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Drug & Alcohol Abuse (Signs & Symptoms)

DRUG & ALCOHOL ABUSE (signs & symptoms)

Signs & Symptoms of Alcohol or Drug Abuse:

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 drugs and/or alcohol. The presence of some of these symptoms could be related to a host of other problems (i.e. stress, depression). Whatever the cause, they may warrant attention, especially if they persist or if several of them are occurring at one time. The key thing to look for is change; be aware of significant changes in an individual's physical appearance, personality or behavior.

Behavioral Symptoms:

Mood Swings - Virtually all mood-altering drugs produce mood swings from euphoria to depression. A user may be passive and withdrawn one minute and angry or hostile the next.

Defensiveness - Blaming or claiming to be persecuted or victimized.
Overly Emotional - Inappropriately happy, depressed, hostile, or angry.

Overly self-centered - Always has to have their own way and will do anything to have 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 - Refusing to eat at family meals, participating in celebrations or holidays or making any adjustments to family life.

Change in Dress and Friends - Sudden deterioration of long friendships/relationships, deterioration in personal appearance and hygiene, spends time with suspicious friends and/or co-workers.

Lack of self-discipline - Inability to follow rules, complete household chores, school assignments, work-related duties, keep appointments or commitments.
Apathy - Little or no interest in meaningful activities such as clubs, hobbies, sports, or other activities.
School and Work Problems- Excessive tardiness, absences, drop in grades drop in job performance, missed deadlines, failure to turn in assignments and take tests or perhaps suspension or expulsion.
Anxious Behavior - Chronic jittery, jerky or uneven movements, fearfulness, compulsiveness and talkativeness.

Physical Symptoms:

Change in appearance – Sudden gain or loss of weight
Poor physical coordination
Loss of appetite, increase in appetite or any changes in eating habits
Bloodshot or watery eyes
Consistently dilated pupils
Nausea, vomiting
Frequent colds, sore throat, coughing
Chronically inflamed nostrils, runny nose
Dizzy spells, stumbling, shaky hands
Consistent run down condition
Speech pattern changes, slurred speech, faster speech, slower speech
Irregular heartbeat 

Relapse Warning Signs:

Chemically dependent individuals can demonstrate relapse behaviors at anytime throughout their recovery process, but they are especially prone during the early stages of recovery. The relapse process starts when a person falls into old patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving. The following are signs of relapse at any stage in recovery:

Lack of gratitude for recovery or what has been achieved in the recovery process

Complacency when things begin to improve - The chemically dependent person believes that they no longer need to focus on their recovery efforts; they are convinced they will never begin using again

Lack of self-care as they become exhausted, develop or return to irregular eating habits or poor health habits in general
Self-pity - The chemically dependent person talks and acts as if no one else has it as had as they do
Increasing denial or return to denial - The chemically dependent person starts rationalizing, justifying, minimizing or generalizing addictive thinking and behavior 

Blaming others instead of taking personal responsibility for one's own thoughts, feelings or behavior
Unable to accept feedback from others who are concerned

Isolation and attempting to solve problems on their own; not sharing what is going on with others in the support group

Wanting too much too quickly or setting unrealistic goals

Attempting to control one's recovery through manipulation and blaming of others for their problems
Discounting a recovery program - Stopping 12-Step meetings, not utilizing a sponsor or unwilling to allow others to help.

Signs & Symptoms of Substance Abuse in the Workplace:
Frequently absent from work for no justifiable reason
Tardiness and leaving work early
Long lunches or other unnecessary breaks
Decreased job performance
Avoiding supervisor or other co-workers
Poor personal hygiene/appearance

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