Learn to Recognize the Signs of Substance Abuse

substance abuse

Did you know that 66% of Adults in the U.S. are using drug prescriptions?

Did you know that men are more likely to abuse substances than women? Anyone can fall into this dangerous trap.

Taking a closer look at your loved ones is a great way to learn about the signs of substance abuse so that you can help others who may be struggling.

Keep reading for all the information you need to be better prepared to spot signs of substance abuse.

Sudden Mood Swings

Substance abuse can manifest in various ways, one of which is through sudden mood swings. The sense of euphoria and dopamine rush provided by certain drugs can cause a person to experience drastic shifts in their emotions.

For example, a previously withdrawn person suddenly seems more outgoing and friendly. This can be a sign of drug use, as the “high” drugs can make someone more talkative.

Sudden outbursts of anger or sadness can indicate drug use. It is essential to know that it could be related to substance abuse. Be sure to take action by using evidence based drug treatment to help them.

Social Isolation

Substance abuse can take many forms, but one of the most common signs is social isolation. When someone is abusing substances, they tend to withdraw from social activities. They cut themselves off from friends and family members.

They might be absent from work or school. Sometimes, they cancel plans with loved ones for no apparent reason. It may become difficult to get ahold of them or keep in touch over the phone or via social media.

If a person is frequently using drugs or alcohol, they might seem moody, distant, or generally apathetic. Taking such changes seriously and intervening before their addiction worsens is essential.

Frequent Physical Injuries

Substance abuse is a serious issue that can have devastating physical implications. One of the more common signs of substance abuse is bodily injury. This can result from a variety of behaviors related to substance use.

One tell-tale sign is when a person experiences frequent physical injuries. This includes cuts, bruises, broken bones, and head trauma. These types of injuries can indicate excessive participation in hazardous activities while under the influence of drugs or alcohol or may result from careless behavior due to impaired judgment caused by substance abuse.

If you notice that someone has frequent physical injuries, it could be a sign they are struggling with substance abuse. Talk with them and consider getting them to help if necessary.

Changes In Sleep Habits

One of the first signs of substance abuse is changes in sleep habits. If a person goes through heavy drinking or drug use, they may experience insomnia and stay awake for long periods.

If the person takes a drug like an opioid, they may experience drowsiness and sleep more than usual. They may also experience lethargy and fatigue during the day due to a lack of restful sleep.

If you notice that a person is displaying any of these symptoms, it could be a sign of a problem with drugs or alcohol. It’s essential to take it seriously and seek professional help if concerns arise.

Decline In Academic Performance

Substance abuse can have a staggering effect on a person’s academic performance. In many cases, using drugs or alcohol can lead to a decline in academic performance. 

Additionally, difficulty staying focused in class or during work hours, difficulty recalling information, and a decline in test scores, can all be potential indicators of substance and alcohol abuse. If a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, it is essential to provide sources of support and resources to help them make better choices.

Talking to a school counselor or a therapist may be helpful to both the individual and their academic career. Ultimately, recognizing the signs of drug abuse and getting help is critical to reducing its adverse effects.


Substance abuse and depression often go hand in hand. When an individual is feeling grief, distress, and isolation, they may turn to drugs and alcohol to cope with the emotions they’re feeling. This can lead to a destructive cycle of substance abuse and depression that can ruin lives and cause serious long-term effects on one’s mental and physical health.

It is essential to recognize the signs that accompany depression and substance abuse. Someone who has begun to abuse drugs or alcohol may show symptoms of withdrawal from family, difficulty focusing, or even aggression. It is essential to be aware of the characters so that you can help those suffering from substance abuse and depression get the help they need.

Intense Cravings

Intense cravings are often a sign of substance abuse. Commonly described as an overpowering urge, cravings can occur when someone is exposed to triggers such as particular sights, scents, sounds, and thoughts associated with the use of drugs or alcohol.

For example, someone with a history of alcohol abuse may have an intense craving when encountering an environment or a person associated with past drinking. The same is true of someone who desires to use drugs- when exposed to specific triggers, their craving to use and inability to control their behavior increases.

Early intervention and treatment can help identify root causes and provide resources that can help prevent future relapse.

Financial Deficits

Financial deficits are often the most telling signs of a person struggling with substance abuse. People consumed by substance use often make poor financial decisions that leave them behind on bills, in debt, and unable to buy essential items.

These deficits can quickly become more prominent and out of control due to ongoing substance use that takes priority over paying bills. Substance users may also attempt to hide their deficits to seem unaffected. Lying or hesitant explanations of where money is going should be considered carefully. 

Medical Treatment For Substance Abuse

Recognizing the signs of substance abuse is essential so that individuals can get the help they need as soon as possible. It is necessary to build empathy and understanding of others around us. Today, educate yourself and your community on the symptoms of substance abuse – help save a life!

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