Do I Have a Drug Problem?

The provided set of questions is designed to help individuals self-assess for drug addiction symptoms and determine whether they might have a drug abuse or addiction problem. This self-diagnosis tool aims to aid in recognising the severity of drug abuse and in making informed decisions about seeking help. Additionally, for those who are unsure or concerned about their own or a loved one’s drug use, there is an option to reach out and speak to a professional for guidance and support.

This anonymous questionnaire is used purely for screening purpouses and is based loosely on the questionnaire used by the Johns Hopkins University Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland  for scoring and screening for drug-related addiction disorders.

Some of the Symptoms of Drug Addiction

One of the more common symptoms of addiction is the increased tolerance to the drug over time. In other words, the effect of the drug no longer kicks in as soon as it used to and the effects last shorter than before.

Another common symptom is the withdrawal that takes place when the drug is not taken. Withdrawal is the unpleasant and sometimes dangerous, physical response that takes place.


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Diagnosing the Signs of Substance Addiction

According to the American Psychiatric Association if more than three of the following patterns are displayed during the period of a year addiction is in place:

  • Increased tolerance to the drug
  • Withdrawal symptoms or continued use of substance to alleviate withdrawal
  • Loss of control where the person takes larger doses of the substance or over longer periods of time than they had intended
  • Desire to cut back or abstain from the substance and recurring unsuccessful attempts to do so
  • Inordinate amount of time is spent on obtaining, using and or recovering from drug use
  • Substance abuse results in other important activities being neglected, such as work, social and recreational commitments
  • Continued use of drugs even when the individual realises that there are serious physical or psychological problems caused as a result of using

Drug addiction is a very serious progressive illness that is best treated as early as possible, much the same as other chronic illnesses.  If left to continue its course addiction can lead the victim on a path of destruction that ultimately could cost his/her life.

Recognising drug addiction symptoms can help to get the victim to treatment promptly and so avoid some of the damage that they might otherwise have suffered.  A Californian study at UCLA found that dealing with drug addiction symptoms through effective rehab is a very smart investment. For every one US$1 spent on drug addiction treatment, $7 in financial gain was generated for the community!

Avoiding the damages of addiction can far outweigh the cost of that treatment.

One of the drug addiction symptoms that might sound obvious but could be hard to spot is chronic drug abuse.  An addict may well conceal his/her their drug using and mask their behaviour.  Drug addicts will use drugs no matter what the consequences – this along with the presence of withdrawal symptoms and the development of tolerance is a chief symptom of addiction.

Physical drug addiction symptoms

Using drugs has a direct effect on the brain and body.  It also often has a secondary effect in that addicts will not eat properly.  This is not always the case however so you should not rely on spotting an addict based on them “looking like” an addict.  Also the drug addiction symptoms that do appear will differ between substances.
Here are some physical symptoms:

  • Bloodshot eyes.
  • Pupils that are dilated (bigger) or constricted (smaller).
  • Loss of interest in food or disrupted sleep patterns.
  • Sudden changes in weight.
  • Deteriorating personal hygiene.
  • Unusual smells on breath or clothing.
  • Shaking, sweating, slurred speech or being very clumsy.

Behavioural drug addiction symptoms

There are often very dramatic drug addiction symptoms that manifest in behaviour.  These signs are generally due to the person needing to cover up for drug use.  Here are some examples:

Skipping work or school without reason.
Financial difficulty without any good reason.  The addict may start to borrow money or steal to get it.
Secretive behaviour – not saying where he/she is going or has been.
Suddenly getting a new group of friends and changing social activities.
Skirting the law or getting into trouble (e.g.: car accidents, fighting, etc).

Psychological drug addiction symptoms

Using drugs has an effect on the brain.  It therefore has an effect on the psyche of the person, resulting in psychological drug addiction symptoms such as:

  • Personality changes.
  • Changes in attitude – for example suddenly becoming either very positive or negative without reason.
  • Mood swings, irritability, anger.
  • Hyperactivity – having too much energy.
  • Loss of motivation, almost as if the person is sedated.
  • Paranoia and irrational fears – a sense that the world is out to get him/her.

Self-diagnosis and drug addiction symptoms

If you’re unsure at all about your drug use then the safest option you have is to contact one of our addictions counsellors.  They are trained to assess drug addiction symptoms and recommend an appropriate solution.

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