The warning signs and symptoms of possible drug abuse are not always easy to read, especially when it comes to emotional or behavioral symptoms. Bulleted lists and symptom checkers can list off a variety of symptoms that can be explained as normal emotional behavior.
Mood changes are a common part of everyone’s life as biological and environmental factors can influence a person’s emotions in a matter of seconds. The difference between natural mood changes and those caused by substance abuse can be distinguished by the presence or absence of an identifiable cause.
Substance abuse causes erratic or volatile emotional behavior. Emotional regulation is hindered by the chemical alternations caused by substance abuse. As a result, persons abusing drugs or alcohol will display mood and behavioral changes with no identifiable cause.
Obviously a one-time emotional outburst or strange emotional reaction may be too little evidence to detect drug abuse, but when these experiences keep repeating themselves, a problem becomes easier to spot.
Emotional changes caused by drug abuse will vary depending on the type of drug used; however, there are many emotional symptoms of substance abuse. A few common symptoms include the following:
- Paranoia, panic or anxiety
- Intense sadness
Family and friends may be able to detect these emotional symptoms and behavioral changes of drug abuse in simple conversations or over time as the individual’s overall personality and demeanor will change. In many instances, a major blowup, argument or unexplainable exchange can raise concerns.
When a person’s behavior and mood are suggestive of substance abuse, family and friends can then look for more obvious or physical signs of drug abuse. A few common symptoms of substance abuse include the following:
- A general lack of motivation and interest
- Unexplainable changes in energy levels
- Changes in activities, hobbies, friendships or hangouts
- Unusual financial changes
- Changes in sleeping and eating habits
- Unusual odors on breath and clothing
- Poor health, including nausea, vomiting, excessive sweating, shaking and coughing
- Needle marks
- Secretive or suspicious behavior
- Excessive need for privacy