Symptoms of Chemical Dependency

The following list of signs and symptoms can help you determine, if you or a loved one is experiencing problems with substance abuse. Although some of the signs and symptoms listed below can be caused by other problems including depression, seeking help from a mental health professional may be warranted. In addition to the signs and symptoms list, if you are concerned that you or a loved one is experiencing problems with substance abuse, please complete the drug abuse checklist.

Behavioral Signs

  • Change in overall attitude/personality with no other identifiable cause
  • Avoiding friends or family members in order to get high or drunk
  • Missing work or school because of drug use or drinking
  • General lack of motivation, energy, self-esteem or having an "I don't care" attitude
  • Taking risks while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Constantly talking about using drugs or alcohol
  • Pressuring others to take drugs or drink
  • Believing drug use or alcohol are needed in order to have fun
  • Excessive need for privacy
  • Chronic dishonesty or lying about the amount of drugs or alcohol being taken
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia
  • Getting in trouble with the law

Physical Signs

  • Loss or increase of appetite, significant changes in eating habits or unexplained weight loss or gain
  • Red, watery eyes or pupils larger or smaller than normal
  • Smell of substance on breath, body or clothes
  • Nausea, vomiting or excessive sweating
  • Tremors or shakes of hands, feet or head
  • Needle marks on lower arm or leg

Drug Specific Symptoms


  • Clumsiness
  • Difficulty walking
  • Slurred speech
  • Sleepiness
  • Poor judgment
  • Dilated pupils


  • Glassy, red eyes
  • Loud talking and inappropriate laughing followed by sleepiness
  • A sweet burnt scent
  • Weight gain or loss


  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Clumsiness
  • Poor judgment
  • Sleepiness
  • Contracted pupils


  • Anxiety or irritability
  • Hyperactivity
  • Excessive talking followed by depression or excessive sleeping at odd times
  • Dilated pupils
  • Weight loss
  • Is able to go long periods without sleeping or eating


  • Watery eyes with impaired vision
  • Secretions from the nose or rashes around the nose and mouth
  • Impaired memory or thought process
  • Headaches and nausea
  • Poor muscle control
  • Changes in appetite
  • Anxiety or irritability


  • Bizarre and irrational behavior including paranoia, aggression and/or hallucinations
  • Mood swings
  • Detachment from people with absorption of self or other objects


  • Needle marks on arm, leg or bottom of feet
  • Contracted pupils that do not respond to light
  • Loss of appetite
  • Coughing and sniffling
  • Sweating

Learn More About Chemical Dependency Services at Laureate Psychiatric Clinic and Hospital

Please call the Outpatient Clinic with questions, Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 918-491-3700. Laureate Hospital is available 24 hours/7 days for all emergencies at 918-481-4000.