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Drug addiction

From MayoClinic.com

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Addictions & Substance Use

Signs and symptoms

The range of drugs to which you can become addicted is wide. The drugs include:

  • Cannabis compounds. Contained in marijuana and hashish.

  • Central nervous system depressants. Barbiturates and benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines include tranquilizers such as diazepam (Valium), alprazolam (Xanax), oxazepam (Serax), lorazepam (Ativan), clonazepam (Klonopin) and chlordiazepoxide (Librium).

  • Central nervous system stimulants. Amphetamines, methamphetamine, cocaine and methylphenidate (Ritalin).

  • Designer drugs. Synthetic compounds such as Ecstasy, which has both amphetamine-like and hallucinogenic effects.

  • Hallucinogens. LSD, phencyclidine (PCP) and ketamine (special K).

  • Inhalants. Glue, paint, solvents and nitrous oxide.

  • Opioids. Narcotic, painkilling drugs produced naturally from opium or made synthetically. They include heroin, morphine, codeine, methadone and oxycodone (Oxycontin).

Addiction to any drug may include these general characteristics:

  • Feeling that you need the drug regularly and in some cases many times a day

  • Making certain that you maintain a supply of the drug

  • Failing in your attempts to stop using the drug

  • Doing things to obtain the drug that you normally wouldn't do, such as stealing

  • Feeling that you need the drug to deal with your problems

  • Driving or doing other activities that place you and others at risk of physical harm when you're under the influence of the drug

The particular signs and symptoms of drug use and dependence vary depending on the type of drug.

Cannabis compounds: Signs and symptoms

  • A sense of relaxation

  • A heightened sense of visual, auditory and taste perception

  • Poor memory

  • Increased blood pressure and heart rate

  • Bloodshot eyes

  • Decreased coordination

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Poor judgment

  • Paranoid thinking

Central nervous system depressants: Signs and symptoms

  • Slurred speech

  • Lack of coordination

  • Memory impairment

  • Confusion

  • Slowed heart rate

  • Dizziness

  • Inappropriate display of emotions

  • Drowsiness or coma

Central nervous system stimulants: Signs and symptoms

  • Euphoria

  • Decreased appetite

  • Rapid speech

  • Irritability

  • Restlessness

  • Depression as the drug wears off

  • Nasal congestion and damage to the mucous membrane of the nose in users who snort drugs

Designer drugs: Signs and symptoms
Signs and symptoms of using designer drugs vary depending on the drug. You might be able to tell that a family member or a friend is using or abusing a drug based on the physical and behavioral signs and symptoms associated with the drug. Ecstasy produces a mild hallucinogenic effect and a feeling of euphoria. It also causes an increased heart rate, overheating, high blood pressure and memory problems.

Hallucinogens: Signs and symptoms
Use of hallucinogens produces different signs and symptoms, depending on the drug. The most common hallucinogens are LSD, PCP and ketamine, a so-called "club drug."

Signs and symptoms of LSD use include:

  • Hallucinations

  • Greatly impaired perception of reality, for example, interpreting input from one of your senses as another, such as hearing colors

  • Permanent mental changes in perception

  • Rapid heart rate

  • High blood pressure

  • Tremors

  • Flashbacks, a re-experience of the hallucinations — even years later

Signs and symptoms of PCP use include:

  • Hallucinations

  • Euphoria

  • Delusions

  • Sweating and flushing

  • Disorientation and incoordination

  • Paranoia

  • Drooling, nausea or vomiting

  • Suicidal thoughts

Signs and symptoms of ketamine use include:

  • Increased heart rate

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Numbness

  • Impaired motor function

Inhalants: Signs and symptoms
The signs and symptoms of inhalant use vary depending on what substance is inhaled. Some commonly inhaled substances include glue, paint thinners, correction fluid, felt tip marker fluid, gasoline, cleaning fluids and household aerosol products. When inhaled, these products can cause brief intoxication and a decreased feeling of inhibition. Long-term use may cause hearing loss and damage to the brain, liver and kidneys.

Opioids: Signs and symptoms

  • Sedation

  • Depression

  • Confusion

  • Constipation

  • Slowed breathing

  • Needle marks (if injecting drugs)

Recognizing drug abuse in teenagers
Possible indications that your teenager is using drugs include:

  • School performance. Your child suddenly shows an active dislike of school and looks for excuses to stay home. Contact your school officials to see if your child's attendance record matches what you know about his or her absent days. A student who experiences a drop in performance, possibly failing courses or receiving only minimally passing grades, may be using drugs.

  • Physical health. Listlessness and apathy may indicate your child is using certain drugs.

  • Appearance. How they look is extremely important to adolescents. A sudden lack of interest in clothing, grooming or looks may be a warning sign of drug use.

  • Personal behavior. Teenagers enjoy privacy, but exaggerated efforts to bar you from entering their room or knowing where they go with their friends might indicate drug use. Also, drastic changes in behavior and in family relationships may signal drug use.

  • Money. Sudden requests for money without a reasonable explanation for its use may be a sign of drug use. You may also discover money stolen from previously safe places at home. Items may disappear from your home because they're being sold to support a drug habit.

 Drug addiction > 1 > 2 > 3

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