Recognizing the Signs of Drug AbuseFor many reasons, people are not as forthcoming about their drug abuse as they may be about other problems. Still, there are physical, behavioral, and psychological warning signs of both use and abuse. If you recognize these signs in a loved one, it may be time to seek a substance abuse program.

Physical Signs of Drug Use of Abuse

There are a variety of telltale physical signs that your loved one may have a drug problem. Common physical indicators include:

  • Bloodshot or glassy eyes; enlarged or dilated pupils
  • Runny nose or sniffling
  • Sudden changes in weight (loss or gain)
  • Changes in appetite
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Slurred speech
  • Tremors or shakes
  • Lack of coordination
  • Flushing or lack of color in the face
  • Little interest in hygiene or personal appearance
  • Unusual smells on body or clothing

If your loved one is showing one or more of these physical indicators, it does not necessarily mean there is a drug problem. However, there is something going on and a visit to the doctor would be a good step in addressing whatever is happening.

Behavioral Signs of Substance Abuse

Changes in behavior are often the first warning signs that a person may be in need of a substance abuse program. These behavioral changes are commonly associated with drug use:

  • Changes in sleep patterns, including insomnia, being awake throughout the night, or falling asleep at odd times.
  • Lack of energy/lethargy, or excessive energy, depending on the drug being used.
  • Hyperactivity or extreme talkativeness
  • Missing school, work, or other activities
  • A change in friends or associates; lack of interest in social interactions
  • Secrecy or an increased need for privacy
  • Dishonesty; getting caught in lies
  • An increased need for money; borrowing
  • Failing to pay bills or handle financial matters

If these indicators sound familiar, it may be time to speak to your loved one about drug rehab. You can call a treatment center to learn more about how a substance abuse program can help.

Psychological Indicators of a Drug Problem

Drugs will also have an obvious effect on the user’s mental state. If you’re worried about a loved one’s drug use, the following may be “red flags:”

  • Anxiety, paranoia, or sudden outbursts
  • Lack of motivation; seeming “spaced out,” unconnected, and disengaged
  • Instability or nervousness
  • Periods of increased energy
  • Mood swings, sudden outbursts, increased irritability
  • Changes in attitude or personality
  • Defensiveness

If you recognize any of these signs, speak up. Now is the time to voice your concerns and to offer support without judgment. You don’t have to wait for your loved one to hit rock bottom. Instead, listen to your loved one, and suggest medical help or a treatment center as appropriate. The sooner someone starts getting treatment, the better. Don’t hesitate to speak up.

Need help in talking to a loved one who may have an addiction problem? Our trained admissions counselors can help. Call 866-349-1770 for suggestions on starting that very important conversation and to learn what help is available to your loved one.