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Signs and Symptoms Of Substance Abuse

Signs and Symptoms Of Substance Abuse

Common signs and symptoms of drug abuse

  • You’re neglecting your responsibilities at school, work, or home (e.g. flunking classes, skipping work, neglecting your children) because of your drug use
  • You’re using drugs under dangerous conditions or taking risks while high, such as driving while on drugs, using dirty needles, or having unprotected sex
  • Your drug use is getting you into legal trouble, such as arrests for disorderly conduct, driving under the influence, or stealing to support a drug habit
  • Your drug use is causing problems in your relationships, such as fights with your partner or family members, an unhappy boss, or the loss of old friends

Common signs and symptoms of drug addiction

  • You’ve built up a drug tolerance. You need to use more of the drug to experience the same effects you used to attain with smaller amounts
  • You take drugs to avoid or relieve withdrawal symptoms. If you go too long without drugs, you experience symptoms such as nausea, restlessness, insomnia, depression, sweating, shaking, and anxiety
  • You’ve lost control over your drug use. You often do drugs or use more than you planned, even though you told yourself you wouldn’t. You may want to stop using, but you feel powerless
  • Your life revolves around drug use. You spend a lot of time using and thinking about drugs, figuring out how to get them, and recovering from the drug’s effects
  • You’ve abandoned activities you used to enjoy, such as hobbies, sports, and socializing, because of your drug use
  • You continue to use drugs, despite knowing it’s hurting you. It’s causing major problems in your life—blackouts, infections, mood swings, depression, paranoia—but you use anyway

Physical warning signs of drug abuse

  • Bloodshot eyes, pupils larger or smaller than usual
  • Changes in appetite or sleep patterns. Sudden weight loss or weight gain
  • Deterioration of physical appearance, personal grooming habits
  • Unusual smells on breath, body, or clothing
  • Tremors, slurred speech, or impaired coordination

Behavioral signs of drug abuse

  • Drop in attendance and performance at work or school
  • Unexplained need for money or financial problems. May borrow or steal to get it
  • Engaging in secretive or suspicious behaviors
  • Sudden change in friends, favorite hangouts, and hobbies
  • Frequently getting into trouble (fights, accidents, illegal activities)

Psychological warning signs of drug abuse

  • Unexplained change in personality or attitude
  • Sudden mood swings, irritability, or angry outbursts
  • Periods of unusual hyperactivity, agitation, or giddiness
  • Lack of motivation; appears lethargic or “spaced out”
  • Appears fearful, anxious, or paranoid, with no reason


Call 1-800-662-HELPto reach a free referral helpline from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.


Substance Abuse Programs and Referal Information

Contact the Regional Behavioral Health Authority in your region of the state:

Arizona Tribal and Regional Behavioral Health

Authority (T/RBHA) www.azdhs.gov/bhs

County or Tribal Nation Served:
Cenpatico RBHAwww.cenpaticoaz.com


Gila, La Paz, Pinal, Yuma, Graham,

Greenlee, Santa Cruz, and Cochise

Community Partnership of Southern Arizona RBHA

www.cpsa-rbha.org and 800-796-6762/520-622-6000

Gila River RBHA

www.gilariverrbha.org and 1-800-259-3449

Gila River Indian Community
Magellan RBHA

www.magellanofaz.com and 1-800-631-1214

Navajo Nation RBHA

www.navajo.org and 1-866-841-0277

Navajo Nation
Northern Arizona RBHA

www.narbha.org and 1-877-756-4090

Apache, Coconino, Mohave, Navajo,


Pascua-Yaqui RBHA

www.pascuayaqui-nsn.gov and 1-800-572-7282

Pascua Yaqui Tribe
White Mountain Apache RBHA

www.wmabhs.org and 928-338-4811

White Mountain Apache Nation
VA Health Care System

Phoenix: 602-277-5551

Northern Arizona: 928-445-4860

Southern Arizona: 520-792-1450

Counties Served:

Gila, Maricopa

Apache, Coconino, Mojave, Navajo, Yavapai

Cochise, Graham, Gila, Greenlee, La Paz, Pima, Pinal, Santa Cruz, Yuma

Indian Health Services (IHS)

Navajo Nation 928-871-4811

Tucson 520-295-2405

Phoenix 602-364-5039

Alcohol and Substance Abuse: 602-364-5159

Suicide Issues: 602-364-5183

Nation/Tribe served:

Navajo Nation

Tohono O’Odham Nation and Pascua Yaqui Tribe

serving all other Arizona Tribal Nations


Call 1-800-662-HELP


to reach a free referral helpline from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

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