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The Pathway to a Nulife

What Are the Signs of Drug Abuse?

Man sits on steps contemplating the signs of drug abuse

Addiction has impacted every corner of our nation. Whether someone develops a dependency on prescription drugs or self-medicates with illicit substances, substance abuse is common. Contrary to popular belief, many people living with substance abuse maintain relatively normal lives. Knowing how to spot the signs of substance abuse can help you and your loved ones seek help when necessary. Substance abuse treatment is the safest, most effective way for the whole family to recover.

If you or someone you love is struggling with drugs or alcohol, call NuLife Behavioral Health today. Our dual diagnosis substance abuse treatment programs provide family-friendly outpatient care for young adults and young professionals across Massachusetts. Whether you or a loved one are struggling with addiction or a co-occurring disorder, our programs can help. Call us now at 888.568.2057 to learn more about how to talk to your loved one about our addiction treatment programs.

Common Signs of Substance Abuse and Addiction

Addiction is a treatable disease. Most habit-forming substances lead to addiction because they release high levels of dopamine, creating a dopamine-reward effect. When the brain receives high levels of dopamine, it will want more. The more of a substance someone takes, the less natural dopamine the brain will make. This keeps a person’s brain craving more dopamine from various substances and can also stop the brain from making dopamine altogether.

When someone is also living with a co-occurring disorder like anxiety or depression, addiction can happen more quickly with more intense signs and symptoms. Signs of substance abuse and addiction can include:

  • Manic behavior
  • Changes in social groups
  • Lack of interest in favorite activities
  • Self-isolation
  • Secretive behavior
  • Increased drinking or sudden drinking
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Increased fatigue
  • Sleeping during the day
  • Mood swings
  • Erratic behavior
  • Reactionary behavior
  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Self-harm
  • Changes in weight
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Confusion
  • Paranoia
  • Panic attacks
  • Acting intoxicated
  • Changes in work or school performance

Depending on the type of drug and how it is taken, there may be visible physical signs like track marks, red eyes, damaged nasal passages, bloodshot eyes, and skin picking. Stimulants and depressants may have different effects, but both will cause changes in behavior, mood, and thought patterns. If someone is abusing substances, they will likely hide drug or alcohol use from loved ones. They may steal prescription medication or alcohol from home or from others. While everyone’s mood and behavior fluctuate from day to day, substance abuse will cause lasting changes in behavior, mood, and personal hygiene. Major shifts in mood can be a sign of substance abuse and underlying mood disorders or unprocessed trauma.

Learn More About Substance Abuse Treatment Options in Massachusetts

Today, at least half of people struggling with substance abuse have co-occurring mood disorders like OCD, ADHD, and anxiety. Dual diagnosis treatment can be the most successful approach to recovery.  If you need or your loved ones are struggling with substance abuse, know you are not alone. At NuLife Behavioral Health, we know how hard it can be to help loved ones through every stage of recovery. Our family-focused programs can help loved ones reconnect and hold each other accountable through each stage of addiction treatment. With a range of outpatient treatment programs for mental health, depression, anxiety, and addiction, we have the program for you.

Call NuLife Behavioral Health Today to Get Started with Treatment Today

Substance abuse can affect the whole family. Don’t let drugs and alcohol take over your lives.  If you’re ready to learn more about how our team can help you and your loved ones overcome addiction and mental health disorders, call us now at 888.568.2057 to get started.