It is important to remember that if an individual has any of the following symptoms it does not necessarily mean that he or she is using or abusing drugs and/or alcohol. The presence of some of these symptoms could be related to a host of other problems (i.e. stress, depression, anxiety). Whatever the cause, these symptoms may warrant attention, especially if they persist or if several of the symptoms are occurring simultaneously. The key thing to look for is change; be aware of significant changes in an individual’s physical appearance, personality or behavior.
- Mood Swings:
Virtually all mood-altering drugs produce a wide range of mood swings from euphoria to depression. A user may be passive and withdrawn one minute and angry or hostile the next.
- Personality Changes:
A normally energetic and outgoing person becomes chronically depressed and non-communicative.
Persistent blaming or claiming to be persecuted or victimized.
- Overly Emotional:
Inappropriately happy, depressed, hostile, or angry.
- Overly Self-Centered:
Always having to have one’s own way and will do anything to achieve it.
- Tendency to Manipulate:
Making excuses for failure or finding ways to have other people handle their problems or bear the consequences of their actions or behaviors.
- Strained Communication:
Unwillingness or inability to discuss important issues or concerns.
- Withdrawal from Family Activities:
Refusal to eat at family meals, participate in celebrations or holidays, or make any adjustments to accommodate normal family life.
- Change in Dress and Friends:
Sudden deterioration of long-term friendships/relationships; deterioration in personal appearance and hygiene; spending time with suspicious friends and/or co-workers.
- Lack of Self-Discipline:
Inability to follow rules, complete household chores, complete school assignments, perform work-related duties, keep appointments, or follow-through with commitments.
Little or no interest in meaningful activities such as clubs, hobbies, sports, or other activities.
- School and Work Problems:
Excessive tardiness or absences, decline in grades, erratic job performance, missed deadlines, failure to turn in assignments and take tests, school or work suspension, expulsion from school, loss of job(s).
- Anxious Behavior:
Chronic jittery, jerky, or uneven movements, fearfulness, compulsiveness, excessive talkativeness.
- Change in appearance:
Sudden gain or loss of weight.
- Poor physical condition:
Lack of coordination, stumbling, shaky hands, dizziness, consistently “run down” condition, chronic fatigue, irregular heartbeat.
Changes in eating habits such as loss of appetite or increase in appetite.
Bloodshot or watery, consistently dilated pupils.
- Frequent colds:
Sore throat, coughing, sniffling, body aches, flu-like symptoms.
- Digestive symptoms:
Nausea, vomiting, constipation.
Chronically inflamed or runny nostrils.
- Speech pattern:
Significant changes such as slurred speech, faster speech, slower speech.