5 Ways to Detect Emotional Symptoms of Possible Drug Abuse

5 Ways to Detect Emotional Symptoms of Possible Drug Abuse

It may not be obvious, even to friends and family, that someone is abusing drugs. Even some of the worst physical symptoms can be hidden from view, but drug abuse also creates serious emotional symptoms. Although emotional symptoms of drug abuse can be subtle, they can also be crucial to detecting the problem. Here are five ways to determine if a person’s emotional symptoms indicate possible drug abuse.

1. Rapid Emotional Changes

Much of the appeal of illicit drug use lies in the drug’s ability to create rapid changes in the way the person feels and looks at the world. The user can quickly be very happy as the drug takes effect. Just as quickly, that feeling disappears and leaves the user feeling terrible. Observers may see the high as giddiness, energy or relaxation. The crash that follows may be observed as irritability, anger or depression. When these emotional symptoms change quickly, drug abuse may be the cause.

2. Isolation

The emotional effects of drug abuse often lead the user into isolation. The need to hide drug abuse, especially from those who might intervene, contributes to the isolation many drug users experience. As addiction develops, the drug becomes ever more important as the user turns to it for happiness and as a way of coping with any setback or problem. As a result, drug users often become emotionally detached from those around them.

3. A New Normal

Through the normal emotional ups and downs of life, most people still retain a consistent emotional center. That average normal might be more optimistic in some people. Whatever a person’s normal emotional status is, he or she typically returns to it after a crisis, celebration or disappointment has subsided. Drug abuse can change the user’s normal emotional level and outlook. Usually this change is for the worse. Depression and anxiety are very common emotional side effects of drug abuse. Paranoia and agitation may even become aspects of a person’s usual emotional center because of drug abuse.

4. No Clear Reason for Emotional Changes

Reasons for emotional changes and problems are normally easy to find. Mourning a loved one or dealing with stressful work situations are common reasons for emotional disruption. When the reason for emotional problems is drug abuse, that reason is usually deliberately hidden. If there is no clear way to explain emotional symptoms, it is reasonable to consider that they may be related to drug abuse.

5. A Preponderance of Evidence

Based on emotional symptoms alone, it is difficult to conclude with certainty that someone has a problem with drug abuse. It is best to consider the overall weight of emotional symptoms to decide if drug abuse should be suspected. The more emotional signs are evident, the more severe they are and the more they follow the patterns outlined above, the more likely the emotional symptoms point to drug abuse.

If someone you care about is showing the emotional signs of drug abuse, call our toll-free helpline to learn more about options for intervention and treatment. Admissions counselors are available 24 hours a day, so call now.