Signs of Drug Abuse

Sometimes it is hard to know whether someone in your life is abusing drugs. Drug abusers often try to conceal their symptoms and downplay their problem. There are, however, some physical and behavioral signs of drug abuse that you may recognize. Knowing what to look for is critical in determining whether your loved one is abusing drugs. If you’re equipped with the knowledge to decipher the signs of drug abuse you can help your loved one admit they have a problem.

The signs of drug abuse can vary depending on the substance that is being abused. Some of the common physical signs of drug abuse include:

  • Bloodshot eyes or dilated pupils
  • Changes in sleep schedule-staying up for days on end before crashing or sluggish behavior and sleeping constantly
  • Cold, sweaty palms or shaking hands
  • Extreme hyperactivity and constant talking or extreme sluggishness and laziness
  • Runny nose or 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
  • Puffy face, blushing or paleness
  • Change in appetite-an extreme increase or decrease in appetite, or unexplained weight loss or gain
  • Slowed or staggering walk and/or poor physical coordination

Behavioral signs of drug abuse are usually similar no matter what the substance is used. One big sign of drug abuse is a change in personality or attitude for no reason. Many people are baffled when a loved one suddenly becomes moody and angry when they don’t recognize it as a sign of drug abuse.

Another sign of drug abuse is the tendency to isolate. When someone who is abusing drugs does socialize loved ones may notice that they have started to hang out with a different group of friends and/or have lost interest in activities that they used to enjoy.

Slacking off on responsibilities is a sign of a drug abuse. It is common for someone abusing drugs to skip school or work, blow off family commitments, and neglect their housework. A person abusing drugs will usually slack off on personal hygiene as well. If your loved one stops caring about what they look like and begins to exhibit a messy, careless appearance, it could be a sign of drug abuse.

A sudden, excessive need for privacy could be a sign of drug abuse. A person abusing drugs will often disappear while they do drugs. Also, someone who is abusing drugs often becomes extremely protective of their personal space and belongings, often because they are stashing drugs.

Lying is one of the biggest behavioral signs of drug abuse. Many people abusing drugs lie to conceal their drug use, or to conceal amount and frequency of drug use. If your loved one is lying to you about where they are going, who they are spending time with, or what they are doing when they shirked a responsibility, it could be a sign of drug abuse.