Drug addiction is a problem that knows no race, class, or gender. And it’s something that’s not always easy to overcome. But the first step in that process is always the same. It’s learning the common signs of drug addiction so you’ll know when to get help for yourself or a loved one who’s struggling.
Some of the tell-tale signs of drug addiction are easy to spot. There are often physical and behavioral effects that are obvious to all. But some of the other signs are so subtle that they’d go unnoticed by an addict’s friends, family, and social circle if they’re not on the lookout for them.
To help, here’s a list of ten signs of drug addiction to look out for that paint an unmistakable picture of someone in need of drug addiction treatment. We’ll begin with the most obvious signs and work our way down to some of the harder-to-spot symptoms. Let’s begin.
Drug addicts often display one or more physical symptoms of the effect a drug is having on their bodies. And although they’re not definitive signs of an addiction, they should be enough to get your attention. Some of the most common physical signs of drug abuse are:
Although some conditions other than drug addiction may cause some of the symptoms listed above, none of them are routine. And if the person in question is suffering from an overdose or another serious adverse reaction to a drug, they may also:
If any of these are present, get help immediately.
Someone addicted to a drug will frequently begin to alter their daily routines, prioritizing procuring and consuming the drug above almost all else. For that reason, it’s common for an addicted person to begin letting some of their normal grooming habits fall by the wayside. They might shower less frequently, neglect to wash their clothing, and stop shaving or styling their hair. As their condition deteriorates, the effects of these changes become more and more obvious.
Drug addiction often interferes with the addict’s ability to use sound reasoning and make good decisions. This might lead them to engage in behavior that they would never have considered before becoming addicted. They might:
In many cases, drug addicts will go to great lengths to deny or downplay their drug use. This almost always includes them lying to family and friends about their drug consumption. They do it as a defense mechanism – rationalizing their problem away as either being nobody’s business or not bad enough to warrant attention from others. They will also frequently become defensive when challenged about their drug habits, lashing out at those trying to get them the help they need.
Because it’s so difficult to conceal the signs of drug addiction from others, addicts often begin to exhibit secretive behavior as their condition worsens. They might start to isolate themselves at home or drop out of sight with increasing frequency as they seek to feed their addiction. This is a symptom that goes hand-in-hand with lying about their drug consumption – and is frequently the next escalation of that behavior.
Drug addiction often drives a person to drift away from their established friend group or social circle. This may be due to their need to conceal their addiction or a result of them seeking out others in similar circumstances to their own. You may also notice a parade of new acquaintances appearing and disappearing out of their lives. It’s all an indication of the instability that drug addiction creates in the addict’s life.
Another common sign of drug addiction is an increase in the number of crises that appear in the addict’s life. They may neglect their work or home obligations, leading to frequent blow-ups and emergencies as they try to cope. They might seek out others’ help to get them out of trouble when it happens, and as these incidents pile up, it will become clearer that there’s an underlying cause at work.
As a drug addiction worsens, the addict will likely consume more and more of the substance at the root of their problem. And that leads to financial difficulties as the drug eats up more and more of their budget. They may begin asking friends and family to borrow money, often in odd amounts, reflecting the cost of the drug they’re trying to procure. They may also be hesitant to disclose why they need the money or offer unusual or implausible excuses for their behavior.
Because of the toll drug addiction takes on a person, both physically and mentally, it’s often difficult for an addict to maintain stable relationships with others. They may begin to neglect those they care about or begin to behave in a way that drives those close to them away. The result is often a string of broken relationships that forms an unmistakable sign of a person in need of drug addiction treatment.
Although it’s difficult to draw a straight line between drug use and specific illnesses, there are some types of illnesses that addicts frequently fall victim to. Those addicted to intravenous drugs like Heroin might end up with bacterial infections, hepatitis, or even HIV (if they’re sharing needles with an infected person). And those addicted to Cocaine might suffer respiratory complications such as breathing difficulty or pulmonary edema. If someone begins getting diagnoses like these with no other obvious causes, drug addiction might be to blame.
Drug addiction creates a painful and difficult situation, both for the addict and for the people who care about them. But the sooner you can identify a drug addiction, the easier it may be for the person to get the help they need to recover. Learning the signs of drug abuse detailed above is the first step in spotting someone who might be suffering from drug addiction. And although they may hesitate to admit their problem, they’ll at least know where to reach out to seek treatment when they’re ready.
And at Enlightened Solutions, we stand ready to provide that treatment. We’re a licensed treatment center that offers recovery services rooted in the 12-step philosophy. We build an individualized recovery program for each client that is designed to heal them as a person – not to just address their addiction.
We combine a variety of treatments, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), art and music therapy, meditation, and yoga to help our clients overcome their addiction and emerge from treatment with the tools they need to live better healthier lives.
If someone you love is exhibiting any of the signs of addiction discussed here, please call us at (833) 801-5483 for more information. We’re ready to help.
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