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  • Writer's pictureDahlia Foundation

frequently asked questions on alcohol and drugs in India

What are the physical signs of abuse or addiction?

Physical signs of abuse or addiction can vary depending on the specific substance or behaviour involved, but there are some common physical signs and symptoms that may indicate a problem. It's important to note that these signs can also be related to other medical or psychological conditions, so they should not be used in isolation to diagnose abuse or addiction. If you suspect someone is struggling with abuse or addiction, it's essential to seek professional help and support. Here are some general physical signs associated with substance abuse and addiction:

Changes in appearance:

Poor personal hygiene.

Unkempt appearance.

Significant weight loss or gain.

Bloodshot or glassy eyes.

Unexplained injuries or bruises.

Changes in sleep patterns:

Insomnia or oversleeping.

Disrupted or irregular sleep patterns.

Changes in appetite:

Increased or decreased appetite

neglecting to eat or overeating, resulting in noticeable weight changes.

Physical health issues:

Frequent illnesses or infections.

Chronic cough or respiratory problems (common in tobacco and drug abuse).

Persistent or unexplained health issues.

Track marks or injection sites:

For intravenous drug users, the presence of track marks or needle puncture wounds on the skin.

Dilated or constricted pupils:

Changes in the size of the pupils, which can be a sign of drug use.

Tremors and shakes:

Uncontrollable trembling or shaking of hands or other body parts.

Nausea and vomiting:

Nausea, vomiting, or frequent upset stomach.

Changes in coordination:

Impaired motor skills or unsteady gait.

Dental problems:

Severe tooth decay or gum disease, often associated with methamphetamine or crack cocaine use.

Skin issues:

Skin problems like sores, acne, or rashes, which may result from drug use or poor hygiene.

Needle marks or scars:

Scarring and marks on the skin from repeated injections (common in intravenous drug users).


Unusual or pungent body odour due to poor hygiene or specific substances, such as alcohol.

It's important to remember that not all individuals struggling with abuse or addiction will exhibit all of these physical signs, and some signs may be more pronounced than others. Additionally, psychological and behavioural changes, such as withdrawal from social activities, changes in mood, increased secrecy, and neglect of responsibilities, are also essential indicators of abuse or addiction. If you or someone you know is experiencing substance abuse or addiction, seek professional help from healthcare providers, counsellors, or support groups to address the issue.

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