Drug Addiction Warning Signs & Dangers

The Landing provides drug & alcohol addiction treatment for men rooted in a science-based, research-supported clinical model to ensure a healthier, more satisfying life.

Understanding Drug Addiction

Learn about drug addiction

Substance abuse is a term that refers to the abuse of a number of psychoactive substances, including but not limited to alcohol, heroin, marijuana, cocaine, alcohol, and prescription pain medications. This form of abuse can include both legal and illegal substances, and the term can be used for those who abuse these substances just one time or many times. Numerous people are able to partake in substance abuse without developing an addiction, which is clinically referred to as substance use disorder). However, millions of people are not as lucky, and find themselves battling this disorder.

When an individual’s substance abuse leads to a substance use disorder, he loses control over his ability to regulate the amount and the frequency of his substance abuse. Those who have substance use disorder will experience negative outcomes because of their abuse, but will be incapable of stopping. Depending on the nature and severity of his or her substance abuse problem, an individual might not be able to control his actions or thoughts without the help of professional treatment.

Thankfully, however, professionals have an exceptional amount of experience in aiding individuals to put an end to their substance use disorder. There are specialized treatment centers that have been created to supply a comprehensive approach in a manner that helps empower individuals to make the changes needed to establish long-term recovery.


Drug addiction statistics

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that over 23 million people nationwide are in need to treatment for a substance use disorder, however 20 million of them will not obtain the help that they require.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NS-DUH) collected data that showed that more than eight out of every 10 adults in the country have participated in substance abuse at least once in their lifetime. More than seven out of every 10 have done so at least once within the past year. NS-DUH states that roughly half of all adolescents will abuse alcohol or another drug prior to graduating from high school.

Causes and Risk Factors

Causes and risk factors for drug addiction

The development of a substance use disorder can be impacted by a variety of factors, including the following:


Experts approximate that between 40 and 60 percent of the variance in the risk of developing specific substance use disorders is based on genetics. Those who have a close relative, such as a sibling or a parent, who has a substance use disorder are more likely to battle with the same issues. Studies have been conducted amongst adoptive children whose biological parents had substance use disorders, however their adoptive parents did not. These studies proved that those adopted children with biological parents who did suffer from substance use disorder were more likely to suffer from it, too.


Substance abuse is both prevalent and accepted within our culture, which plays a significant role in determining if an individual will partake in similar behavior. Other strong influences of an environment can include living in a household, community, or neighborhood where substances are available and affordable, hanging out with individuals who frequently abuse alcohol or drugs, and going through a great deal of stress that supersedes an individual’s ability to cope.

Risk Factors:

  • Current or prior mental illness
  • Prior substance abuse
  • Exposure to substance abuse at a young age
  • Displayed of aggression at a young age
  • Family history of mental illness
  • Family history of substance abuse
  • Poor impulse control
  • Being male

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of drug addiction

The type of substance that is being abused, along with the presence of any other co-occurring disorders or any other factors can impact the signs and symptoms that an individual will exhibit if he or she has been partaking in substance abuse. Below are some of the most common signs and symptoms:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Restlessness
  • Fatigue
  • Persistent sores or scabs
  • Itchiness
  • Frequent nosebleeds
  • Excessive perspiration
  • Significant weight loss or gain
  • Disrupted sleep patterns
  • Bloodshot eyes and/or dilated pupils
  • Runny nose

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Poor judgment
  • Racing thoughts
  • Inability to concentrate or focus
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Suicidal ideation
  • Depression
  • Anger and/or aggression
  • Dramatic unexplained mood swings
  • Withdrawal from family and friends


Effects of drug addiction

Below are some of the many ways in which substance abuse/a substance use disorder can impact an individual’s life:

  • Cardiovascular distress
  • Organ damage
  • Decline in performance at work or in school
  • Diminished cognition
  • Family discord
  • Job loss and chronic unemployment
  • Social withdrawal
  • Strained interpersonal relationships
  • Financial problems
  • Legal problems, including incarceration and arrest
  • Homelessness
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Suicide attempts
  • Development of co-occurring mental health disorders

Co-Occurring Disorders

Drug addiction and co-occurring disorders

Those who are participating in substance abuse or are struggling with substance use disorder can increase their risk of the development of the following co-occurring disorders:

  • Eating disorders
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD)
  • Depressive disorders

Withdrawal & Overdose

Effects of withdrawal & overdose

Effects of substance abuse withdrawal: The type of symptoms that an individual will experience from withdrawal will depend on a number of factors, however below are some of the most common symptoms that might be displayed by an individual who tries to curb or suddenly stop substance abuse once they have grown dependent:

  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Disrupted sleep patterns
  • Abdominal pain
  • Muscle cramping
  • Seizure
  • Tics, tremors, and similar shakiness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Powerful cravings for the drug one has been abusing
  • Agitation
  • Depression

Effects of substance abuse overdose: The type of drug that an individual has been abusing will be a factor in an overdose. Someone who shows the following symptoms after abusing alcohol or other drugs should obtain medical help immediately:

  • Seizure
  • Coma
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Confusion
  • Dilated pupils
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Drop in blood pressure
  • Weak pulse
  • Shallow or irregular breathing
  • Hallucinations
  • Bluish tint to lips and fingernails
  • Cold, clammy skin

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I got treatment for my drug addiction at The Landing because I knew that they are the best in the area. I can't recommend them enough!

– Anonymous Client
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  • American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM)
  • California Consortium of Addiction Programs and Professionals (CCAPP)
  • Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF)