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Signs of addiction to different drugs

When it comes to addiction, the symptoms and side effects can vary depending on the substance.
When it comes to addiction, the symptoms and side effects can vary depending on the substance.
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Addiction to any drug can take a toll on the person, family, and lifestyle. The American Society of Addiction Medicine defines addiction as "a treatable, chronic medical disease involving complex interactions among brain circuits, genetics, the environment, and an individual's life experiences."

For some people, addiction can be anything from gambling and shopping to food. However, in most cases, it's usually associated with substance abuse. Some behavioral characteristics of addiction include the inability to control behaviors, cravings, withdrawal symptoms, and physical side effects—damage to major organ systems.

When it comes to substance abuse, these symptoms and side effects can vary depending on the drug.

Recognizing alcohol use disorder

While alcohol is legal, it comes with several dangerous risks. If the person is not careful, they can easily develop an addiction to alcohol. According to the Mayo Clinic, alcohol use can begin in teens. While alcohol use disorder is more common in people in their 20s and 30s, it can start at any age.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder, alcoholism is now referred to as alcohol use disorder. A person must be evaluated by a mental health professional and meet specific criteria to be diagnosed with the disorder. Diagnosis can range from mild to severe.

Here are some signs and symptoms of alcohol use disorder listed by the American Addiction Centers:

  • Poor coordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Impaired thinking
  • Memory impairment
  • Diverting energy from work, family, and social life to drink
  • Being secretive about their alcohol abuse
  • Engaging in risky behavior
  • Denial
  • More prone to accidents and injury
  • Lack of care for personal hygiene any physical appearance
  • Easily distressed about not having access to a drink
  • Moodiness, depression, or irritability

A person dealing with alcohol use disorder may also have involvement with legal issues like assault, domestic abuse, or drunk driving. They may show up intoxicated to school, work, or family functions.

Opioids, prescription drugs, and marijuana

Texas is one of many states currently facing an opioid crisis. Opioids mostly consist of prescription painkillers derived from morphine. Common opioids are hydrocodone, oxycodone, fentanyl, methadone, codeine, and tramadol. Many people who cannot obtain prescriptions turn to heroin and other potent substances. Sadly, thousands of people have died trying to get their hands on these drugs.

If a loved one is abusing opioids, they may experience drowsiness, euphoria, depression, constipation, pinpoint pupils, confusion, delirium, and changes in appetite. Other symptoms include:

  • Changes in use like taking it orally or crush pills for snorting
  • Rapidly searching for new ways to get more prescriptions (stealing from loved ones and purchasing on the black market)
  • Taking more than necessary to alleviate pain

People also struggle with addiction to heroin, benzodiazepines, methamphetamines, cocaine, and steroids.

Although recreational marijuana is legal in some states and may become more prevalent in the future, like alcohol, it's an addictive substance. Abuse can result in psychological, physical, and behavioral changes in the user.

If a loved one is using marijuana, you may notice red eyes and a significant increase in appetite. You may see a decline in school or work performance or personal responsibilities. They may spend more time with people who use marijuana or other drugs. Their living space may have bongs and rolling papers, and they may use marijuana-related slang like weed, pot, bud, trees, kush, and mota.

To learn how Northwest Texas Healthcare System Behavioral Health can help you or a loved one with addiction, visit their website online at or call 1-800-537-2585 or 806-354-1810 for a free assessment 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.

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