How to Tell If Someone Is Using Drugs

Want to know how to tell if someone is using drugs? Consider these tips from White Sands Treatment Center

Do you know how to tell if someone is using drugs? Do you suspect your loved one of using drugs, but you aren’t sure? Drug abuse and addiction do have telltale signs, and once you know what they are you will know how to identify a drug addict. Some drugs create more apparent signs and symptoms, but drug abuse and addiction do reveal many things about the drug user that should serve as red flags. If you notice that your loved one has a few of the following signs and symptoms, it may be time to sit down and have a real heart to heart talk with them before it’s too late.

Here are some of the signs of drug use:

  1. People who are abusing drugs will begin to show noticeable signs of behavior and personality changes. Drugs often affect the way the brain functions by either slowing it down with sedatives or revving it up with stimulants. Any type of behavior that is out of the norm for the person should be a red flag that something is amiss. Some signs may include: lethargy, disorientation, paranoia, anger, hostility, sadness, euphoria, etc. Mood swings may become prevalent as the person goes from being high on drugs to coming down from the high and going into withdrawal.
  2. People who use drugs usually begin to withdraw from their family and friends and would rather associate with other people who use drugs, or be alone to use drugs. If you notice that your loved one is beginning to pull away from you and not engaging in conversations like they used to, then you know something is wrong.
  3. Lying and manipulation are a big part of covering up the fact that you are abusing drugs. If your loved one is often caught lying to you about where he has been, with whom, and what he was doing, you should be concerned. One of the signs of drug use is trying to cover-up your whereabouts and what you were doing. Lying and manipulation are defense mechanisms that an addict will use to try and cover up their drug use.
  4. Drug addicts often begin to neglect personal grooming and hygiene. They may appear unkempt, dirty and have a body odor from a lack of bathing. Some drugs may cause an addict to sweat profusely, and this is another sign to be aware of. High functioning addicts are better able to continue keeping up appearances, but eventually as the addiction becomes more severe, it will be harder to do so.
  5. Addicts usually have glassy eyes, dilated or constricted pupils and a runny nose. They may say they have a cold but these symptoms don’t go away in a week or so. They may also have slurred speech and a staggering gait. Some addicts experience shaking and involuntary muscle movements.
  6. There will also be a noticeable change in the addict’s sleeping and eating patterns. Some drugs decrease the appetite and cause significant weight loss. Sedatives will make a person sleep more often and for a longer amount of time. Stimulants will keep an addict up for long periods of time until their body gives out and then they will have a prolonged sleep to recuperate. This lack of rest will begin to affect their mood and they may become edgy, irritable, angry, hostile and violent.
  7. Drug addicts usually begin to neglect their responsibilities and duties at home, work or school. Their attendance may begin to falter and also their performance, which can lead to being fired from their job or being left back a grade in school. A parent who uses drugs may begin to neglect his children and household duties. He or she may even begin to abuse his or her children and spouse.
  8. Another aspect regarding how to identify a drug addict and how to tell if someone is using drugs, is to watch for increased financial issues. Financial problems usually become a way of life for a drug addict because most of their money is spent on drugs. The addict may try to borrow or steal money to buy their drugs.

Other signs of drug use that can help with how to tell if someone is using drugs, are finding drug paraphernalia on the person or in their room. Committing criminal acts to obtain money for drugs, and engaging in risky behavior are other signs of drug use. If your loved one is using drugs, he will begin to be affected by the drugs he uses and it will affect his personality. He may begin to change and become more egocentric, caring only about himself and his needs.

By looking for all these signs of drug use, you can learn how to identify a drug addict. If you suspect your loved one of using drugs, it may be time for a family intervention to get him into a rehabilitation program to get the professional help he needs.

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.