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Substance abuse is a harmful habit that can have vast impact on an individual’s physical, mental and emotional well-being. The effects each substance has on a person and their community can vary on the abused chemical and their frequency of use. This is a list of commonly used drugs people abuse and the signs of their consumption:

Alcohol – When intoxicated, the drinker may exhibit signs of lethargy or euphoria, bloodshot eyes, mood swings, unusual openness and any other behavior that is considered out of character for the person. More long-term signs of dependence include driving, working or schooling while drinking and physical symptoms such as yellowing of the skin, poor liver function and overall decreased signs of health.

Cocaine – Cocaine is a stimulant leading to feelings of energy and alertness, even thoughts of supremacy. Users can also experience the exact opposite, such as irritability and heightened anxiety. Dilated pupils are common in most cocaine users. Cocaine also creates havoc in the heart, increasing chances of cardiovascular distress and disease.

Methamphetamine – Another drug leading to mental and physical hyperactivity, meth also decreases appetite and increases memory loss. Side effects over a long period time are particularly alarming. Hair loss, skin picking and tooth decay known as “meth mouth” can hurt the body in very permanent ways.

Synthetic marijuana – A misleadingly named class of drug, these kinds of chemicals can mess up both the body and mind of the user in unpredictable ways. There is no accountability for what goes in these drugs, so using them can do nothing in one try or cause hospital visits and deaths during another dose.

Sedatives – They work as titled, calming the user down. As prescribed, they are vital for doing
“no harm” during certain medical procedures proven stressful for patients, such as root canals or colonoscopies. People taking them will seem overly relaxed even during alarming situations. Overdoses can lead to heart problems and even death.

GHB – Often used as a date rape drug but can also have recreational use for some people. It creates an amnesiac effect as well as a depressing effect on the body, especially the heart. Other symptoms include delusions, depression and even a coma when used in higher doses.

Opioids – More commonly known as painkillers. Prescribed as hydrocodone and other generics, these drugs are among the most powerful and alluring due to their high risk of abuse. They create a sense of mental and physical pleasure in many users. Side effects also include euphoria, itching, decreased appetite, constipation and a host of other problems in recreational users possibly leading to death if overused.

Hallucinogens – Just as they sound, these drugs cause auditory, visual and other kinds of hallucinations in users. Other effects can differ among the type of hallucinogen used. For example, dissociatives make a user feel detached from everything going on around them and possibly create amnesia and depressive effects

Recognizing substance abuse can be an easy or difficult activity, depending on the addict and what they are using. Confronting an individual with their problem can be tricky, as they may go on the defensive and accuse loved ones of lying. Point out these general abuse symptoms when talking to them:

  • Backing out of social engagements to make more time for the drug in question. Friends and family may notice the addict decreasing communication altogether as their addiction gets worse
  • Loss of employment due to either abusing the drug on the job or increased absences and poor work quality
  • Acting out of character which includes illegal activities such as stealing, lying and cheating
  • Failing to quit using the drug due to withdrawals
  • Changes in appearance, such as poor hygiene and unkempt clothes
  • Intense dependence on the drug to the point of unstoppable cravings
  • Increased tolerance on the drug so more and more needs taking to achieve the same effect of intoxication
  • A constant focus on acquiring and maintaining an adequate supply of the drug
  • Spending more money than one can afford to obtain the drug in question. This can result in selling possessions, taking out loans and neglecting financial responsibilities
  • Personality shifts. This isn’t limited to negative changes. Some addicts will appear happier and upbeat when experiencing intense euphoria

Substance abuse is a potentially life-altering activity that can have many consequences, such as the ones listed above. This is why the Texas Substance Abuse Helpline is a valuable resource for learning about substance abuse, addiction and the latest research about these subjects. Knowledge about these drugs goes a long way toward fighting the culture of addiction. This helpline is a great way to reach out for help. Don’t hesitate to do so and find the assistance needed to achieve sobriety once again.