Impaired Judgement as a Symptom of Addiction

This symptom of drug abuse leads an addict to start making irrational and risky decisions, often ones that are detrimental to the social, physical, and psychological behaviours they would usually exhibit. Nearly all ‘hard’ substances have the potential to affect your brain, even some well-known prescription drugs can produce this side effect. Drugs contain chemicals that can upset the brain’s natural communication system, making the brain process information in a different way, by causing it to discharge too many neurotransmitters. Over time, the brain’s natural production of neurotransmitters will reduce, as the brain becomes dependent on drugs. To get the initial effect that was produced when the person first started using, they will have to keep increasing the amount of drugs they take. Naturally, addiction to these drugs then set in.

The most common types of drugs that are notable for impairing one’s judgement are cocaine, marijuana, opioids, alcohol, prescription depressants, and prescription stimulants. All of these can make you develop a greater or lesser degree of reaction time. Your judgement of speed, spatial awareness, and the ability to assess danger become distorted. This can put you, and others around you, in danger.

The Signs of Impaired Judgement

If you don’t want this to happen, you should seek proper treatment once you notice any of these signs:

Distorted judgement: Warped judgement, your beliefs being different from what they used to be.

Impaired short-term memory: You are no longer able to hold even a small amount of information in your brain for a long time.

Lowered inhibitions: You start behaving differently because the drug has restrained your behavioural processes, and you start exhibiting risky behaviours that could damage your life.

Decrease in attention: You find it difficult to concentrate.

Increased drowsiness: During the daytime, you feel abnormally tired and sleepy.

Alternating drowsy and alert states: Shifting between a sleepy and awake state in a fixed pattern.

Clouded thinking: Your brain feels foggy, and thinking clearly becomes a problem.

Hostility: You become antagonistic and unfriendly, nothing sits well with you.

Euphoria: Feeling extremely happy for no apparent reason.

Anxiety, paranoia and irritability

When to See a Professional for Impaired Judgement?

Impaired judgement can have deadly consequences for the affected person. It is one of the almost inevitable symptoms that a drug addict will experience at some point. If a drug addict should drive under the influence of these drugs, they can endanger their life, or the lives of those around them, in the process. This is because the drugs affect the faculties needed for driving well, faculties like balance and coordination, attention, perception, motor skills, and reaction time. You will want to

attempt difficult and dangerous tasks because the drugs have clouded your thinking and lowered your inhibitions.

If you have a loved one exhibiting the above symptoms, you should seek professional help on their behalf as soon as possible. If you are using drugs yourself, you can also watch out for symptoms in your own behaviour. The ‘red flags’ mean you need urgent medical attention, and you should either speak with a loved one or personally consult a professional. Shame or fear shouldn’t obstruct you from seeking help, because your health and that of your loved ones are what matters the most.

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