Signs of Substance Abuse

What are the signs of substance abuse? 

If you have a friend or loved one whom you are worried may have a substance abuse issue, you may be asking yourself, “Is my loved one using drugs?”  You may be wondering if you are worried over nothing. It can be incredibly tough to even think that your loved one may be using illicit drugs, let alone meet with them to discuss your concerns. There can be many reasons why a person may display certain behaviors, such as anxiety, depression, an issue with a relationship or work, or simple physical illness that is unknown to you. However, there are certain physical signs which may indicate use or abuse of an illicit substance that you should be aware of, especially if many signs are present at the same time. So, what are some behavioral signs of substance abuse? 

Signs of Substance Abuse

  • Change in overall attitude/personality with no other identifiable cause.
  • Drop in grades at school or performance at work; skips or is late for school/work.
  • Change in activities or hobbies.
  • Chronic dishonesty.
  • Sudden lack of sharing about personal life, especially if previously they were open about it.
  • Sudden oversensitivity, temper tantrums, or resentful behavior.
  • Difficulty in paying attention; forgetfulness.
  • General lack of motivation, energy, self-esteem, “I don’t care” attitude.
  • Change in habits at home; loss of interest in family and family activities.
  • Paranoia
  • Silliness or giddiness.
  • Moodiness, irritability, or nervousness.
  • Excessive need for privacy; unreachable.
  • Secretive or suspicious behavior.
  • Car accidents.
  • Change in personal grooming habits.
  • Changes in friends; friends are known drug users.
  • Unexplained need for money, stealing money or items.

Evaluate Carefully

This list is by no means comprehensive. Ultimately, every person is different and their behavioral signs may be completely different. The best course of action is to evaluate whether or not your loved one is behaving differently than they typically do, especially when those behaviors are less healthy than the person’s norm, with no known reason for the change. Your loved one may be depressed, anxious, or dealing with something unknown to you other than using substances, so try to be open-minded and compassionate when approaching someone with your concerns. If you have have suspicions that a loved one is using illicit drugs or has relapsed, approach them with compassion and concern for their wellbeing. 

If you need addiction help for yourself or a loved one, please call 800-556-2966 to speak to one of our team members today. We can help provide intervention help, help get clients into the right detox for them, provide resources for residential addiction treatment as well as sober living, and of course, explain the full menu of Centered Recovery’s non 12 step outpatient addiction treatment programs available for the Metro Atlanta area and beyond.