How to Identify a Drug Addict: What You Know May Save a Loved One

Posted August 18, 2020 by in Health + Fitness
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Are you worried that someone you love might be a drug addict? While many people think that it’s easy to spot a drug addict, this isn’t always the case. In fact, some people can hide their addictions quite well. 

So, how can you be sure that your loved one is suffering from an addiction? Check out this guide to discover how to identify a drug addict:

drug addition signs

Physical Symptoms 

While it’s not true in all cases, a lot of times, there are physical symptoms that can show someone is an addict. Of course, the symptoms someone displays will depend on the drugs they’re using. 

That being said, here are some physical symptoms to watch out for:

  • Skin problems
  • Red eyes
  • Changes in weight or appetite 
  • Constricted or dilated pupils
  • Strange body odors
  • Changes in speech patterns (both opioids and alcohol can cause slurring, while uppers and hallucinogens can cause rapid, repetitive speech)

If someone who is an addict stops using their substance of choice, the may also display withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms can include insomnia, mood swings, constipation, diarrhea, hallucinations, sweating, and even seizures

Behavioral/Social Symptoms 

Oftentimes, addiction changes the way someone interacts with others, be it close family members or total strangers. Here are some behavioral and social signs that someone is suffering from addiction:

  • Engaging in risky behavior
  • Lying
  • Financial struggles
  • Legal problems
  • Neglecting relationships, both personal and professional
  • Missing school, work, or other important engagements
  • Social withdrawal or isolation
  • Changes in sleeping patterns
  • Disregarding routines and responsibilities

As we mentioned earlier, some people are very good at hiding their addictions. These types of people are known as functioning or high-functioning addicts. So, just because they’re not displaying these social and behavioral symptoms doesn’t mean there isn’t a problem. 

Emotional Symptoms 

Emotional changes can also be a telltale sign that someone is struggling with addiction. Here are some things to watch out for:

  • Argumentativeness and irritability
  • Loss of interest in friends, family members, and activities
  • Acting obnoxious, inappropriate, or childish
  • Offering strange excuses when confronted about inappropriate behavior
  • Diverting or shifting blame
  • Appearing easily confused

If your loved one is displaying one or more of these emotional signs, then there’s a chance that they’re struggling with addiction. The next step will be to talk to them about their recovery options. If you’re not sure what’s available in terms of recovery programs, you can check out this informational packet.

How to Identify a Drug Addict: Time to Take the Next Steps 

Now that you know how to identify a drug addict, it’s time to take the next steps. This means confronting your loved one about their addiction. Ideally, you’ll want to hold an intervention in which a substance abuse professional helps you confront your loved one. 

Then, they can begin their journey to recovery. Be sure to check back in with our blog for more addiction-related news and tips.