Symptoms of Drug Abuse

What are the Symptoms of Drug Abuse?

With addiction affecting people from all walks of life, it’s important to know to signs and symptoms of drug abuse to be able to realize a problem with your own substance use, and to be in a position to offer help to those around you with substance use disorder. Once drug dependence and addiction has formed, it can quickly start to interfere with many areas of a person’s life and health. These can serve as the indicators of a problem, allowing you to seek the appropriate aid. 

Learn more about the signs and symptoms of drug abuse here.

You may not know what drug they are abusing, or even if they are abusing a substance. In this article, we will examine the common behavioral and physical signs of drug addiction that tend to manifest regardless of the type of drug that is being abused.

Behavioral Symptoms of Drug Abuse

Most drugs will affect the reward center of the brain; the area of the brain the releases and controls dopamine and serotonin, which are the “feel-good” chemicals of the brain. However, their interaction with these and other systems has another affect: the person’s behavior changes as the substance abuse takes priority in their life, and due to the chemical imbalance that constant drug abuse causes.

Most of the symptoms of drug abuse that we will explore are based on the aftereffects of substance abuse. These tend to be due to withdrawal symptoms that occur due to drug dependence, and drug-seeking behavior. The following are some of the common behavioral substance abuse symptoms that manifest:

  • They may become involved with criminal activity in order to support their habit.
  • Work or social problems, such as tardiness or frequently being unreachable or cancelling last minute.
  • Drastic changes in their priorities and habits, such as no longer doing the things they used to enjoy.
  • Changes in their group of friends as the person associates more with other drug abusers.
  • Depression and anxiety.
  • Lethargy and a general lack of energy combined with moments of excess energy
  • Changes in the person’s personality and attitude.
  • They may become aggressive and irritable more easily or for no reason.

Physical Symptoms of Drug Abuse

One of the areas that become difficult for the addict to hide from others is the physical signs of drug addiction. As their abuse of the drug continues, the person’s body will begin to adjust to the constant presence of the substance, resulting in various negative changes.

One of the biggest concerns when it comes to substances such as heroin and prescription opioids is the development of a tolerance. A tolerance can be defined as the body’s resistance to the effects of a drug, caused by abusing high amounts of the drug. As the body gets used to the substance, the substance has less of an effect on the person, usually resulting in the person using more to compensate. The danger comes in when the doses are so high that overdose becomes a risk.

Some of the physical substance abuse symptoms include the following:

  • They struggle to get a good night’s rest or spend too much time sleeping.
  • Some drugs suppress a person’s appetite, and that may result in sudden weight changes.
  • Their eyes appear glazed or bloodshot, and their pupils become either diluted or constricted.
  • Tolerance
  • Withdrawal symptoms when they haven’t recently had their fix, such as anxiety, depression, aggression, nausea, vomiting, seizures, headaches, and insomnia among others.

If you are concerned that a loved one has become addicted to drugs, then contact WhiteSands today at (877) 855-3470 to discover your options and the best way to deal with the situation.


If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.