What’s the Difference Between Recreational Use and Drug Abuse?

Many people use illicit substances as a way to party and have fun. But, there is always a danger in using illegal substances as they have a potential for abuse and addiction. In many cases, people start off using drugs in party settings and never intend to get addicted. But, eventually, it happens. For these individuals, it can be challenging to come to terms with the fact that drug use has turned into abuse and that addiction is a struggle they’re facing. But, there are some warning signs that can let you know that recreational use has turned into drug abuse and addiction.

The Different Types of Warnings That Recreational Use Has Turned to Addiction

There are a few different types of warning signs that can help people or loved ones or people using addictive substances recognize whether or not substance use has turned into an addiction. The three categories of warning signs that signify addiction include physical signs, mental signs, and behavioral signs. While a person may not exhibit signs of addiction in each category or every sign in each category, recognizing any of the signs of drug abuse may help to identify present addiction.

Some Physical Warning Signs of Substance Abuse

Since addictive substances can affect the biological health of the body, abusing these substances often showcases itself in physical ways. People struggling with substance abuse and addiction may experience physical warning signs that include:

  • neglecting hygiene
  • smaller or enlarged pupils
  • weight fluctuations
  • exhaustion due to lack of sleep
  • reddening of the eyes

Some of these physical signs can be associated with the recreational use of addictive substances. But, when these physical signs are prolonged, this can be a warning that a person is living with active addiction.

Some Mental Warning Signs of Substance Abuse

Using addictive substances, especially until dependence forms, can change the chemical workings of the brain. Thus, resulting in mood dysregulation and mental health effects that are often noticed by loved ones of those affected by addiction. Some of the most common mental health and emotional warning signs of addiction may include:

  • paranoia
  • anxiety and stress
  • irritability and anger
  • confusion
  • mood swings
  • denial of substance use or dependence on addictive substances
  • negative and intrusive thoughts
  • irrationality
  • blaming others rather than taking responsibility for actions
  • feelings of loneliness, shame, and guilt

People struggling with addiction don’t have the means to regulate their emotions as substance abuse can alter chemicals in the brain. So, these changes in emotion and mental health states can be a very clear sign to loved ones that a person may be living with active addiction.

Some Behavioral Warning Signs of Substance Abuse

Finally, along with physical and emotional changes, behavioral changes are also a warning sign that a person has gone past recreational drug use and has developed dependence. Some of the behavioral warning signs of addiction can include:

  • having trouble with the law
  • financial problems
  • issues with relationships
  • not showing up to important events
  • loss of interest in past passions/hobbies
  • avoidance behaviors
  • neglecting responsibilities (work, school, etc.)

Getting Help When Spotting Warning Signs of Addiction

If you find that you or a loved one is showcasing some of the signs of addiction, there is help available. Delray Center for Healing offers an outpatient approach to treating addiction. We provide specific and individualized care to offer the most comprehensive and compassionate approach to treatment. Find out how we can help today by visiting our website and checking out more information about our addiction treatment services.