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:
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
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- Acting uncharacteristically isolated, withdrawn, or depressed.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.
Although different drugs have different physical effects, the symptoms of different drugs’ addiction are the same no matter the substance. The more drugs begin to affect and control your life, the more likely it is that you’ve crossed the line from drug use to abuse and drug addiction. Unfortunately, when you’re in the middle of it, you may be in denial about the magnitude of the problem or the negative impact it’s had on your life. Watch out if you recognize above mentioned signs and symptoms of substance abuse and addiction. If so, consider talking to someone about your drug use. You’re on a dangerous road, and the sooner you get help, the better.