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When a person is addicted to drugs, the last thing that they want is for certain friends and family members to know about it. Addicts look at anyone who is not doing drugs with them as someone who will judge them. They will also look at these people as a person who will try to make them stop, which they likely won’t want to. If you have a loved one who you think may be an addict, it is a good idea to know the signs of drug abuse. The sooner you know, the sooner you can help.

Physical Changes

When a person is addicted to drugs, they will exhibit a variety of physical symptoms. If you start to notice these symptoms, it is not uncommon for an addict to explain them away and create lies and reasons for these changes. There are some physical side effects that go along with certain drugs. Others can be exhibited regardless of what drug the addict is using. The changes to look for include:

  • Glazed or bloodshot eyes
  • Dilated or constricted pupils (this will only occur when the person is high)
  • Loss of appetite
  • A noticeable weight loss in a very short period of time.
  • Certain drugs will cause rashes and sores on the person’s face.
  • Bruises on the arms, mostly over the veins. These will appear if the person is using IV drugs.
  • Infections inside and around the mouth.
  • Burn marks on the lips from smoking out of a pipe.
  • Stuffy, red, chapped nostrils
  • Constant sniffing
  • Eyes rolling in the back of the head
  • Passing out while sitting down or standing up
  • The inability to walk in a straight line

Behavioral Changes

The more a person becomes dependent on the drugs, the more their behavior and habits will change. The drugs can change the way the brain focuses and forms coherent thoughts. Different drugs can affect people in different and dangerous ways. Regardless of the drug, the changes in an addict’s behavior are often the same. Some of the behavioral changes include:

  • Irritability even when there is nothing wrong
  • Becoming aggressive for no reason
  • Changes in personality and attitude
  • Loss of interest in things that they used to love doing
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • They start hanging around with new friends
  • The stop hanging around with old friends
  • Inability to hold a job
  • Financial problems
  • Being involved in criminal activity and their very first arrest
  • Staying up all night and sleeping all day
  • Excessive talking or talking really fast
  • Speaking nonsense
  • The inability to sit still
  • Seeing or hearing things that are not there (hallucinations)
  • Paranoia

What To Do if You Suspect That a Loved One is Addicted to Drugs

If you notice that a family member or loved one is exhibiting many of the symptoms listed above, chances are they have a drug problem. The sooner you confront them with your suspicions, the sooner you can try to help. It is not uncommon for an addict to lie and deny, however, the only way to save their life is to push them to get the help that they need.

If you are unable to get through to them, you may need to seek professional help. There are several agencies who have experience working with addicts, that can help you get through to your loved one. In some cases an intervention or even help from the police and the courts is necessary to get an addict to agree to get help with thei addiction. If you can get an addict to agree to go to treatment, you are essentially saving their life.