Drug Abuse Addiction Symptoms and Signs
Warning Signs That a Friend or Family Member is Abusing Drugs
- You’re neglecting your responsibilities at school, work, or home (e.g. flunking classes, skipping work, neglecting your children) because of your drug use.
- You’re using drugs under dangerous conditions or taking risks while high, such as driving while on drugs, using dirty needles, or having unprotected sex.
- Your drug use is getting you into legal trouble, such as arrests for disorderly conduct, driving under the influence, or stealing to support a drug habit.
- Your drug use is causing problems in your relationships, such as fights with your partner or family members, an unhappy boss, or the loss of old friends.
- You’ve built up a drug tolerance. You need to use more of the drug to experience the same effects you used to with smaller amounts.
- You take drugs to avoid or relieve withdrawal symptoms. If you go too long without drugs, you experience symptoms such as nausea, restlessness, insomnia, depression, sweating, shaking, and anxiety.
- You’ve lost control over your drug use. You often do drugs or use more than you planned, even though you told yourself you wouldn’t. You may want to stop using, but you feel powerless.
- Your life revolves around drug use. You spend a lot of time using and thinking about drugs, figuring out how to get them, and recovering from the drug’s effects.
- You’ve abandoned activities you used to enjoy, such as hobbies, sports, and socializing, because of your drug use.
- You continue to use drugs, despite knowing it’s hurting you. It’s causing major problems in your life—blackouts, infections, mood swings, depression, paranoia—but you use anyway.
Drug abusers often try to conceal their symptoms and downplay their problem. If you’re worried that a friend or family member might be abusing drugs, look for the following warning signs:
Physical warning signs of drug abuse:
- Bloodshot eyes or pupils that are larger or smaller than usual.
- Changes in appetite or sleep patterns. Sudden weight loss or weight gain.
- Deterioration of physical appearance and personal grooming habits.
- Unusual smells on breath, body, or clothing.
- Tremors, slurred speech, or impaired coordination.
Behavioral signs of drug abuse:
- Drop in attendance and performance at work or school.
- Unexplained need for money or financial problems. May borrow or steal to get it.
- Engaging in secretive or suspicious behaviors.
- Sudden change in friends, favorite hangouts, and hobbies.
- Frequently getting into trouble (fights, accidents, illegal activities).
Psychological warning signs of drug abuse:
- Unexplained change in personality or attitude.
- Sudden mood swings, irritability, or angry outbursts.
- Periods of unusual hyperactivity, agitation, or giddiness.
- Lack of motivation; appears lethargic or “spaced out.”
- Appears fearful, anxious, or paranoid, with no reason.
Warning Signs of Teen Drug Use:
There are many warning signs of drug use and abuse in teenagers. The challenge for parents is to distinguish between the normal, sometimes volatile, ups and downs of the teen years and the red flags of substance abuse.
- Being secretive about friends, possessions, and activities.
- New interest in clothing, music, and other items that highlight drug use.
- Demanding more privacy; locking doors; avoiding eye contact; sneaking around.
- Skipping class; declining grades; suddenly getting into trouble at school.
- Missing money, valuables, or prescriptions.
- Acting uncharacteristically isolated, withdrawn, or depressed.
- Using incense, perfume, or air freshener to hide the smell of smoke or drugs.
- Using eyedrops to mask bloodshot eyes or dilated pupils.
Do you have a substance abuse problem?
- Do you feel like you can’t stop, even if you wanted to?
- Do you ever feel bad or guilty about your drug use?
- Do you need to use drugs to relax or feel better?
- Do your friends or family members complain or worry about your drug use?
- Do you hide or lie about your drug use?
- Have you ever done anything illegal in order to obtain drugs?
- Do you spend money on drugs that you really can’t afford?
- Do you ever use more than one recreational drug at a time?
If you answered “yes” to one or more of the questions, listed above, complete our online assessment form and a specialist will contact you about solutions to your problem.