Suspicions that someone you know has a substance abuse problem can result in going back and forth between worrying that you’re right and feeling guilty that you might be wrong. While suspicions might be right, there are visual signs of drug addiction that can confirm concerns that an individual you care about needs help.

The signs and symptoms exhibited by those abusing drugs or alcohol can vary, but there are common signs to watch for that point to your friend or family member needing professional treatment for substance abuse.

Common Signs of Drug Addiction

Physical Signs

  • Eating and Sleeping.

    Changes in eating and sleeping habits can be definite signs of substance abuse, whether exhibited through excessive eating and sleeping or a lack of both.

  • Symptoms that Mimic Illness.

    Sweating, chills, red eyes and tremors are common physical signs of drug or alcohol abuse. These signs are similar to those you might see in illness but will repeat with increased frequency.

  • Increased Tolerance.

    A person with a substance abuse problem eventually needs more drugs or alcohol to achieve the same effect. This might be witnessed in someone’s drinking habits.

  • Other Signs.

    Substance abuse causes self-care to fall by the wayside. An individual using might smell, look disheveled and wear the same dirty, wrinkled clothing without even caring or realizing it.

Emotional and Mental Health Signs

  • Depression.

    While many people use drugs or alcohol to relieve stress and feel better, substance abuse often results in just the opposite. Sudden, unexplained depression can be a sure sign there’s a problem.

  • Out-of-Character Mood Swings.

    A person who was once emotionally even and usually in a good mood can suddenly have erratic mood swings when under the influence of drugs.

  • Unexplained Personality Change.

    Long-term substance abuse can cause an individual’s personality to change. A previously pleasant person can become uncaring and unfriendly, much to the dismay of friends and family members.

Lifestyle Changes

  • Change in Work or School Performance.

    A change in your loved one’s performance at work or school can indicate a substance abuse problem. Activities that once were important suddenly seem to have become unimportant.

  • Financial Problems.

    Repeatedly asking to borrow money or an increased difficulty in paying the bills is common with people who’re spending their money on drugs or alcohol.

  • Different Social Circle.

    You might notice that the individual’s social circle has changed, and not for the better.

  • Getting into Trouble.

    Substance abuse drives a person to obtain drugs in any way they can. As a result they may have trouble with the law while going to any length for the next fix.

Confirmation that a Problem Exists

As you take an honest look at the signs and symptoms a loved one is exhibiting, it becomes clear that help is needed. Reaching out to a counselor or professional staff member at a treatment center can provide you with support as you seek to get help for a friend or family member.

A medical professional can confirm that the signs you’re seeing signal substance abuse, and they can recommend how to approach the individual about getting help. Taking the first step toward treatment can be difficult even when it’s the right decision. A supportive counselor can be instrumental in assisting you as you encourage a loved one to get help.