Do You Think Your Loved One May Be On Drugs?

It can be the worst of feelings: you think someone you love may be abusing drugs. Drug and alcohol abuse, especially in adolescents and teenagers, can be difficult to spot. Many alcohol and drug abusers attempt to hide their use from their loved ones because of shame, fear, and not wanting to stop. 

However, there are some signs you can look for to see if your child, parent, family member or friend might be using drugs. Identifying the problem is the first step in solving the problem. Drug and alcohol abuse are diseases, and they can be treated. Early intervention is important, as the earlier these habits are caught the easier they can be to deal with and the less disruption they can cause to one’s life. 

Alcohol and drug addiction can result in health and legal problems, disruption of family units, problems at work, and other factors that harm lives— they can even end in death if not properly treated. Below you’ll find some signs of drug use in adults and adolescents as well as signs of alcohol abuse. 

We also suggest some methods to start treating these diseases, and we’re always available to help at Palm Beach Interventions. 

Signs Of Drug Use In Adults

Signs of drug use in adults are wide and varied, but almost always involve behavioral changes. Just because your loved one is suddenly acting strange doesn’t mean they are necessarily on drugs, but combined with other factors could mean they are using. In addition, different types of drug use can have different symptoms. 

Behavioral changes might be one of the first things you notice in your loved ones. Behavioral changes are present in nearly all advanced stages of drug abuse, and while some are more common with certain drugs, there are commonalities with almost all types of drug use. The Behavioral signs of drug use in adults include:

  • Not being interested in things they were previously interested in
  • Decreasing performance at work or school 
  • Loss of interest in grooming and hygiene
  • Loss of interest in family activities
  • Hanging out with a new group of people 
  • Acting shady, hiding things they normally wouldn’t, being secretive
  • Money problems
  • Changes in appetite
  • Psychological problems like paranoia, anxiety, confusion, depression

There are also physical signs of drug use in adults that you should watch out for. While physical symptoms vary greatly between drugs abused, there are some common symptoms to watch out for. Physical signs of drug use in adults include: 

  • Changes in the eyes: bloodshot eyes, wide open pupils, constricted pupils, glassy eyes
  • Needle marks or “tracks” (scars along the veins from IV drug use), usually first found on the arms 
  • Odd sleeping habits— staying up all night, or sleeping too much
  • Unusual smells in homes, bedrooms and other living spaces, clothing and automobiles
  • Finding drug paraphernalia such as pipes, syringes, rolled up dollar bills and short straws, dirty mirrors, small baggies or vials, burnt tin foil 
  • Vomiting and unusual sickness
  • Problems with dental hygiene
  • Constant scratching on the body, nervousness
  • Burns on face, hands and fingertips

Signs of Drug Use In Adolescents And Teenagers

Many of the signs of drug use among adolescents and teenagers are the same as above. But there are some particularities among the young you can spot so you can take action as quickly as possible, as addiction can be particularly harmful to growing bodies and minds. Some signs of drug use in the young can include: 

  • Declining performance and loss of interest in school 
  • Skipping school
  • Use of breath mints, deodorizers, eye drops and other products that hide the physical effects and smells of drug use
  • Stealing
  • Disappearances, curfew breaking
  • Behavioral changes such as sullenness, unexplained anger, depression, loss of focus

Signs Of Alcohol Abuse

While alcohol use is legal in the United States and most other countries for adults, drinking can become a problem and is potentially addictive. While the signs of alcohol use are widely known, signs of problem drinking can be harder for loved ones to spot. Signs of problem drinking include: 

  • Wanting to stop drinking but being unable to
  • Drinking when they said they wouldn’t 
  • Drunk driving 
  • Risky behavior such as unprotected sex, physical risk taking
  • Withdrawal symptoms when not drinking, including agitation, shakes, unusual sweating
  • Lying about drinking
  • Often drinking to excess, vomiting, hangovers  

Get Help For Those You Love And Break The Cycle of Addiction 

Remember: addiction is a treatable disease. If your loved one is displaying signs of abuse as mentioned above, it might be time to have a talk with them about their habits. If you think your loved one might be abusing drugs or alcohol, you can always give us a call, and we can help your whole family heal. 

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