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Recognizing Addiction: How to Know Someone is Abusing

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Addiction can take on many forms, depending on the substance somebody’s addicted to. It’s one of the most troublesome diseases of modern age and it’s something that’s so widespread that it knows no boundaries regarding age, gender, race or geographical location. One of the main issues with drug addicts is that they are usually good at hiding their problems and it’s sometimes very hard to notice that a loved one or anybody else from your immediate proximity is struggling with substance abuse. Here are some of the most common and most dangerous types of drug addictions and ways to recognize them in people.

Cocaine addiction


Cocaine or Coke is one of the most commonly abused stimulant drugs in the world. Even though in rare cases it can be used for medical purposes, it’s usually used as a recreational drug. It can be inhaled through the nose, smoked or injected directly into your veins and your bloodstream. Its effects last about an hour and a half at most and they include euphoria, enhanced libido and increased energy levels. Other than paying attention to these signs, you may also notice that somebody has been using cocaine if they seem paranoid, overly aggressive, delusional and they’re hallucinating. They may even have traces of white powder around their nose, or their nose may be runny, but you should also observe them for needle marks, or burned fingers and lips if they’re smoking cocaine. Cocaine speeds up your heart rate and increases your blood pressure, which can cause a heart attack and death.

Crack addiction

Crack is produced by further processing cocaine. It’s a highly addictive drug and it’s used by smoking. Just like cocaine, it causes euphoria through stimulating pleasure centers in your brain. However, unlike cocaine, which is quite expensive, crack is usually sold in the streets at very low prices, which is, unfortunately, what makes it popular with people who have drug abuse problems. One way to recognize the presence of crack is its distinctive and very unpleasant smell, described as a mixture of burning plastic and chemicals. Signs that somebody’s on crack include mood swings, aggression, dilated pupils, nosebleeds, muscle twitches, increased breathing rate and insomnia as well. Also, the person may experience hallucinations of bugs moving just underneath their skin.

Opiate addiction

Opiates are opium derivatives and are normally used as prescription drugs for pain relief. A doctor may prescribe them to somebody after an injury or an accident, but after a while, the drugs stop being as effective at managing the pain as they were at the beginning. It’s then that people increase their dosage without consulting their doctor, and without being aware that they are becoming physically dependent on the medication. This is especially problematic with women who get pregnant while using opiates, since these drugs can endanger their fetuses. This is why some of them are recommended to go through an opiate detox while pregnant, so that they reduce the risk of delayed fetal development, damaged blood flow to the placenta or even exposure of the fetus to opiates. If you see somebody is using painkillers too often and in too large amounts, that their pupils are constricted, that they’re scratching their skin a lot, that they’re impulsive, have mood swings and are avoiding activities that they once enjoyed, it may be that they’re addicted to opiates and they need help.

Alcohol addiction

Not everybody who drinks alcohol is an addict. Some people only drink socially, on special occasions, or they stop after having just one drink. Alcohol addiction implies that a person is psychologically dependent on alcohol and that they’ll drink without being able to control or stop themselves, regardless of the consequences this can lead to. And since alcohol is easily attainable, even teenagers get intoxicated often and some of them end up being addicts before they even reach their twenties. Signs of alcohol addiction include skipping school and work, or being late for them, inability to enjoy things that were once very pleasurable to a person, giving different excuses and finding ways to drink at any given time, hiding bottles of alcohol, drinking till one passes out, being unable to stop drinking and not being able to relax without alcohol. Alcohol addicts will often even neglect their closest family members in order to drink, they may become depressed and enter conflicts with their friends or family very easily. As far as short-term effects are concerned, an alcohol addict’s hands will shake, they will be nauseated and will vomit, they will speak incoherently, have headaches and memory loss, and in the most extreme cases, if they drink too much, they can end up in a coma or even die.

Only when you know what somebody’s going through can you offer them help to get cleaned and regain their health. So, keep your eyes open for signs of addiction in people around you and, instead of judging them, do what you can to be there for them and support them in their efforts to fight their problem.

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