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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Know the signs

Following are a few warning signs that may indicate unhealthy alcohol or drug use. Chemical dependency, like any other disease, requires early intervention and treatment. Left untreaded,t he disease of addiction can be fatal. If you notice signs in a student, friend, family member or coworker, call Vanguard Counseling Center for an extensive and confidential evaluation.

  • Mood swings; sudden changes in personality with no known cause
  • Loss of interest in hobbies, sports or other activities
  • Sudden decline in performance or attendance at school or work
  • Changes in friends and reluctance to talk about new friends
  • Deterioration of personal grooming habits
  • Forgetfulness or difficulty paying attention
  • Changes in sleep patterns or appetite
  • Slurred speech, bloodshot eyes
  • Drug paraphernalia hidden in car room or office
  • Sudden aggressive behavior, irritability, nervousness or giddiness
  • Increased secretiveness or heightened sensitivity to inquiry

Physical Signs

Some of the signs and symptoms of a substance abuse problem include:

  • Loss of appetite, increase in appetite, any changes in eating habits, unexplained weight loss or gain.
  • Slowed or staggering walk; poor physical coordination.
  • Inability to sleep, awake at unusual times, unusual laziness.
  • Red, watery eyes; pupils larger or smaller than usual; blank stare.
  • Cold, sweaty palms; shaking hands.
  • Puffy face, blushing or paleness.
  • Smell of substance on breath, body or clothes.
  • Extreme hyperactivity; excessive talkativeness.
  • Runny nose; hacking cough.
  • Needle marks on lower arm, leg or bottom of feet.
  • Nausea, vomiting or excessive sweating.
  • Tremors or shakes of hands, feet or head.
  • Irregular heartbeat.

Behavioral Signs

  • Change in overall attitude/personality with no other identifiable cause.
  • Changes in friends; new hang-outs; sudden avoidance of old crowd; doesn't want to talk about new friends; friends are known drug users.
  • Change in activities or hobbies.
  • Drop in grades at school or performance at work; skips school or is late for school.
  • Change in habits at home; loss of interest in family and family activities.
  • Difficulty in paying attention; forgetfulness.
  • General lack of motivation, energy, self-esteem, "I don't care" attitude.
  • Sudden over sensitivity, temper tantrums, or resentful behavior.
  • Moodiness, irritability, or nervousness.
  • Silliness or giddiness.
  • Paranoia
  • Excessive need for privacy; unreachable.
  • Secretive or suspicious behavior.
  • Car accidents.
  • Chronic dishonesty.
  • Unexplained need for money, stealing money or items.
  • Change in personal grooming habits.
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia.

Source: American Council on Drug Education