Are They or Aren’t They? How to Tell If Someone Is On Drugs

signs and symptoms of drug addiction

In movies and cinema, it’s easy to spot who the addict is. They’re a caricature. But in reality, it’s much harder. Almost 10% of the population has used an illicit drug in the last month, and many are able to keep up appearances, at least in the beginning.

If you’re wondering how to tell if someone is on drugs, there are signs that you can look for. If you’re worried about a colleague or loved one, this is what you should be looking for:

How to Tell If Someone Is on Drugs

The characteristics of addiction generally come under two categories: physical and behavioral. Unfortunately, substance dependence can have a big impact on behavior, and this can be one of the first indicators that someone has a drug problem.

Physical Signs

When looking for signs of drug use, the physical signs can often be easier to spot than the behavioral. It’s not unusual for teenagers (or other addicts) to go through behavioral changes as they find their place in the world, but physical symptoms tend to have fewer explanations.

Things to look for in people of any age include:

  • Bloodshot Eyes. This is quite characteristic of people using marijuana, however, it isn’t exclusive to that drug.
  • Glazed Eyes, Dilated or Constricted Pupils. If you find yourself looking at a friend or colleague and thinking there is something not quite right about their eyes then it might be worth taking a closer look.
  • Weight Changes. Many drugs influence the metabolism, or just stifle hunger pangs. As a result, a person’s weight may change quite rapidly, without diet or exercise playing a part.
  • Change in Sleep Patterns. While some drugs will make a person excessively sleepy, others are stimulants. An Unusual amount of wakefulness is how to tell if someone is on coke, for example.
  • A Strange Smell. Some drugs leave an odor around the body or are excreted in sweat. If the person you are concerned about doesn’t smell the way they used to, that could be another sign.

There are other explanations for these signs, but it is still worth considering a substance abuse problem if you see them.

Behavioral Signs

Drug dependence changes behavior in many ways. This could be because of the process of addiction and the need to hide it, but some drugs can also change a person’s behavior.

Here are some behaviors that could be a cause for concern:

  • A person becomes unusually aggressive or is more irritable than normal
  • The person loses their natural vitality or appears to be depressed
  • They seem ‘up and down’, sometimes very happy and other times very low
  • You notice them associating with people who are outside their usual circle
  • They begin lying, being evasive or are caught in criminal behavior

While finding out that someone close to you has a substance problem is distressing, it’s important to remember that many people can recover well with help from professionals such as those at this center.

Looking After Yourself

We hope this article helped you to understand how to tell if someone is on drugs. Living with someone with substance abuse problems can take its toll on your own health. Prioritize yourself with ideas from our health and wellbeing archive, just click here to read more.

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