Physical and Behavioral Signs of Possible Drug Use

Physical and Behavioral Signs of Possible Drug Use

So often parents, family members or friends will have a feeling that their child or someone they care about is using drugs which is very upsetting and frightening but they can't be sure. They may even question that person and believe them when they deny they're using drugs but still continue to be suspicious and concerned.

This happens all the time because unless a person has had a problem themselves with drugs, they don't even know for sure what symptoms and behaviors to look for.

No one really wants to believe someone they care about has a drug problem either so it's just as easy to make excuses to ourselves for a loved one's or friends' unusual behaviors. Even though a person may not have been abusing drugs very long, there are different signs and symptoms to look for even in the early stages of drug use.

It's important not to just assume a person is using drugs just because they may not be acting like them self lately because this can cause serious problems as well. There are many reasons an adolescent, young or even older adult may be displaying changes in their emotional and physical behaviors that have nothing to do with drug use, but are still cause for concern.

Knowing some of the warning signs associated with drug abuse will hopefully help you to determine if drug use is the possible cause so that you can seek further professional advice. When a person starts displaying several unusual and unexplained physical symptoms and behaviors like the one's listed below suddenly and they continue, it could be a sign of substance abuse.

Some Warning Signs of Possible Drug Use

  1. Red bloodshot glassy eyes
  2. Frequent use of eye drops to prevent or reduce reddened eyes
  3. Avoiding eye contact
  4. Very tiny or large dilated pupils
  5. Slurry speech
  6. Rapid speech (speaking at a fast pace)
  7. Sores around the mouth
  8. Loss of appetite
  9. Increased appetite
  10. Frequent nose bleeds
  11. Runny nose (not due to being ill)
  12. Unexplained cough
  13. Frequent episodes of feeling sick or not feeling well
  14. Sudden weight loss
  15. Sudden weight gain
  16. Odd odors on a person's breath, clothes or on their body
  17. Changes in sleep patterns
  18. Unusual fatigue and tiredness
  19. Hyperactivity
  20. Unexplained changes in personality
  21. Unexplained changes in attitude
  22. Mood swings
  23. Unusual problems with concentration
  24. Depression
  25. Pulling away from family and maybe even old friends
  26. Hanging out with a whole new group of friends
  27. Changes in appearance
  28. Laughing a lot for no apparent reason
  29. Lying
  30. Stealing
  31. Secretive behavior
  32. Drop in school performance
  33. Missing school
  34. Drop in performance at work
  35. Missing money, valuables around the house, alcohol, or prescription medications

Marijuana, tobacco, prescription drugs, some over the counter medications and alcohol are the more common drugs that adolescents are experimenting with today. Inhalants are also used among teenagers, but most often their abused by younger teens.

Whether they're legal medications, inhalants, or illegal street drugs, substance abuse is very serious and can lead to accidental overdose, addiction and possibly death. Seeking help for yourself or someone you care about in the early stages of drug abuse is a decision you won't regret. Once an addiction is developed, intense drug cravings and painful/uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms make it extremely difficult and often impossible to stop on your own.

National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc.

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