Drug Abuse - Symptoms

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What were signs and symptoms of drug abuse in a friend or relative?

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What are symptoms and signs of drug abuse and addiction?

In order to be diagnosed with drug abuse, an individual must exhibit a destructive pattern of drug abuse that leads to significant problems or stress but not enough to qualify as being addicted to a drug. This pattern is manifested by at least one of the following signs or symptoms in the same one-year period:

  • Recurrent drug use that results in a lack of meeting important obligations at work, school, or home
  • Recurrent drug use in situations that can be dangerous
  • Recurrent legal problems as a result of drug use
  • Continued drug use despite continued or repeated social or relationship problems as a result of the drug's effects

In order to be diagnosed with a drug addiction, an individual must exhibit a destructive pattern of drug abuse that leads to significant problems as manifested by at least three of the following signs or symptoms in the same one-year period:

  • Tolerance is either a markedly decreased effect of the substance or a need to significantly increase the amount of the substance used in order to achieve the same high or other desired effects.
  • Withdrawal is defined as either physical or psychological signs or symptoms consistent with withdrawal from a specific drug, or taking that drug or one chemically close to that drug in order to avoid developing symptoms of withdrawal.
  • Larger amounts of the drug are taken or for longer than intended.
  • The individual experiences a persistent desire to take the drug or has unsuccessful attempts to decrease or control the substance use.
  • Significant amounts of time are spent either getting, using, or recovering from the effects of the substance.
  • The individual significantly reduces or stops participating in important social, recreational, work, or school activities as a result of using the substance.

The individual continues to use the substance despite being aware that he or she suffers from ongoing or recurring physical or psychological problems that are caused or worsened by the use of the drug.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: Lizzie, 25-34 Female (Caregiver) Published: May 17

I have a 27-year-old who is addicted to steroid inhalers. She uses them about 8-10 times a day. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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