Being able to identify the symptoms of substance abuse may help you identify an addiction, affording you ample time to seek treatment.

You’re having second thoughts about the well-being of your loved one, yet, you can’t really pinpoint what their problem could be. Being able to identify the symptoms of substance abuse may be help you understand there may be an addiction present, and you can follow appropriate steps once the problem has been detected.  

Substance abuse is a common health problem that affects millions of people every day in the U.S. alone. Struggling with an addiction can be extremely harmful for the abuser, and it can also have a direct impact on their loved ones and their relationships.

When someone shows signs of drug use, the best way to support them,  is by being caring and understanding, without making the person feel judged or criticized. In many instances, someone struggling may actually deny the existence of a substance abuse problem, out of embarrassment or out of fear.

Providing support and help to someone that is struggling can be difficult, but it’s not impossible. If you are able to identify the following symptoms of drug abuse, you can reach out to specialists and counselors that can guide you through getting your loved one the help they need to recover.

Many signs of drug use are physical, and those are symptoms people will notice initially. However, there are many behavioral symptoms of drug use that your loved one may be showing as well.

The top 5 symptoms of substance abuse that affect the person’s behavior are:

  • Severe mood changes: increased aggression or irritability for no apparent reason
  • Lethargy: sudden loss of interest in hobbies or pastimes
  • Isolation: drastic changes in their social involvement and relationships
  • Careless appearance: will stop caring about personal hygiene
  • Unusual practices: engaging in dangerous or risky activities, lying or committing illegal acts

These signs of drug use start to appear almost immediately after a person begins use. On the physical side, the top 5 symptoms of substance abuse that affect someone’s appearance are:

  • Shakiness of hands and/or body
  • Dilated or constricted pupils
  • Flu-like symptoms (runny nose, red or glazed eyes, headaches…)
  • Sudden changes in weight (especially weight loss)
  • Changes in skin and nail coloration

These symptoms of drug abuse can help you understand what your loved one is going through; being able to be supportive during these difficult times, can actually be life-changing in how someone approaches the idea of getting treatment.

Being able to identify when someone is showing these symptoms of drug abuse can be extremely helpful when trying to get help, before the person goes on a complete downward spiral.

Some of these signs of drug use can actually appear after the first time the person has used a drug (depending on the substance) and having the ability to tell they are struggling with something dangerous and life-threatening, can help save their life.

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.