Last updated on July 1st, 2019 at 12:45 pm
Does something seem off with your spouse lately? Or has your son or daughter been acting irrationally out of nowhere and making poor decisions more and more often?
They could just be going through a rough patch in their lives and dealing with more stress than usual. But there is also a chance that your loved one could be using drugs and battling addiction at this time.
If you’ve been wondering how to tell if someone is on drugs, there are a ton of different signs and symptoms that you can look out for. There are obvious signs that you might notice as well as more subtle signs that could tip you off.
Here are 12 signs that’ll let you know your loved one might be using drugs right now.
Extreme Changes in Physical Appearance
If you’ve noticed that your loved one is wearing the same clothes almost every day, showering less and less often, and making almost no attempt to look their best on a regular basis, this should be an obvious cause for concern.
When a person is battling drug addiction, they’ll usually start to let their physical appearance go over time. They’ll stop doing things like shaving and even brushing their teeth.
You’ll also typically see that something isn’t right just by looking at their face. It’s not uncommon for drug users to have bloodshot eyes, dilated pupils, and bags under their eyes. They also tend to lose a lot of weight due to a change in their diet (more on that later!), which can make them appear gaunt and even frail in some cases.
If you notice that your loved one’s physical appearance has changed dramatically in recent weeks, it might not be a bad idea to bring it up to them and ask if there is something wrong or some way you can help them.
Frequently Slurred Speech
Do you have a hard time understanding what your loved one is saying to you when they speak?
While there are some drugs that will speed people up and make them talk a lot faster than normal, many of them will slow people way down and cause them to slur their speech when they’re talking. You’ll be able to tell when these people are using drugs because of their speech patterns and the way they walk.
In addition to affecting their speech, drugs can also wreak havoc on a person’s coordination. If someone is having a tough time standing up or even sitting up in a chair, that is another clear sign that they might be using drugs.
Try talking to them about their speech and coordination issues when they’re not under the influence of drugs. It will, at the very least, let them know that you’ve noticed a change in the way they’re behaving.
Abrupt Mood Swings
Drugs can take a toll on more than just a person’s body. They can also take a big toll on their mind and cause them to experience mood swings at the drop of a hat.
One minute, your loved one might be happy and full of life and telling you about all of the things they’re excited about. And the next, they might be depressed, irritable, and feeling completely down on the way their life is playing out.
It can be almost impossible to predict what version of a person you’re going to get when they’re using drugs regularly. Before long, you might start steering clear of them altogether to avoid having to deal with the mood swings they throw at you.
Drastic Shifts in Sleeping and Eating Patterns
Is your loved one up almost all night long and then sleeping throughout the course of the day?
There are a number of sleep disorders that could be causing them to struggle to fall asleep at night. But there are also many drugs that can make it impossible for a person to keep up any sort of normal sleep schedule. They simply won’t be able to sleep seven or eight hours at night and get up like a normal person.
Drugs can also make it tough for a person to stick to a regular eating pattern. Rather than eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner, a person might only eat one meal a day or might not eat at all.
This is one of the reasons why those who use drugs will often lose a lot of weight at some point. They’re not eating enough, and when they do eat, they’re usually eating fast food or other food that doesn’t have enough nutrients in it.
Overall Lack of Interest in Normal Activities
As a person slides deeper and deeper into the throes of drug addiction, they’ll have less and less time for the things that used to be important to them. They may even start to give up activities that used to bring them joy in favor of using drugs.
Rather than taking part in those activities, your loved one might be spending most of their time trying to score drugs, use drugs, and then score more drugs once their high wears off. It might not seem like it, but it can actually be a very time-consuming cycle that can consume a person’s life.
Inability to Keep Up With Basic Responsibilities
Everyone has basic responsibilities that they need to tend to throughout the course of a normal day. That might mean going to school for a few hours, showing up for work, or taking care of kids.
Most people have no problem tending to their responsibilities and will put them over just about everything else in life. But those battling drug addictions have a hard time doing that and will often side with drugs over their responsibilities.
A drug addict will often show up late to school or work if they bother to show up at all. They’ll also put forth next to no effort at school or work and appear completely disinterested in the tasks they’re asked to complete.
There are even some drug addicts who will neglect their own kids for the sake of scoring drugs. There are too many heartbreaking stories to count about young kids being put into harm’s way as a result of a parent’s drug addiction.
Dramatic Changes in Relationships
Have you noticed that your loved one is hanging out with a new crowd? Or have you noticed that they don’t seem to have an interest in hanging out with their old friends anymore?
People who use drugs will often experience dramatic changes with a lot of their relationships. They’ll start spending more time with others who use drugs and less time with those who don’t. They might even cut off ties with certain family members and friends in some instances.
One of the easiest ways to know how to tell if someone is on drugs might just be to look at who they’re hanging around on a day in and day out basis. A person’s inner circle can tell you a lot about where they’re at in their life.
Unexplained Financial Problems
Most people run into money troubles every now and then. So you shouldn’t jump to conclusions if a close family member or friend asks you to borrow money from them on a rare occasion.
But you should start to worry if you notice that a loved one appears to have financial problems almost all the time. A person who is using drugs will often mismanage their money and spend whatever they have feeding their drug habit.
Resist the urge to lend money to someone if you suspect they have a drug problem. Even if they say they’re going to use the money to pay a bill or take care of the rent, you could very well be enabling your loved one to continue to use drugs by providing them with the money to do it.
Mysterious Need for Privacy
Is your loved one spending more time by themselves than they have in the past?
Most drug users aren’t proud of what they’ve become. They don’t want to spend time around others because they fear either being judged or being ridiculed for using drugs.
There are also some drug users who can’t function well when they’re in social settings. Their drug use has made it nearly impossible for them to hold normal conversations with others.
For all of these reasons, those who use drugs will often become reclusive and keep to themselves. They’ll try their best to maintain their privacy and refuse to let others see them at all costs.
This will obviously make it harder for you to offer assistance to your loved one. But you shouldn’t let it stop you from trying to break down the walls that they’ve built up to let them know you’re there to get them help if they need it.
Sudden Bouts of Anxiety and Paranoia
Once drugs have a firm grasp on a person, they can start to take hold of their thoughts and cause them to develop psychological issues. From depression to anxiety, there are all kinds of mental disorders that can stem from frequent drug use.
These mental disorders can sometimes present themselves without any warning at a moment’s notice. Some drugs users are forced to deal with sudden bouts with everything from the aforementioned anxiety to paranoia. They might even start hallucinating due to the damage that has been done to their brains by drugs.
When a person reaches this point, it’ll probably be pretty easy for you to see that they need professional help for drug addiction. But it can also be pretty hard to connect with them and tell them they need to get themselves help.
You’re going to have to make a strong push to get your loved one on board with the idea of seeking assistance. You may need to hold an intervention or even speak with a rehab facility about what you can do to help.
Extra Defensive When Drugs are Discussed
A person with a drug problem usually doesn’t want to spend much time talking about it, especially if they’ve never talked about it before. Most people will deny that they have a problem in the first place and refuse to discuss it any further.
If you attempt to speak with a loved one about drugs and they shut you down immediately, that should raise a red flag in your mind. You shouldn’t necessarily push the issue too hard and risk having the person cut you out of their life completely. But you should find another approach to talking with your loved one about your concerns.
Total Loss of Control in Life
Has your loved one stopped caring about just about everything except using drugs?
This total loss of control can be scary for those who know someone battling addiction. It can make you feel frustrated, lost, and even hopeless. But you shouldn’t let it keep you down completely.
Studies have shown that about 10 percent of the population has overcome an addiction to either drugs or alcohol in the past. That should offer you some hope as you strive to get your loved one the help they need to become a part of that statistic.
Know How to Tell If Someone is On Drugs and Take Action
It’s not necessarily that hard to know how to tell if someone is on drugs when they’re battling a full-blown addiction. People who are addicted to drugs like crack cocaine, heroin, and painkillers will often be easy to spot.
But it can be slightly harder to see when someone is dabbling with drugs for the first time. You might have to look a lot harder to see what’s really going on so that you can stop a loved one from going too far down the wrong path.
Do you want to get help for someone in your life that you suspect might be using drugs? Contact us today to see how we can provide your loved one with the treatment they need.