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Signs and symptoms of drug addiction depend on what types of drugs are being abused and how addicted is the user. Most drug addicts try to isolate themselves and will do anything and everything to hide their drug use from their family and friends. Listed below are some common signs of use for different popular drugs in today’s world.


Opiate abuse accounts for the largest number of drug overdoses, according to National Institute on Drug Abuse. They include the common street drug heroin and many pharmaceuticals such as Oxycontin, Opana, Delaudid, and Fentantyl, and Percocet. Prescription opiate addicts often participate in “doctor shopping”, in which they visit multiple doctors to get copious amounts of prescription drugs, while avoiding suspicion. A large number of prescription opiate addicts will often start off with abusing painkillers and progress to using heroin because its price is cheaper and it produces the same effect. Withdrawal symptoms from opiates are not life-threatening but leave the user feeling very sick. Withdrawal symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and flu-like symptoms.

Some common signs of opiate addiction include:

  • Excessive itching
  • Excessive fatigue or “nodding out”
  • Profuse sweating
  • Constricted or pinned-out pupils
  • Slurred speech
  • Dramatic weight loss
  • Little to no appetite
  • Track marks on limps

Withdrawal symptoms from opiates are not life-threatening but leave the user feeling very sick and can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and flu-like symptoms.


Benzodiazepines or “benzos” are a class of drugs used to treat a wide variety of anxiety disorders. They include prescription drugs like Xanax, Klonopin, and Valium. Withdrawal symptoms associated with benzos can be life-threatening if not treated properly. Medically assisted detox programs are often required to detox patients off of these drugs. Common withdrawal symptoms include extreme nausea, vomiting, tremors, severe paranoia, and seizures.

Some common signs of benzodiazepine addiction include:

  • Poor coordination
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Unusual sleeping patterns
  • Amnesia
  • Appearance of dementia
  • Irritability
  • Hostility


Cocaine is a popular stimulant and therefore, signs of use typically are centered around unusual hyperactivity. Withdrawal symptoms are primarily mental and may include drowsiness, irritability, depression and anxiety.

Some common signs of Cocaine addiction include:

  • Jitteriness
  • Paranoia
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Severe mood swings
  • Manic-like behaviors
  • Excessive anxiousness
  • Red eyes and dilated pupils
  • Suppressed appetite
  • Dramatic weight loss


Methamphetamines or “crystal meth” is a stimulant like cocaine. It is very addictive like cocaine, except its effects last significantly longer, allowing its users to stay awake for much longer periods of time. This leads to sometimes more erratic behavior and hallucinations.

Some common symptoms of Methamphetamine addiction may include:

  • Mood swings
  • Dramatic weight loss
  • Suppressed appetite
  • Severe insomnia
  • Extreme paranoia
  • Erratic behavior
  • “Meth mouth” (rotting teeth)
  • Convulsions
  • Tremors
  • Audio and visual hallucinations
  • Psychosis

Recognizing a drug addiction is the first step in seeking recovery and it is very important for friends and families to refrain from judgment when approaching a loved one about getting help for their addiction. It is much more effective to make it known that you’re coming from a place of love and concern when urging someone else to seek treatment.

Addiction is a life-long battle and millions have found relief through participating in treatment programs and attending 12 step support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA). Both programs are spiritually-based, free of any dues or fees and allow membership to anyone who has a desire to stop drinking and using drugs. Both hold daily meetings in all 50 states and across the world.

The Florida Drug Addiction Helpline offers free consultation to those who are struggling with addiction and seeking drug addiction treatment to help them find appropriate rehab treatment options. If you or someone you know is struggling with drug addiction and is in need of treatment, please contact the Florida Drug Addiction Helpline at 855-982-2401. A representative will help you find the right drug addiction treatment center for you in your area.