Drug addiction has been a hot topic in the U.S. in recent decades, and rightfully so, given that it affects thousands of people every year.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 841,000 people have died from a drug overdose since 1999. Over 70,600 people in the U.S. died from overdoses in 2019. Synthetic opioids are driving these numbers, the CDC says. Seventy-three percent of overdose deaths are caused by synthetic opioids. But for people living on the edge, using drugs recreationally or after an injury, it may not be clear when their drug use has become a problem — at least, not to them.
As with many things in life, self-awareness can be difficult, especially when it comes to such a sensitive topic. Family members and friends may wait before they step in, wanting to be sure about a loved one’s problem.
If you’ve thought “I have it under control,” “it’s only once in a while,” or “I don’t have to use, I just want to,” the following may be important to recognize.
Here are some signs that you may have a drug problem:
- First and foremost, if you’ve ever thought you might need help, there’s a good chance you might. Click here for more information on how to do that.
- Changes in behavior are not uncommon as drugs impact the brain. Depression, lethargy, aggression, irritability, dramatic changes in habits, personality changes, and criminal activity are all pretty clear signs a drug you’re taking is a problem.
- Physical symptoms are also important to look out for. Sudden changes in weight, trouble sleeping, or sleeping too much can all be caused by drugs. More common symptoms most people might recognize have to do with your eyes. If your eyes are bloodshot or glazed over, a drug you’re taking may be the cause.
- Continuing to take a drug prescribed to you that you don’t need anymore is also another sign that you might be reliant on it. Make you sure understand what your doctor recommends and be honest. If you have too much of a prescription left over, dispose of it properly through a drug take-back program or at a pharmacy.
- If someone you trust expresses concern over your drug use, it may be time to accept that your use is affecting others, and you, in ways you might not recognize.
While it’s possible for some people to use drugs recreationally, they become a problem when they interfere with your life. Keep an eye out for impacts on your work, behavior, and relationships.
According to Help Guide: “There is no specific point at which drug use moves from casual to problematic.” You and those who know you best will be able to see when it becomes a problem. It’s not a matter of willpower. It’s a matter of getting treatment. If you’ve experienced any of the signs in the list, it’s probably time to seek out some help, whether that’s starting with your doctor or a professional who can connect you to the proper services.