Drug Addiction: Signs of Substance Abuse Drug addiction occurs when repeated use of a substance changes how your brain works. These changes take place in the reward system of the brain. Also, drugs and alcohol create pleasurable feelings by acting on this reward system. And this teaches the brain to seek out these pleasurable behaviors again. When repeated enough, drug use can turn into an addiction, resulting in uncontrollable urges and withdrawals. But even without developing a full-blown addiction, some signs of drug use may indicate a substance abuse problem. Here are some warning signs of substance abuse. Drug Addiction vs. Abuse Consuming a substance changes the chemical balance in your brain. Addictive drugs create a surge of dopamine in its reward system. Sex and food do this too. In addition, the pleasurable feelings from sex\u00a0and food motivate many people to seek out more of each. This makes evolutionary sense. Unfortunately, repeated use of harmful drugs and alcohol doesn\u2019t benefit your survival. Given that drugs create feelings of pleasure and euphoria, many people become attracted to them. Drug use can turn into either drug abuse or drug addiction. If you\u2019re wondering what the differences are between drug abuse and addiction, here are some important distinctions. If you\u2019re abusing drugs, you have experienced one or more of the following issues in the past month: \tA pattern of excessive drug consumption \tPhysical harm caused to yourself or others as a result of drug use \tLegal problems as a result of behavior under the influence of drugs \tInability to carry out your responsibilities at work, school or in the home \tOngoing drug use despite problems caused by it The continued abuse of substances over time changes how your brain operates. This is a sign of addiction. Also, an addict\u2019s brain views being \u201chigh\u201d as normal. Without the drug, the brain has to work overtime to produce natural pain relieving chemicals that were substituted by the drug. During the process, the withdrawal pain experienced may lead to continued use of the drug to suppress the pain. In contrast to drug abuse, a person who is addicted has experienced three or more of the following problems in a 12-month period: \tHaving to take drugs or alcohol to feel normal or okay \tUsing larger amounts of a drug (and using it more frequently) to achieve the same effects \tAn inability to stop using \tDecreased interest in hobbies, interests, career or school \tSocial isolation \tMental and\/or physical dependence \tTolerance \tWithdrawal symptoms (physical or psychological) when you stop drug use Treatment can benefit anyone showing signs of drug use because drug use can easily turn into something much worse. Signs of Substance Abuse Signs of drug abuse include both physical and behavioral symptoms. If you\u2019re worried that you or a loved one has a problem with drugs, ask yourself if you show any of the following signs of drug use. Physical Signs of Drug Abuse \tDilated pupils or bloodshot eyes \tRunny nose or nosebleeds \tSweatiness \tIncreased illness \tUnsteady walk \tExcitable or slurred speech \tChange in sleeping patterns, such as not sleeping until very late or sleeping in \tAbrupt weight changes \tLooking unkempt \tDeclining personal hygiene \tUnusual body odors \tUnexplained bruises, scratches or injuries \tPhysical signs of drug use, such as track marks (the scars that remain after injecting drugs) on the arms or fingertip burns Behavioral Signs of Drug Abuse \tUnusual moodiness, increased irritability, aggression or depression \tLethargy \tChanges in personality \tSocial isolation \tUnusual involvement in risky behaviors (e.g., speeding or unprotected sex) \tDeclining levels of motivation \tUnexplained absence \tLies, secrecy and excuses \tContinued use of a substance that puts the individual or others in harm\u2019s way \tRelying on substances to have fun \tAbsences from work or job loss that\u2019s related to substance use \tRepeated intake of substances \tHiding substance use from others \tSubstance use causing relationship problems \tAnger or defensiveness in reaction to concerns from others about substance use \tSubstance use resulting in financial and legal issues \tUnexplained or sudden requests for money \tUnusual avoidance of eye contact \tUnusual attempts to hide phone calls \tAbnormal tendency to stay out late at night \tUnusual locking of bedroom or bathroom doors Other Signs of Drug Use \tUnexplained disappearance of prescription drugs or alcohol \tThe mysterious disappearance of cash or expensive items \tOdd smells in someone\u2019s room or vehicle \tThe discovery of drug paraphernalia (e.g., lighters, pipes, needles or syringes) Treatment for Substance Abuse Whether you or a loved one are showing any of the above signs of drug use, effective treatment is available. In addition, at a Promises treatment facility, a drug rehab team will assess your signs of drug use and recommend the best course of action. The following treatment programs are available. Inpatient Rehab Program Inpatient rehab, where clients stay on the premises of a rehab facility, can help with all kinds of addictions. During a residential program, you stay on the premises of one of our treatment centers. Also, our facilities are peaceful, comfortable and well-equipped, ensuring that your recovery is as smooth as possible. In addition, you\u2019ll also take part in various therapies and activities to help you recover from your problematic drug use. These may include: \tTherapy and counseling \u2013 Often, mental health issues underlie substance abuse. By addressing issues such as depression, anxiety and trauma, you can find healthy ways to manage emotional pain. \tDrug education \tMental health education \tWorkshops \tFitness classes \tAlternative therapies, such as yoga and meditation \tSupport groups Promises also offers treatment programs for people with specific needs. These treatment options include: \tMen\u2019s mental health treatment \tWomen\u2019s mental health treatment \tDrug rehab for professionals and executives The path to recovery starts with knowing the signs of drug use. It\u2019s not always easy to see how drug use can turn into substance abuse. But if you can spot the relevant signs and symptoms, then you can get help when you need it. Ignoring the signs of substance abuse, on the other hand, can be disastrous. Before you know it, repeated drug use can turn into an addiction. So, if you have any worries about your drug use or that of a loved one, be sure to get in touch with Promises. A caring, highly experienced drug rehab team will be able to discuss your issues with you and help you regain sobriety and a sense of well-being.