3 Types of Symptoms of Substance Use Disorders

Updated on January 15, 2022


Substance use disorder is caused by the intake of illegal drugs as well as the consumption of some medicine and may affect mental health, says Mentalhealth.gov. Illegal drugs arguably cause abusers to embark on self-medications. As a result, these medicines cause changes in brain composition, stress, trauma, and general vulnerabilities such as accidents. 

Do you know of any signs to determine whether you or your friend is experiencing substance use abnormalities? Below are three types of symptoms of substance use disorders.

1. Behavioral changes

Behavioral changes are the first effects you’re likely to see in an individual who has been using drugs. First, you would arguably note a drop in school or work performance and attendance. This effect will soon be followed by the individuals frequently getting themselves in fights, or illegal activities.

In the same vein, these individuals would certainly be seen using machines or tools in extremely hazardous surroundings, such as near fire or dip holes. Frequently, they would try to do these acts secretly, and they may appear fearless and paranoid.  When the effects of illegal drugs get worse, the users lose appetite and may spend most of their time sleeping. 

It’s advisable to handle substance use disorder with care and take them to a drug rehab center as soon as possible. Failure to do this may lead to adverse harms on the addicts or those around them, and in the worst-case scenario, they may die.

2. Physical changes

If you fail to notice behavioral changes, physical transformations are often visible from the offset. If you pay close attention, you are likely to detect redness or abnormal size of the pupils (pinpointed), as noted by American Addiction Centers. Again, you would perhaps observe a sudden weight loss or gain, and a general deterioration of health.

When effects of the additions reach higher levels, an individual may start experiencing impaired coordination. As a result, you are likely to find an addict unusually dirty or wearing clothes inside out. 

3. Social changes

Whenever the effects of drugs take root in the body, most addicts are left in denial. They would rarely want to be close to family members and may suddenly change their social circle. You are likely to find such individuals changing hobbies, and start doing awkward activities they were not doing before. As a result, they may find themselves on the wrong side of the law. 

Similarly, due to their inability to be fully productive, they may develop a sudden or unexplained need for money. In some cases, their financial needs are often aimed at getting money to buy drugs. At this point, drastic actions need to be put in place. The addicts ought to visit a counselor. If they are adversely affected, enrolling them into a drug rehab center would be a shot in the arm to help them recover.


Treatment for substance use disorder would include medication and support groups. The medication would be ideal for treating any damaged cells in the brain.  The importance of support groups is to motivate and educate the patient on the dangers of substance abuse. This is crucial to help them make new positive minded friends.

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