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Signs and Symptoms of Drug Use

There are many signs, both physical and behavioral, that indicate drug use. Each drug has its own unique manifestations but there are some general indications that a person is using drugs:

  • Sudden change in behavior
  • Mood swings; irritable and grumpy and then suddenly happy and bright
  • Withdrawal from family members
  • Careless about personal grooming
  • Loss of interest in hobbies, sports, and other favorite activities
  • Changed sleeping pattern; up at night and sleeps during the day
  • Red or glassy eyes
  • Sniffly or runny nose

The following are effects related to frequently used drugs and also links to pages on the signs and symptoms of specific drug use:

Methamphetamine Effects:

"Wired"--sleeplessness for days and weeks at a time, total loss of appetite, extreme weight loss, dialated pupils, excited, talkative, deluded sense of power, paranoia, depression, loss of control, nervousness, unusual sweating, shaking, anxiety, hallucinations, aggression, violence, dizziness, mood changes, blurred vision, mental confusion, agitation. More meth addiction info.

Ecstasy Effects:

Changes in mental and physical stimulation, altered perception of sound, light, touch. Stimulation of physical energy with related decrease in appetite and increase in body temperature. Increase in emotional response and sensual reactions. Teeth clenching, muscle cramping, nausea, chills and sweating. Body may overheat which can lead to fatalities.

Cocaine Effects:

Impaired thinking, confused, anxious, depressed, short tempered, panic attacks, suspiciousness, dilated pupils, sleeplessness, loss of appetite, decreased sexual drive, restlessness, irritability, very talkative, scratching, hallucinations, paranoia.

Also info on crack cocaine use on this page

LSD (Acid) Effects:

Dilated pupils, skin discoloration, loss of coordination, false sense of power, euphoria, distortion of time and space, hallucinations, confusion, paranoia, nausea, vomiting, loss of control, anxiety, panic, helplessness, and self destructive behavior. LSD abuse signs and symptoms and more LSD info

PCP Effects:

Sometimes violent or bizarre behavior (suicide has often occurred), paranoia, fearfulness, anxiety, aggressive or withdrawn, skin flushing, sweating, dizziness, total numbness, and impaired perceptions.

Inhalant Effects:

Short-lasting euphoria, giggling, silliness, dizziness. Then come the headaches and full-blown "faintings" or going unconscious. Longterm Use: Short-term memory loss, emotional instability, impairment of reasoning, slurred speech, clumsy staggering gait, eye flutter, tremors, hearing loss, loss of sense of smell, and escalating stages of brain atrophy. Sometimes these serious longterm effects are reversible with body detoxification and nutritional therapy; sometimes the brain damage is irreversible or only partially reversible.

Heroin Effects

Chemically enforced euphoria. "Nodding," which is a dreamlike state, near sleep, drifting off for minutes or hours. For long-time abusers, heroin may act like a stimulant and they can do a normal daily routine; however, for others, it leaves them completely powerless to do anything. More heroin addiction info

Methadone: Methadone Use Signs and Symptoms

Marijuana Effects

Compulsive eating, bloodshot red eyes that are squinty (they may have trouble keeping them open), dry mouth, excessive and uncontrollable laughter, forgetfulness, short term memory loss, extreme lethargy, delayed motor skills, occasional paranoia, hallucinations, laziness, lack of motivation, stupidity, sickly sweet smell on body, hair, and clothes, and strong mood changes and behaviors when the person is "high". More marijuana info



10 facts about marijuana in booklet form

Depressants (Tranquilizers and Barbituates):

Decreased inhibition, slowed motor coordination, lethargy, relaxed muscles, staggering gait, poor judgement, slow, uncertain reflexes, disorientation, and slurred speech. Signs and Symptoms of Tranquilizer Use

Prescription drugs: Signs and Symptoms of Prescription Drugs

10 things parents may not know about prescription drugs guide


Drug education video series

















free download drug info booklet





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