Do You Know the Body Language Signs & Withdrawal Symptoms of Substance Abuse?


Can you recognize the body language “clues” of possible substance abuse?  Do you know what to look for?  Are you possibly missing the non-verbal signals that may be telling you when others are hiding drug use or lying to you about it?  

Wouldn’t it be helpful to know physical signs and withdrawal symptoms so that you address substance abuse in, and get treatment for, someone you love, sooner rather than later?

Listen to an exclusive Accurate Body Language podcast interview of Peer Support Specialist Reece Correll who gives the straight talk on how to identify body language clues of potential substance abuse.

Peer Support Specialist Reece Correll and Accurate Body Language Founder & CEO Janette Ghedotte worked together on a Crisis Team assisting and connecting people with mental health issues and substance abuse to community resources, services, and treatment.

As a Peer Support Specialist, Reece has real-life “been-there, done-that” substance abuse experience and now has achieved 12 years of active recovery and sobriety.

He helps people through the stages of recovery by:

  • offering compassionate, validating support, and guidance so others may achieve their recovery goals and life potential
  • modeling effective recovery coping strategies, techniques, and methods
  • connecting people to available resources

Janette Ghedotte

Accurate Body Language Founder & CEO Janette Ghedotte is a:

  • MA LLP Clinical Psychologist
  • Certified “You Can’t Lie to Me: Train-the-Trainer”
    Body Language Expert
  • Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor
  • Internationally Certified Advanced Alcohol & Drug Counselor
  • Certified Imago Relationship Therapist
  • Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist

Together, Reece and Janette share in this Accurate Body Language podcast valuable body language and substance abuse spotting tips.  With awareness and knowledge, you and your loved one can take the necessary next steps.

Cocaine in the Brain: Cocaine blocks the normal recycling process of dopamine in the brain synapse resulting in excess dopamine and pleasurable effects.

Cocaine may increase:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Aggression
  • Anxiety
  • Bowel gangrene due to reduced blood flow
  • Chattiness / rapid talking
  • Cognitive confusion
  • Dilated pupils, bloodshot
  • Energy
  • Bizarre, erratic, and violent behavior
  • Body temperature, blood pressure, high fever, rapid pulse
  • Breathing
  • Gastrointestinal complications
  • Headaches
  • Heart rate
  • Heart attacks, strokes, seizures,and sudden death from cardiac and respiratory arrest
  • Insomnia
  • Itchiness
  • Nosebleeds, nasal septum irritation, runny nose
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Profuse sweating
  • Psychosis with auditory hallucinations
  • Restlessness, irritability, anxiety, panic, and paranoia
  • Swallowing difficulties and hoarseness
  • Tactile hallucinations (e.g., “Coke Bug” insects under the skin)
  • Tremors, vertigo, muscle twitches

Cocaine may decrease:

  • Appetite
  • Constricted blood vessels
  • Sense of smell
  • Sleep
  • Weight

Opioids relieve perceived pain intensity.  Opioid / Heroin medical complications; physical and withdrawal symptoms:

  • Abscesses (boils)
  • Aching muscles
  • Akathisia (uncomfortable feeling of inner restlessness)
  • Arthritis
  • Bacterial infections of the blood vessels and heart valves
  • Bone pain
  • Breathing rate decreases
  • Chills (shivering), cold flashes with goose bumps (“cold turkey”)
  • Clogged blood vessels
  • Constipation
  • Cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty Sleeping
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Dysphoria
  • Eyes: constricted pupils, teary
  • Fever
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • General feeling of being unwell (malaise)
  • Headaches
  • Heart function slows
  • Heavy feeling in the extremities
  • Hepatitis B and C
  • HIV
  • Hot flushes
  • Hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar)
  • Impaired mental function
  • Infection of heart lining and valves
  • Insomnia
  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Itching
  • Joint pain
  • Liver and kidney disease
  • Lung complications (pneumonia, tuberculosis)
  • Mucosal nose tissue damage
  • Muscle and bone pain
  • Nausea
  • Perforated nasal septum
  • Priapism (persistent, uncontrollable erection that is often unrelated to sexual desire)
  • Respiration depression
  • Restless legs syndrome
  • Rheumatologic problems
  • Runny, itchy nose
  • Scared / collapsed veins
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Skin rash or rashes
  • Sneezing
  • Sweating
  • Tachycardia (rapid heartbeat)
  • Tinnitus
  • Tiredness
  • Tremors
  • Vomiting
  • Warm flushing of the skin
  • Weakness
  • Yawning

Marijuana may increase:

  • Apathy, amotivational syndrome
  • Appetite
  • Anxiety, fear, distrust, panic, suicidal thoughts
  • Blood vessels in the eyes
  • Blood pressure
  • Bronchial passages, bronchitis
  • Burning and stinging in the mouth and throat
  • Chronic cough and phlegm
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Constant, mucus-filled cough
  • Depression
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Dysphoric mood (e.g., anxiety, irritability, depressed mood, restlessness),
  • Eyes: red, blurry, bloodshot
  • Fear, paranoia
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms
  • Hunger, referred to as munchies
  • Impaired memory
  • Impaired motor coordination
  • Irritability
  • Heart rate
  • Respiratory and lung problems
  • Sleep impairment
  • Slow reaction time
  • Psychotic episodes, hallucinations, delusions

Marijuana may decrease:

  • Balance
  • Blood capacity to carry oxygen
  • Formation of new memories
  • Immune system functioning
  • Motor coordination
  • Posture
  • Reaction time

Voluntary Choice and Drug Use May Lead to Drug Abuse and Dependence characterized by intense uncontrollable drug craving, compulsive drug seeking, and drug use despite devastating consequences to the individual, family, and community.

Drug exposure changes optimal brain functioning. Addiction is a brain disease that affects neurotransmitters and complex brain circuits and processing, including those involved in reward and motivation, learning and memory, and inhibitory control over behavior.

If you suspect drug abuse or addiction in yourself or a loved one, contact medical and drug addiction treatment for proper assessment and treatment options.

References / Resources:



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