How to Tell if Someone is on Drugs

Wondering how to tell if someone is on drugs? Look for the following signs and symptoms

With drug abuse and addiction running rampant across America, it is every parent’s concern to be vigilant of their loved one’s behavior. There are signs and symptoms of drug abuse and addiction that may suggest that your friend or family member is using drugs. How to tell if someone is on drugs may also depend on what type of drugs are being taken. Different drugs can cause specific symptoms that other drugs do not create.

You can learn how to identify a drug addict by studying the signs of drug addiction:

How to Identify a Drug Addict

  • There will be a sudden change in behavior when a person begins to use drugs
  • Mood swings will begin with feelings of euphoria, joy or happiness, but can quickly change to irritability, anger and sadness
  • A drug addict usually begins to withdraw from family and friends and spend more time alone or with other drug users
  • Sleeping patterns may begin to change because of the effects of the drug being taken
  • Personal hygiene and grooming begin to be neglected and the addict may smell from a lack of bathing
  • An addict’s eyes can look glassy and red and he may have a runny nose
  • Drug addicts will begin to neglect their duties and responsibilities

Different Drugs Cause Special Symptoms

  • Methamphetamine can cause hyperactivity, talkativeness, paranoia, depression, extreme weight loss, profuse sweating, aggressive or violent behavior, mood swings, shaking and mental confusion.
  • Heroin can cause sedation, a depressed respiratory system, irritated and itchy skin, euphoria, heart and lung problems, kidney failure, disorientation, blood clots, slurred speech, needle marks, hostile behavior, and lying and manipulation.
  • Marijuana can cause forgetfulness, squinty eyes, delayed motor skills, excessive laughter, paranoia, mood swings, lethargy, compulsive eating and hallucinations.
  • Cocaine can cause hyperactivity, talkativeness, mood swings, panic attacks, confusion, decreased libido, irritability, twitching, respiratory depression, bizarre or violent behavior, and hallucinations.
  • PCP can cause fear, paranoia, suicidal thoughts and acts, bizarre or violent behavior, sweating, impaired perception, skin flushing, withdrawn behavior, dizziness and numbness.
  • Inhalants can cause euphoria, dizziness, memory and hearing loss, slurred speech, staggering gait, tremors, fainting and unconsciousness.

As you can see, symptoms will vary depending on what substance is being used. Other marked behaviors of drug addicts include lying and manipulation; the drug addict will try to cover up his actions and whereabouts. He may ask to borrow money or steal money to get his drug. An addict may have withdrawal symptoms if he has not taken his drug. These are all clues on how to identify a drug addict.

Signs of Drug Use in Men

Men may exhibit the usual effects of drug abuse, but they may have an increase in criminal and aggressive behavior. Men have the highest rate of drug addiction in the U.S. and it is estimated that about 67% of substance abuse admissions in the U.S. are male. It is believed that men are higher risk takers than women and this may be one of the causes of higher substance abuse among men. Research has shown that many male prison inmates who abuse drugs also have co-occurring mental disorders. Some of the most common substances used by men are:

  • Alcohol at 42%
  • Marijuana at 20%
  • Heroin at 15%

Homosexual men have a higher substance abuse rate than heterosexual men and this is attributed to childhood trauma and the need to self-medicate the psychological stress. Signs of drug use in men may include:

  • Driving under the influence
  • Excessive daily consumption of alcohol or drugs
  • Problems at work or at home
  • Mood swings, irritability
  • Experiencing withdrawal
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Finding drug paraphernalia
  • A change in sleep patterns
  • Withdrawal from family and friends
  • Confusion, depression, euphoria
  • Anti-social personality disorder

It is easier to know how to identify a drug addict when you have the facts. There may be different signs of drug use in men than there are in women, but most drug addicts will exhibit some of the signs in this article. If your loved one is exhibiting some of these signs, it may be time for an intervention to address the problem.

If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.