SYMPTOMS OF ALCOHOL AND/OR SUBSTANCE ABUSE
Addictions are diagnosed based primarily
on the severity of a patient's drug or alcohol problems. Milder
cases of addiction are termed "Substance Abuse", while
more severe cases are termed, "Substance Dependence".
Most of the time, people who have an addiction are blind to it,
or in denial about it. They will not or cannot see the extent
of the problems they are experiencing. Because of this denial,
addictions cannot be self-diagnosed. An objective appraisal of
a person's alcohol or drug use, and the problems a person is experiencing
due to their substance use must be made by an experienced clinician
before any diagnosis can be made. If any of the following apply
to you or to a loved one, call our Clinic at 716-373-4303 to set
up an appointment to find out how to get help.
Some problem behaviors that may be signs of alcohol or
substance abuse include:
- Failure to fulfill major role
obligations at work, school or home (repeated absences or poor
work performance related to substance use; substance related
absences, suspensions, or expulsions from school, neglect of
children or household).
- Bizarre or lame excuses for social,
occupational or family failures.
- Borrowing (or stealing) money
without good reasons.
- Uncharacteristic mood or personality
- Recurrent alcohol or substance
use in situations in which it is physically hazardous (driving
while impaired, operating machinery while impaired).
- Recurrent alcohol or substance-related
legal problems (arrests for alcohol or substance-related disorderly
- Continued alcohol or substance
use despite having persistent recurrent or recurrent social
or interpersonal problems caused or exacerbated by the effects
of alcohol or substance use (arguments with spouse about consequences
of intoxication, physical fights).
Some physical signs of alcohol or substance abuse include:
- Puncture marks, or long thin lines
along the arms or legs (IV drug use such as heroin).
- Nose and throat problems (snorted
drugs such as cocaine).
- Bloody nose.
- Nasal and/or sinus infections.
- Loss of the sense of smell.
- Drowsiness or loss or coordination
(depressant drugs such as alcohol, Benzodiazepines or Barbiturates).
- Pinned (tiny, constricted)
pupils in the eye (secondary to opioid abuse).
- Disturbances in eye movement.
- Back and forth eye movements during
an extreme lateral gaze (secondary to alcohol abuse).
- Red or bloodshot eyes (secondary
to smoking marijuana).
- Drug-related paraphernalia (pipes,
pill bottles, small plastic bags or vials, lighters, alligator