10 Signs of Drug Abuse or Addiction

Young Man Dealing with Drug Addiction
For most people it hits them unaware; a parent, spouse or child with an apparent drug abuse problem. For most it comes as a great shock. How did this happen in their house? How didn’t they notice? Many people may have their suspicions, but still are not sure how to tell if their loved one is struggling with drug addiction.

Now, not every case of substance use means an addiction. Addiction itself is a compilation of many factors. Not all cases of use require a drug treatment program. These ten signs are indicators of what is possibly the development of abuse to dependence. There are many ways to treat this. The most common course of action is that of a drug rehab program, or support group. If your loved one is fitting the build of the behaviors listed, chances are they could be treading the path to dependence. If you have questions about addiction and abuse, the best way to get them answered is by contacting a rehabilitation program directly.

  1. Loss of Interest – Apathy - Complacency: While this is not common it is a noticeable characteristic. Someone who is normally quite active and involved in a number of things can lose interest. Hobbies, talents, and skills that the individual normally enjoys, they will no longer seem interested in. It isn’t that those things are no longer important to them. It is that their attention is turned to feeding the impulse of their drug of choice. The individual will be apathetic towards things they used to feel very strongly about. This includes anything of interest, including people.
  2. Physical Signs – Noticeable: When an individual uses drugs, there are a number of noticeable physical signs that can be picked up on. Blood Shot (red) eyes, dilated pupils, sniffling, itching, injection marks, puffy face, unusual skin color are all noticeable signs of use and abuse. If it is an incessant occurrence chances are that the individual is using quite frequently. A person can go to great lengths to hide these indicators as well. However, if complacency has set in, they may not be so committed to hiding their use from others.
  3. Change in Physical Appearance: Different than the subtle signs of drug use, a person consistently abusing drugs and alcohol can undergo alterations to their physical appearance. This behavior can suppress the appetite. An addict can experience rapid weight loss or gain. Eating habits and the time of day when a person eats can rapidly change as well. Another area of noticing physical change is in appearances. Once again complacency sets in. Someone who used to take a lot of pride in physical appearance can change rapidly. If you notice a rapid change in physical appearance and in the clothes they wear, chances are they may be struggling.
  4. Discovering Drug Paraphernalia: Many drugs require articles to compliment use. Cigarette wrapping papers, pipes, syringes, lighters, burnt spoons, bongs (glass or pottery made items used for smoking marijuana), razor blades, and cutting surfaces (like mirrors or glass) are all common types of paraphernalia that can be discovered. There are other items that are not considered paraphernalia that can be indicators. One of them is eye clearing wash. Some drugs of abuse can cause blood shot eyes and dilated pupils. The eye clearing wash is a quick fix it of eliminating this problem. Now most people have eye wash, but an inordinate amount of the stuff is an indicator.
  5. Rapid Mood Swings: When determining rapid mood swings you must take into consideration what is normal for the individual. Someone who is usually calm and collected can be ultra-hyper and out of control. Someone who is usually pleasant and upbeat can be miserably depressed. Also erratic mood swings from one end of the spectrum to the other can also be caused by drug abuse. If these things are strangely not the norm, chances are you might be dealing with substance use or a mental health issue.
  6. Reclusive and Private Behavior: Another behavioral issue that is common is one of a reclusive nature. The behavior of substance use is very isolating. The person can have all the appearance of hiding something, or being very private in their actions. Does the person spend a lot of time in their room? Do they lock their room on leaving and entering? Do they seem bottled up when you ask them questions? These are indicators that they may be hiding something, possibly substance abuse.
  7. Rapid Change in What is Considered “Normal” For the individual: This is a notice in a rapid change in daily routine. Cutting out on work, school, and home life are indicators of a change in routine. This can stem from the behavior that is developed through a period of substance use. The things that are considered “normal” daily activities take a back seat to the constant need to obtain and use drugs of abuse. An increase in medical conditions is also indicator of abnormal behaviors. Prescription drugs are a growing concern in society. Medical conditions are an easy way to obtain prescriptions that are abused.
  8. Erratic Behaviors: These can be the most noticeable traits of addiction. They are behaviors that are not typical of the person. Excessive excitability or giddiness out of someone who is typically serious is an example. These behaviors can become dangerous situations. This is typical with violent behaviors caused by withdrawal. Some behaviors are magnified by substance use. A good example of this is with depression or similar co-occurring disorder problems. The abuse of an addictive substance can amplify the impact of something like depression. Such disorders like depression or anxiety have also been shown to be strong influences in causing drug abuse. A brain struggling with a mood disorder is more susceptible to the influences of drugs. Treatments have been developed that focus on dual diagnosis and care for both mental health struggles and addictions
  9. Additional Behaviors: There are additional behaviors to look for in drug using. One of which is being overly sensitive about things. Particularly the subject of drugs, abuse, and similar topics. Along with this sensitivity is defensiveness. Sensitivity and defensiveness are mechanisms used for hiding the habit. This behavior can also result in an aggressive mood swing. Another defense used by users is that of being argumentative. They will find a way to turn the emphasis away from their problem and onto something else.
  10. Sleep Habits: Substance use plays havoc on sleep habits. Someone who is struggling with addiction and abuse can have completely erratic sleeping habits. If the person is keeping off hours, staying up late, or overly sleeping, these are possible indicators. With some stimulants, the person must stay up for lengthy amounts of time to maintain the high. This also can result in a crash and excessive sleep. Depressant drugs also induce sleep. Erratic sleep habits are an indicator or potential of chemical dependence.
There is a misconception in dealing with an addict that rehab is something shameful. This is of course not the case. Drug rehab should be considered a form of medical treatment. It is an experience and not a punishment. These ten signs are indicators of potential addiction. It is not a measurement of the extent of the addiction or abuse. In serious cases of addiction the firm answer can only be drug rehab.

This information was provided by Cirque Lodge. We are a private and exclusive rehabilitation facility in the mountains of Sundance Utah. Our focus is to provide the most effective and compassionate addiction treatment programs. We provide this information in a continuance to educate and assist the public with their alcohol and drug addiction issues.