances

  • Marijuana 
  • Opioids (painkillers) 
  • Depressants (benzos, barbiturates, z-drugs) 
  • Stimulants (cocaine, meth) 
  • Hallucinogens

Marijuana Abuse

Individuals can take marijuana by smoking, eating, or vaping the drug. Cannabis is known as a “gateway” drug for other, more harsh substances such as alcohol and illegal drugs. 

Signs of recent abuse include: 

  • sense of euphoria 
  • heightened visual, auditory, or sensate perception 
  • increased heart rate 
  • high blood pressure 
  • red eyes 
  • dry mouth 
  • decreased coordination 
  • difficulty concentrating or remembering 
  • slow reaction times 
  • anxiety or paranoia 

Opioid Abuse

Opioids are narcotics used to treat pain, whether prescribed or obtained illegally. This class of drugs includes heroin, morphine, codeine, methadone, fentanyl, and others. What was once known as the “opioid epidemic” is now considered a fentanyl epidemic in the US. An alarming rate of fentanyl overdoses have and continue to occur since 2020. 

Signs of opioid abuse and addiction can include:

  • reduced pain 
  • agitation and irritability 
  • drowsiness and sedation 
  • slurred speech 
  • difficulty remembering 
  • small, pinpoint pupils 
  • lack of awareness 
  • problems with coordination 
  • depression 
  • confusion 
  • constipation 
  • runny nose and flu-like symptoms 
  • needle marks on the arm or between the toes

Depressant Abuse

Central nervous system depressants include benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and sleep medications, also known as z-drugs. These drugs are used to “switch off” fight-or-flight feelings and help promote relaxation.

Potential signs of CNS depressant abuse can include: 

  • drowsiness 
  • slurred speech 
  • lack of coordination 
  • rapid changes in mood 
  • memory issues 
  • involuntary eye movements 
  • lack of inhibition 
  • falls and accidents 
  • slowed breathing rate 
  • low blood pressure

Stimulant Abuse

Stimulants include amphetamines, meth, cocaine, and prescription medications such as Ritalin, Concerta, and Adderall. They’re commonly used to boost energy, improve work or school performance, and lose weight. 

Signs and symptoms of stimulant abuse can include: 

  • feeling happy and extra confident
  • increased alertness 
  • increased restlessness 
  • changes in behavior 
  • excess aggression 
  • rapid speech 
  • large pupils 
  • poor judgment 
  • insomnia 
  • depression as the drug wears off

Hallucinogen Abuse

Misusing hallucinogens can produce different symptoms depending on the drug. Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and phencyclidine (PCP) are the more frequently abused hallucinogens. 

LSD abuse may cause: 

  • hallucinations
  • reduced perceptions of reality 
  • impulsive behavior 
  • rapid shifts in emotions 
  • permanent mental changes in perception 
  • rapid heartbeat 
  • high blood pressure 
  • tremors 
  • flashbacks

PCP abuse may cause: 

  • feeling separate from your body 
  • hallucinations
  • aggressive, potentially violent behavior 
  • involuntary eye movements 
  • lack of pain sensation 
  • problems speaking or thinking 
  • poor judgment 
  • Intolerance to loud noises
  • some cases, seizures or coma

Finding Drug Addiction Treatment Near You

There’s hope for recovery no matter which substances you’re addicted to. Whether it’s one or multiple substances, the treatment team at Harmony Healing is here to assist you in achieving your sobriety goals. 

Contact our addiction treatment helpline today at: (888) 978-1697 or contact us online for more information. 

You can get your life back starting right now with one phone call.

Contact us today to get into an addiction treatment program or to help someone you know to do the same.

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